(In March 20 story, corrects organisation and title of analyst
in paragraph 3)
BEIJING, March 20 China imposed long-debated
stringent fuel economy standards on Wednesday, making life
tougher for cash-strapped small domestic brands that are already
struggling amid a slowdown of the world's biggest auto market.
The rules, jointly issued by five government bodies
including the National Development and Reform Commission, would
cut passenger cars' average fuel consumption to 6.9 litres per
100 kilometers by 2015 and down further to 5.0 litres by 2020.
"That's going to be tough for everyone, especially those
small players as they will have to use more fuel-efficient
engines and invest in hybrid technologies," said Yale Zhang,
head of Shanghai-based industry consultancy Automotive
China's latest passenger car fuel consumption data was not
immediately available. It stood at 7.8 litres per 100 kilometers
in 2009 and 8.2 litres in 2008, said John Zeng, Asia Pacific
director of consultancy LMC Automotive.
The new rules come at a time when environmental complaints
have sparked unrest and even riots in some parts of the country.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Sunday that his
government would show even greater resolve in tackling China's
(Reporting by Fang Yan and Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Helen