While China’s government has touted less-polluting cars as a way to improve air quality and cut reliance on imported oil, it has delayed a plan to introduce subsidies. So, for the moment, gas guzzlers reign supreme.
A lack of affordability may limit sales of such vehicles by GM, Nissan and Toyota Motor Corp., which have all announced plans to introduce new hybrids and electric cars in China by 2011. The sluggish demand is also curbing investment in less-polluting car technology, prompting domestic automakers to seek foreign alliance partners to help fund development.
BYD, 10% owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is sticking with a goal of introducing its E6 electric car in China and the U.S. this year. So far it has sold 48 hybrids against 290.963 standard cars.
Toyota sold 271 of its Prius cars, the world’s top-selling hybrid, in China last year. Overall passenger-car sales in the nation totaled 10.3 million.
Honda dropped to 193 units last year.
Bloomberg Business Week states the government was previously scheduled to announce subsidies for alternative energy-powered vehicles in January. It is still working on the details.