China’s Evergrande says to start making electric vehicles in June

FILE PHOTO: outside of China Evergrande Centre in Hong Kong, China March 26, 2018. Photo taken on March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese property company Evergrande Group will start the production of the first electric vehicles in June as part of a goal to be the world’s largest new energy vehicle (NEV) company in the next three to five years, according to the president.

Hui Ka Yan made the remarks during a conference in the eastern city of Tianjin over the weekend, according to a statement published on the website of the company on Tuesday.

“The new energy automotive industry has a huge market prospect. Evergrande has completed the whole industrial chain layout in the field of new energy vehicles,” Hui said.

He also said that Evergrande plans to start selling the first electric vehicle model worldwide “soon”, that the use of electric car technology for the production of the Swedish car manufacturers Saab and Koenigsegg, and propulsion systems of the Netherlands’ e-Traction, according to the statement.

Evergrande, China’s second-largest property developer by sales, is aggressively expanding in the automotive space, in search of new areas of growth such as the Chinese real estate market slows down.

Her daughter, Evergrande Health, invested in a vehicle manufacturer National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, and Chinese car and battery maker, Shanghai CENAT New Energy Co this year. It is also the majority investor in the Swedish super car manufacturer Koenigsegg.

Not all investments are trouble free, however.

Last year, Evergrande Health bought 45 percent of the Chinese electric car company Faraday’s Future as part of a $2 billion plan, but the deal ultimately acid. The companies have since the end of their legal battle.

The sale of the NEV vehicles remained a bright spot in the chinese car market, jump 61.7 percent in 2018 to 1.3 million vehicles, even as the overall car market contracted for the first time since the 1990s. China’s biggest auto-industry association predicts NEV sales to hit 1.6 million this year.

Reporting Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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