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GM looks to catch Tesla in China with new low-cost EV

Battery designs key to sales, but U.S. automaker still far behind at home

The Hongguang Mini EV, China's best-selling electric vehicle, is displayed at a Shanghai showroom. (Photo by Noriyuki Doi)

NEW YORK -- General Motors is trying to engage more deeply in China's electric vehicle market through a joint venture with local automakers SAIC and Wuling Automobile, as the U.S. auto giant struggles to catch up with Tesla.

Eager visitors to a showroom in central Shanghai -- complete with coffee, cake and flower shops -- are met by sales staff pushing the Hongguang Mini EV, a budget-priced electric microcar.

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