Toyota shifts gears to lift Prius’ prospects in China

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Toyota shifts gears to Prius’ prospects in China

Ma Jie


Yuki Hagiwara

April 22, 2014 — pm ET

BEIJING — Toyota Corp.’s Prius hybrid is the gasoline-electric vehicle in the world. In it’s about as rare as the giant panda.

Almost a since Toyota began the Prius in the country, the automaker has little headway in persuading in the world’s largest vehicle to buy hybrids.

The main reason is the Prius costs as much as an Audi because of taxes on components and the lack of government

That’s contributed to Toyota’s status in China, where it sixth in a market led by Volkswagen AG and Motors despite being the No. 1 automaker by sales.

The Camry fortunes may improve as it lowers with locally made and the government considers increasing support for hybrids to cut pollution electric-vehicle sales flopped.

Hybrids can be the ultimate weapon for said Koji Endo, a analyst at Advanced Research We know that only EVs and plug-in hybrids can’t China’s problems. Hybrids can be the

Of the 315,500 Priuses sold last year, only 1,400 went to China, than the 1,600 pandas the Wildlife Fund estimates are in the world.

China sourcing

At the auto show, which to the public this week, China head Hiroji said the automaker is considering hybrid parts and batteries for the Camry and Prius.

For now, the new and Levin compact cars at the show will be available as with locally made next year, according to the

The automaker plans to introduce 15 new for China by the end of 2017 as part of its to become the top Japanese automaker in the and No. 3 among all car manufacturers.

They’ve got to their situation in China, Merner, president of Atlantis Research Corp. which about $3 billion in assets, of Toyota. In many countries, are the leader or one of the leaders, but in China almost second-tier.

In bringing locally developed hybrids to by next year, Toyota be spared from the 25 percent that China levies on of key auto components, including system parts that go the Prius.

Hybrid subsidies

The may receive an added boost if government rethinks its current of excluding conventional hybrids government subsidies, though would result in a significant for policy makers, who have heads over heels in EVs, according to James a Shanghai-based director at IHS Automotive.

China’s central government provides rebates of as much as yuan ($9,600) — some local governments matching grants — the purchase of all-electric passenger or plug-in hybrids.

Conventional which run primarily on a gasoline with a backup battery, get a subsidy of up to 3,000 yuan a different category for energy-saving EV sales have lagged official targets despite aid.

Five years China began promoting energy- powered vehicles, 70,000 are on its roads, compared its target of reaching 500,000 by That’s led the government to consider a exit for state financial

Boosting the number of environmentally cars is taking on added as air quality deteriorates, leading Li Keqiang in March to declare war on

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More cities are resorting to on new vehicles, with the eastern of Hangzhou the latest to cap the number of plates in a bid to control the rise in emissions.

Vice Premier Ma Kai, the Chinese official overseeing issues, said last the government will study and subsidy policies for hybrids, and strongly support hybrids have outstanding fuel-saving

Ma commented about potential subsidies during a visit to Corun New Energy Co. which set up a new joint venture last with Toyota in Changshu, to a statement on its Web site.


so, extending subsidies to hybrid remains a sensitive topic the chief beneficiaries would be Japanese manufacturers like which are leaders in the technology, to Ashvin Chotai, managing of Intelligence Automotive Asia.

and Japan is always a cat-and-mouse and they’re never going to any steps that openly and benefit Japanese carmakers, Chotai, who’s based in

Periodic bouts of tension Asia’s two largest economies spilled over to the auto

In 2012, nationwide protests Japan’s purchase of a group of also claimed by China nationwide protests and boycotts Japanese brands. Japanese have since recovered as faded, with Toyota record China sales of 1.1 units this year and further expansion.


In the forests of Changshu, about 85 (51 miles) from Shanghai, has a China rd center equipped a test track that the country’s sometimes rough with banks and sideways

Streams and ponds surround the to absorb the area’s frequent Inside, an army of 320 engineers on test machines akin to Toyota uses in Japan, electric current in and out of battery to test their performance, China-sourced metals are evaluated for strength using electronic

The company says its goal is to have 100 percent of materials locally for hybrids built in the

Energy-saving vehicles like the vehicle will have to more affordable, Soichiro head of the RD center, told yesterday. We would like to the localization so that hybrid will be accepted in China.

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