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Chang’an Motors – First Chinese Hybrid Car Manufacturer Continues Momentum

By • Jun 11th, 2009 • Category: Clean Car Talk Posts

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles peeking into clean car industries and car manufacturers of China, India, South Korea and Germany. Please send comments and suggestions using our Contact page or by leaving a comment at the end of this article.

Chang'an or Chana Motors logoChang’an Motors (also called ChangAn or Chana Auto) is part of the Chang’an Automobile Group, a car industry giant based in Chongqing, China. The name Chang’an, ChangAn and Chana are used interchangeably, with Chana being used mostly for the western markets. According the Chang’an, the company sales figures have been running at top speed in 2009, reaching 306,500 vehicles sold in the first 3 months or 40% increase over same period the previous year. Of the 2 logos at right, the red logo is used on commercial cars (mainly minivans and full-size vans), while the blue emblem is for passenger cars. Chang’an is now the fourth of the Big Five car manufacturers in China.

Chang’an maintains 3 divisions. The Chang’an Ford division, or Chana Ford, produces mainly the Ford Fiesta beginning in 2003, and the Ford Mondeo in 2004. The company also builds the Ford Focus as well. The Chang’an Suzuki division, or Chana Suzuki, manufactures the Alto, Cultus and Lingyang economy cars together with spare parts. Finally, the Chang’an engine division produces engines based mostly on Suzuki gasoline engine technologies, for many Chang’an vehicle products.

Below: Chang’an (Chana) Benni Mini Car, a Runaway Success. Photo courtesy

Chang'an (Chana) Benni mini car Chang'an (Chana) Benni mini car-back view. Courtesy

Below: Chang’an (Chana) CM8, Another Popular Model. Photo courtesy

Chang'an (Chana) CM8 MPW multipurpose vehicle. Photo courtesy Chang'an (Chana) CM8 MPW multipurpose vehicle. Photo courtesy

While there have been hybrid cars on Chinese roads over the pass years, the affordability factor (or the lack of it) has provided Chang’an Motors and other Chinese manufacturers a huge opportunity to develop China’s own clean car industry. And this is exactly what they are doing. Below are two hybrid cars produced by Chang’an that have received much anticipation.

Jie Xun HEV: China’s First Independently Developed Hybrid

Chang'an (Chana) Jie Xun HEVFirst introduced in 2007, the Jie Xun HEV is classified the company as an MPV, a multipurpose vehicle. MPVs are very popular in China, much like the minivans in the United States, because they offer both private and business owners the space and quality needed to go about their daily lives. The Jie Xun is expected to cut fuel consumption by 20% compared to conventional models, and sells in the Chinese market for about 104,800-149,800 RMB (US$ 15,326-21,907.)

Chang’an also donated 20 of the vehicles to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, when they were used mainly as taxis for both athletes and the public. According to Infineon, the German company that supplied HybridPACK1 power module for the Jie Xun, these mild hybrid cars operate on an integrated starter generator that recaptures energy during braking (regenerative braking or regen) while provides supplementary power during acceleration or passing at speeds. The Jie Xun HEV has a maximum speed of about 160 km/h (99 mph,) and can achieve a fuel efficiency of 9 l/100 km (26.1 mpg.)

Chang'an (Chana)  Jie Xun HEV Interior. Photo courtesy
Chang’an (Chana) Jie Xun HEV Interior.
Photo courtesy
Chang'an (Chana)  Jie Xun HEV for Beijing Olympic Games. Photo courtesy
Chang’an (Chana) Jie Xun HEV for Beijing Olympic Games. Photo courtesy

Zhi-xiang Hybrid Sedan: Another Step to Affordable Hybrids For the Mass

Chang'an (Chana) Zhi-xiang hybrid sedan. Photo courtesy news.cheshi.comThe new Zhi-xiang mild hybrid sedan features a 1.5L gasoline engine to keep its nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries charged, and a permanent magnet brushless synchronous AC motor rated at 13 kW. This hybrid sedan can get about 6.6 l/100 km (35.6 mpg.) With aggressive marketing in full force for the Zhi-xiang, the company has appropriately branded both sides and the back of the vehicle with an attractive green hybrid badge. The Zie Xiang 79800-115800 RMB (US$ 11,670-16,935)

China, which ranks second in the world in carbon emission levels, may soon surpass the U.S. as the most polluted country. With the Chinese government placing emphasis on the development and production of clean cars, Chang’an is clearly gearing up its hybrid offerings. Hybrid cars can help lower fuel emissions and reduce pollution to relieve the global warming concerns, and Chang’an along with other Chinese carmakers are determined to make a difference.

Chang’an (Chana) Zhi-xiang mild hybrid sedan.
Photo courtesy
Chang'an (Chana) Zhi-xiang hybrid badge. Photo courtesy
Chang’an (Chana) Zhi-xiang hybrid badge.
Photo courtesy

According to the company’s English language website,

…CHANA has producing capacity of one (1) million automobiles and one (1) million engines. By year 2010, CHANA will have a producing capacity of two (2) million automobiles. CHANA Automobile brand value has reached 20 billion RMB [editor’s note: about US$ 2.9B] which is one of the most valuable independent automobile brand in Chinese automobile industry…

As reported by a Reuters article on May 14, 2009, the Chongqing government has already ordered 10 Jie Xun from Chang’an and has set a target for the city’s public services to increase hybrid vehicle operation to 1,000 units in 3 years. Additional government rebates of 43,000 RMB (US$ 6,300) to buyers of electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles will continue to keep the momentum of both clean car suppliers and buyer adoption going strong.

Get ready. These cars may arrive on U.S. soil before you know it.

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is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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