Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 30, 2008
For all Toyota’s recent success in China, it’s fair to say the Prius isn’t one of them. While Americans can’t get enough of the gas-electric hybrid, Chinese sales, stymied by high import taxes, have disappointed. Launched in 2005, last year Toyota’s China Prius sales were just 1,000—one third of what had been hoped. At around $36,000—around $15,000 more than the U.S.—it’s easy to spot the cause.
Still, there are fresh signs that Toyota’s plans to ramp up hybrid sales to over one million a year globally by the early 2010s include China. According to reports in Japan today, Toyota will start making hybrid Camrys in China in 2010. Initially, Toyota will make 10,000 of the cars a year at Guangzhou Toyota, its joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group in Guangdong, notes today’s Nikkei. That echoes recent announcements that Toyota will start producing Camry hybrids in Australia and Thailand. Toyota expects to benefit as gas prices rise in China and plans by Chinese authorities to give preferential treatment to cleaner cars in the world’s second biggest automarket.