Prius sales yet to catch fire in China

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 5, 2007

Car sales, if not profit margins, in China are flying this year and Toyota, which is on track to smash an annual target of 430,000 units, is among the biggest beneficiaries. Just don’t expect too many Prius hybrids on the streets of Shanghai.

Despite much fanfare surrounding the launch of the Prius in December 2005, the locally made gas sippers are yet to catch the Chinese public’s imagination. Speaking at a recent Toyota event at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Toyota executive vice president Takeshi Uchiyamada admitted sales are falling along way short of expectations. Uchiyamada said that Toyota only sold 2,000 Prius last year in China—half the original plan—and that sales closer to 500 were likely this year.

It’s not hard to spot the problem. Thanks to high duties on imported parts used in the assembly of the Chinese Prius at a plant in the north eastern city of Changchun, the hybrids went on sale at $36,000. That’s about $15,000 higher than the equivalent price in Japan or the U.S. and enough to put off even the greenest of Chinese auto buyers from ordering a new Prius.

Reader Comments

Noz

November 5, 2007 4:59 PM

The super-high cost is a factor is the poor sales of the Prius, no doubt about this. But then Chinese car buyers are not exactly 'green' either. A family car is still very much a prestige item and as usual this implies largely pleated and chrome-plated exteriors. Check out the GM monstrosities that are doing well. Rather like the 50's here with portholes, huge grinning grills, etc. and so on. For GM in China, it is 'show-time' again, pandering to those taken up with glitter at the expense of content.

Noz

November 22, 2007 8:12 PM

Jeez folks, some three weeks later and no one has anything to say re: this article? This is SO American that it should make headlines in some Conservative publication. It would never cut it with the usual left-wing media. For them it is not news. But then with today's education system being what it is, but mostly what it clearly is not, well, what more can I say?

This is Thanksgiving Day, and what comes to mind again is THANKS for turkeys like Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Murtha, Boxer, the Clintons, Jimmah, Edwards, Biden, Miller, Lee, Eschue, Tauscher, Woolsey, even Feinstein, etc. What we REALLY need as a nation in pain is a GOOD LAUGH. And only the antics of the failing/flailing Crats can provide this... nothin' butt clowns every one!

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