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SAIC To Launch Hybrid Cars To Market By Late 2011

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Shanghai, March 9, 2009: ( SAIC Motor will start to deliver home-grown gas-electric hybrid cars in large quantities to the market by the end of 2011, said today, citing SAIC's president Chen Hong as saying in Beijing.

"SAIC has the new-energy vehicles labeled under its own brand. Currently its hybrid models have been put into trial production and [the mass-produced hybrid cars] will come in plenty to the market within three years," said Chen on the sidelines of the National People's Congress in Beijing at the weekend.

The SAIC boss noted that the currently biggest bottleneck for the new energy vehicles is how to cut their costs and then prices, which is also a common problem faced by global makers of new-energy cars. These days, the new-energy car's price is more than 20% higher than that of a conventional-energy car of the same emission level.

Chen said SAIC aims to promote its self-developed brands and sharpen its innovative capability by investing 6 billion yuan ($878.5 million) in the R&D of hybrid car models, adding that lowering the production cost will help cut the selling price and then boost the market demand for such cars.

In 2009, SAIC has no overseas acquisition plans and will focus on optimizing current resources for its expansion in the Chinese market, Chen said. SAIC is urged by the government to become an auto giant, along with FAW, with an annual output of 2 million vehicles by restructuring domestic carmakers.

SAIC's January and February sales grew 7.6% from a year earlier, mostly helped by the government's stimulus plans for the auto sector.

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