Japanese car maker Toyota will start manufacturing its hybrid gas/electric Prius cars in China next month. The cars will be made in Changchun, in northeast China’s Jilin province, where lots and lots of cars are made. This marks the first time Priuses have been manufactured outside of Japan. We’d like to think that this move will encourage more Chinese to buy the more environmentally friendly hybrid, but we have our doubts. So does this expert quoted in a Reuters story from September 2004, when Toyota’s China plans were originally announced: “Concerns about safety and the environment are the luxury of developed or wealthy countries,” Tim Dunne, a managing director at Automotive Resources Asia, a consulting firm, said. “The government is very serious about protecting the environment, but getting the consumers to buy that is a different story. I don’t think people will willingly open their wallets to spend extra money for the environment.” Being environmentally friendly just isn’t cool here yet. (Shanghaiist, for some reason is reminded of the scene(s) in Anchorman where Ron Burgundy and Co. litter in public parks like it’s their job. Ah, the carefree ’80s.) Maybe a couple decades from now, Shanghainese families will tool around in their hybrids harkening back to those “carefree ’00s.” Who knows.
Hybrid vehicle: a good choice for China? (China Economic Net)
Prius Wins “Clean” Vehicle Rally in China (AutoWeb)
China’s Next Cultural Revolution (WIRED)