According to The Wall Street Journal, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito believes that China's nascent car-buying demographic isn't all that interested in hybrid cars – at least not yet. The emissions story doesn't resonate with them, and certainly not for the higher purchase premium such models usually carry. What they really want, Ito believes, is reliable, affordable cars that fit their needs. When it comes to Honda sales, the numbers would appear to jibe with his thoughts: Honda sold 598,577 vehicles in China last year through its two joint ventures, yet just 542 of them were hybrids – not even a tenth of a percent. However, Toyota sold 840,500 cars in China last year, and two percent of that total, 17,300 units, were hybrids, which is closer to the still-piddling three-percent ratio of sales that Toyota posted in the US last year.

Honda offers the Insight, Fit Hybrid and CR-Z in China and plans to make components for its Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system there from next year, the hope being it will reduce the cost of hybrid cars for local buyers. That was one part of the plan Honda laid out last year to popularize its IMA system in China. Other initiatives include the introduction of a new hybrid system for mid-sized and large vehicles and a plug-in hybrid. Among the four new vehicles Honda showed during this weekend's press day for the Shanghai Motor Show (including the Concept M minivan pictured above) there was not a single hybrid among them.


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  • 68 Comments
      George Voll
      • 1 Year Ago
      Isn't it obvious, from the pictures, that the Chinese want red cars.
      Feurig
      • 1 Year Ago
      When you're perfectly ok with pumping the vast majority of the world's CO2 in the atmosphere, I'm sure nobody's really vying for hybrids.
      Zitao Liao
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think it's not only chinese..it's just in every market that hybrid/electric cars are not mainstream and of course people everywhere in the world want "reliable, affordable cars that fit their needs."...so...i don't really know what he's talking about
      rawtoast
      • 1 Year Ago
      So enjoy continuing to have to chew your air China.
      Shahul X
      • 1 Year Ago
      they don't want your eco friendly cars...more smog and lets cut some fins off sharks to make soup that we believe can cure all disease!!! We are so smart, we are so smart!!!
      • 1 Year Ago
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        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        I do not know what you are talking about here is a list of best selling car in china dec 2012 and january 2013 Honda civic sale was poor. http://bestsellingcarsblog.com/2013/02/20/china-january-2013-vw-lavida-smashes-all-time-passenger-car-record/
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          [blocked]
          chanonissan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          there is a car coming in 2014 with a CO2 of 50kg, that will blow away this diesel engine
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Honda...dude... Whether what you say is true or not, you will run afoul of liberals. You will now be called: Racist, homophobic, sexist, you starve children, destroy the planet, throw old people into the street, stand around them with your Wall Street fat cat, hedge fund bank managing buddies, with your friends from big oil, big pharmaceutical, big insurance, big sugar, and Haliburton, stuffing dog food into the old person\'s mouth. And not purina one, but cheap Alpo. No good can come of comments like that. Here is the right way to issue a statement: \'The Chinese are hard working people who help old ladies cross the street and feed their young while celebrating diversity and baby unborn whales. We are currently looking into the best strategy to best serve the Chinese people and their needs, while focusing on sustainable growth in the market and an environmentally conscious, market based strategy to ensure that with growth, does not come pollution.\'
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Actually Honda, your hybrids just suck. I bet they're selling a good amount of prii over there. Tarriffs on Japanese cars / parts are super high though. So even a Prius sells for $40k there.
      mr.vw
      • 1 Year Ago
      It seems they want the americian dream, they'll learn soon that it doesn't work.
      Cameron Alidor
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Honda boss says Chinese drivers don't want green cars..." Neither do we want them. See a parallel?
      foxtrot685
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dear Honda, I think its actually because the buying public of China realizes your IMA system hybrids suck. They are neither fast, nor the most economical and in some cases, like with the CR-Z, dont make a lick of sense. Toyota managed to move over 15,000 of them because while they are not the easiest on the eyes, they actually work and do what they are supposed to do. Oh, you thought just because it was China that they wouldn\'t be able to identify crap when they saw it?
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @foxtrot685
        I agree they need to look at the competition, Toyota system is expensive but you get good efficiency making sense, Nissan cima system powerful and efficiency making sense, Honda mild hybrids not much gain in efficiency and is too expensive.. Toyota and nissan are dropping there prices what about honda?They need to stop hope and drop the price.
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