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BASF cashes in on cars
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German chemical producer BASF AG said it expects to benefit from China's booming automotive industry by supplying more engineering plastics and catalysts to the market.


The company set up a new automotive center this year in Shanghai, which houses a showroom, applications development labs, technical service facilities and marketing and sales functions.


"This is the first of its kind by BASF worldwide," Wolfgang Hapke, the company's Asia-Pacific president, told reporters yesterday at the new center, in Pudong's Jinqiao area.


The center serves the ventures of BASF's global partners as well as domestic auto manufacturers.


The automotive chemicals sector has become BASF's largest revenue source, second only to general chemicals, Hapke said.


He said BASF derived about 10 percent of its total sales of 52.6 billion euros (US$74.7 billion) last year from the auto industry. He was unable to provide an exact figure for China, though he said it was higher than 10 percent.


BASF's China sales totaled 3.6 billion euros in 2006.


Asia's auto industry is experiencing the highest growth rate in the world, with China one of the main drivers.


BASF foresees "significant growth" in China, where car makers are rolling out more new models.


Auto makers are using more plastics to make vehicles lighter, Hapke said. The firm will also benefit from its catalysts, which can reduce car emissions. BASF offers other auto-related chemicals including coatings, pigments and brake fluids.


Reducing a car's weight by 10 percent can lower fuel consumption by about five percent, and BASF's additives could cut consumption by a further two percent, according to Hapke.


(Shanghai Daily October 12, 2007)


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