China's Chongqing Changan to stop selling combustion-engine cars from 2025

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Chongqing Changan Automobile on Thursday said it would stop selling combustion-engine cars, starting 2025, and invest more than 100 billion yuan ($15.10 billion) by that time to advance its “new energy strategy”.

Chongqing Changan is one of the first Chinese companies to commit to a total phase-out of petrol-engine cars. This comes at a time when carmakers globally are grappling with Beijing’s plans to shift away from petrol-engine cars to newer, less polluting technologies - a trend that is creating one of the most seismic shifts the automotive industry has gone through.

Home to the world’s largest auto market, China has already set goals for electric and plug-in hybrid cars to make up at least a fifth of its auto sales by 2025 in a bid to combat air pollution and close a competitive gap between its newer domestic automakers and their global rivals.

China has begun studying when to ban the production and sale of cars using traditional fuels, the official Xinhua news agency said last month, citing comments by the vice industry minister, who predicted “turbulent times” for automakers forced to adapt

Among other carmakers, Volvo, Swedish automaker owned by Chinese parent company Zhejiang Geely [GEELY.UL], has previously said it would stop designing new combustion engine-only cars by 2019.

However, BAIC Motor has said it has no timeline for suspending sales of traditional fuel cars.

The government’s claim of studying a timeline for banning traditional-fueled cars is “challenging” for the company, Xu Heyi, chairman of BAIC, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Communist Party Congress.

Reporting by Pei Li, Yawen Chen Adam Jourdan; Editing by Himani Sarkar