On Tuesday, General Motors Co. said it will produce a gasoline-electric hybrid version of its Chevrolet Volt in China.
The actor appeared at the 17th Auto Shanghai during GM's global launch of the Buick Velite 5 plug-in hybrid.
Volkswagen, Europe's biggest automaker, plans to launch its first pure-electric vehicle in China next year as Beijing steps up pressure on the industry to reduce reliance on gasoline.
The status of manufacturing electric cars in China is unclear for foreign brands, which must have joint ventures with state-owned Chinese partners that assemble their vehicles.
Tesla is planning to launch its first mass-market auto, the Model 3, by the end of this year, but the majority of its pre-orders are expected to arrive in 2018.
It also announced an all-new fully electric small SUV with an estimated range of more than 450km that it will bring to market within five years and will be sold in North America and Europe, as well as China.
Nearly every global and Chinese auto brand is displaying at least one electric concept vehicle, if not a market-ready model. "Various factors such as a worsened market condition and issues related to Thaad led to the drastic fall in sales [for Hyundai and Kia] in March", Lee Jae-il, an analyst from Eugene Investment & Securities, said in a recent report.
China's automotive market remains the most important in the world for manufacturers, with sales jumping 14.9 percent to 24.38 million passenger cars previous year, well beyond the 17.55 million bought by USA drivers. The electric auto to be produced at the Luqiao factory is expected to reach the market in 2019. Buick has modest sales elsewhere but is GM's main brand in China, where GM operates in a joint venture with state-owned Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp (SAIC). Prices start at 265,800 yuan ($38,600). They make up less than 2 percent of China's overall auto market of 28 million vehicles sold previous year.
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Beijing's central government has floated proposals to require automakers to substantially boost sales of so-called "new energy vehicles" (NEVs), or risk being penalized.
The head of VW's China unit, Jochem Heizmann, said it would be the first in a range of pure-electric vehicles for China.
"Communities", such as companies or residential developments, can jointly purchase vehicles to share, or owners can share their auto for a fee with other drivers who join Lynk & Co's network, said Alain Visser, the company's senior vice president.
Production is slated to begin in three years.
Policymakers say reducing subsidies gradually to 2020 will wean automakers off government support and create a self-sustained market for electric vehicles.
Deciding to make its first full-electric auto in China reconfirms Volvo's commitment to establishing the country as a global manufacturing and export hub.
"Chinese auto buyers purchased nearly half of all the plug-in electric vehicles sold in the world a year ago, and Chinese officials have set ambitious goals for the further adoption of hybrid- and electric-powered vehicles in the decades ahead", said Bob Pyle, president of Dana Light Vehicle Driveline Technologies and the leader of Dana's company-wide electrification and hybridization strategy.