Global car brands launch greener, smarter models at Chengdu auto show

By Wang Yi in Chengdu Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/5 21:08:41

Geely launches self-developed automotive-grade chip at Chengdu Auto Show 2019 on Thursday. Photo: Wang Yi/GT

Domestic automakers are racing to launch smarter cars to embrace the upcoming era of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G, while many foreign car brands are promoting more new-energy vehicles (NEV), at the largest auto exhibition in western China.

Rather than only launching new models, Chinese carmaker Geely Automobile Holdings has shown its ambition to define future standards for smart cars by launching its self-developed chip and car operating system (OS), at the Chengdu Motor Show 201 9 on Thursday in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province. 

Boyue PRO, Geely's new sport utility vehicle (SUV) launched on the opening day of the 10-day event, carries its self-developed automotive-grade chip E01, which can support its own GKUI19 OS to run smoothly like a smartphone, according to a press release Geely provided to the Global Times.

The Boyue PRO defines the new standards of China's smart cars, and China's standards will likely define the world's standards in the future, the press release read.

The GKUI19 OS has the developers' ecosystem that includes Chinese internet giants Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and smartphone maker Xiaomi, the company said at the launch event.

However, the company's other high-profile car, which carries Huawei's HarmonyOS, was not launched on Thursday.

A Geely engineer surnamed Du told the Global Times that the company did issue a poster for the car several days before the show, and the car is likely to be launched later this year.

The car could be unveiled at the auto show that will be held in South China's Guangzhou in November, said Man Zhaoxu, a veteran Beijing-based industry observer.

Domestic carmakers are developing their own chips and OS and cooperating with internet giants at the same time, Man said.

Key foreign players in China like Mercedes-Benz are making more moves to explore the market for NEVs, which features strong competitiveness against US electric carmaker Tesla.

Mercedes-Benz on Thursday launched the EQC 400 4MATIC, its first electric car model in mass production in China, along with other models.

The SUV is expected to be welcomed by consumers in first-tier cities where NEVs are more popular as it provides consumers with a new option besides Tesla, according to analysts.

After Man sent the information about the EQC 400 4MATIC on his self- media outlet "Hema auto information" on Thursday, many readers showed an interest.

"Most of them asked the price," Man said. Orders are likely to be taken soon, with prices ranging from 600,000 yuan ($84,018) to 800,000 yuan.

It could be a strong competitor to Tesla, given that the German car brand has a reputation for quality and post-sale services in China, Man said.

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