Geely Holding Corporation hopes to unveil its first hybrid car on December 26 of this year in honor of
Boxing Day Chairman Mao’s birthday. Geely’s production center for the hybrids is in Xiangtan County in Hunan Province … so is Shaoshan, Mao’s birthplace. The Xiangtan factory can produce 50,000 hybrids a year.
Just don’t expect to see any of them — or any other Chinese cars — outside of China anytime soon. USA Today reports that Geely’s exports can’t meet U.S. emission standards nor can they pass side-collison tests. China’s other potential auto exporter, Chery Automotive, has had to put its American plans on hold due to lack of money. Veteran auto entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin — the man who brought us the Yugo — had been trying to raise US$200 million to send Chery across the Pacific. Right now, he’s … oh … just about $126 million short:
“Yes, they will be here. The question is who will be first,” says George Peterson, head of consultant AutoPacific. He says Bricklin will be lucky to be selling cars by mid-2008, nearly a year later than planned. Geely “looks as if it is less prepared” and will take longer.
“It took the Japanese 20 years to understand this market and build appropriate cars,” Peterson says.
Also on Shanghaiist:
Fasten your seat belts, here come the Chinese cars