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China's Changan Auto to rev up green-car development

CHONGQING, China -- Chongqing Changan Automobile will invest 18 billion yuan ($2.74 billion) in development of eco-friendly vehicles by 2025 as the automaker seeks to ride Beijing's policy promoting green autos.

The leading carmaker will roll out 34 electric-vehicle and plug-in hybrid models over the next decade, targeting aggregate sales of 2 million units, President Zhu Huarong said Monday when unveiling the plan at an international automobile forum here.

Sedans, SUVs and commercial vehicles with eco-minded features will be released under the Changan brand, with electric vehicles accounting for an estimated 80% of the tally. The company will also pursue commercialization of autonomous driving and other state-of-the-art technologies, Zhu said.

Chongqing Changan will enlist the help of Ford Motor, a joint venture partner, for such backbone technologies as batteries and control systems, while striving to develop them on its own as well. Having set up research centers in the U.K., Japan and the U.S., the Chinese company is speeding up eco-car research and development on a global scale, Zhu said. The automaker looks to procure parts from leading suppliers in Japan and elsewhere.

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