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Like many countries, China provides subsidies to support the use of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Considering the heavy levels of pollution often found in China's rapidly growing cities, this seems both admirable and understandable. It can also be significant, with subsidies going as high as $19,300.

As General Motors seeks to introduce the Chevrolet Volt to the Chinese market, it's counting on these subsidies to help make the car attractive to potential buyers. It could work, too, since the Chinese subsidies are large enough to essentially slice the Volt's MSRP in half. However, according to The New York Times, the Chinese government has put a big roadblock in front of the plug-in Chevy:

The Chinese government is refusing to let the Volt qualify for subsidies totaling up to $19,300 a car unless G.M. agrees to transfer the engineering secrets for one of the Volt's three main technologies to a joint venture in China with a Chinese automaker, G.M. officials said. Some international trade experts said China would risk violating World Trade Organization rules if it imposed that requirement.

According to the Times, the Chinese demand includes handing over information about the Volt's electric motors, its control system or batteries. Similar demands for trade secrets have reportedly made other electric vehicle makers leery of entering the Chinese market. The Nissan Leaf is unavailable in China, and while Nissan officially refuses to comment on the reason, it's thought that this sort of government demand for intellectual property is behind Nissan's reluctance to consider the Chinese market – despite the high potential subsidies and growing demand.


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  • 61 Comments
      John
      • 3 Years Ago
      I do not believe that Chevy should sell the volt to china. Just to give them the right to under cut and sell it back to us.
      Spiffster
      • 3 Years Ago
      They made a deal with the UAW soooo all things considered, this deal seams to be a trivial detriment to GM.
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Chinese-made Cr-p at WalMart isn't slapped with a $19,000 import duty, WHY? WHY can China rip-off the west, and nothing ever happens? What a joke our politicians are.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick
        It benefits the mega companies and the super rich. You can guarantee if it didn't we would ban it in 2 days.
      Woody Becker
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Japanese and Koreans have used the same tactics on us. Nothing new here.....move along.
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      It was only a matter of time. Eventually the Chinese will say to foreign auto companies, "Thanks for coming to our party, now leave. We''ll provide our own transportation from here."
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      How much longer will we allow this one-sided trade agreement to go on? American politicians.. wake up.. wake the **** up..
      GR
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM to China: Helllll No. Next question?
        Jeff Zekas
        • 3 Years Ago
        @GR
        Of course, even if GM doesn't give the technology to China, they will steal the technology eventually.
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @GR
        I wish they said that - Today GM announced that they will center future development of the company's future EV's in China in cooperation with their lead partner there. This is after the commercial failure of China's main EV manufacturer to sell and deliver a good product - time to plunder the understanding from a "partner"... As CNBC reporter Phil LeBeau said today: "GM isn't sitting still. It knows that the future of electric cars will be written in China, so the company is putting its EV development in Shanghai, not Detroit...." http://www.cnbc.com/id/44594145 GM to share electric car technology with the Chinese http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44593792/ns/business-autos/#.Tnjc83MTmGo
      Baal
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cheena,,,,China Fu6K You
      Michael Walsh
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hey China....errr. Well, whatever the Chinese for "up yours" is!
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        Today GM announced that they will center future development of EV's in China in cooperation with their lead partner there. This is after the commercial failure of China's main EV manufacturer to sell and deliver a good product - time to plunder than understanding through a partner... As CNBC reporter Phil LeBeau said today: "GM isn't sitting still. It knows that the future of electric cars will be written in China, so the company is putting its EV development in Shanghai, not Detroit...." So not really up yours, but more like - are we bending over far enough for you? http://www.cnbc.com/id/44594145 GM to share electric car technology with the Chinese http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44593792/ns/business-autos/#.Tnjc83MTmGo
      rjstanford
      • 3 Years Ago
      Or a more fair and less inflamatory headline: "Give us information on how the Volt works, and we'll chip in $19,000+ every time you sell one in our country." Since we're talking about a rebate that may or may not be offered by the government, not a tax that may or may not be applied on top of GM's pricing. Big difference.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @rjstanford
        This is the most reasonable comment on this article.
      Michael Walsh
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is one way to get the Chinese...they don't have a lick of innovation - give them a design with a fundamental flaws and they will copy those flaws into their own product (or knockoffs of your product) without hesitation or question.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        Oh, they can innovate quite well when they must. It is just easier and cheaper for them to borrow and steal. That has to be stopped because it just isn't fair.
      Jason Allen
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think you are right on to caution everyone about seeing any chineese moves as benign. They are an insane cancer, very dangerous in the near future. It's not racial at all. It's that being capitalist communists has caused the PRC to become nearly un-human. I hate to sound nazi-ish saying sub human. It just happens to be true.
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