General Motors Co.’s hybrid Chevrolet Volt will be competitively priced in China as it has high expectations for the car, which it hopes will help it gain a foothold in China's environmentally friendly car industry.
According to Kevin Wale, president and managing director of GM China, the launch of Chevrolet Volt, is key to its broader strategy to boost its hybrid/electric car business in China after Beijing announced subsidy measures for the sector.
The launch is scheduled to take place in the second half of 2011. Wale, who spoke at a news conference in Shanghai, added that the price of Chevrolet Volt in China will be announced during the official launch but he described it to be “competitive.” Last July, GM said that the US pricing of its electric Chevrolet Volt is at $41,000, which is $8,000 higher than its nearest rival, the Nissan Leaf.
The Volt is expected to have a 40-mile all-electric range on battery power. However, its design includes a gasoline engine that kicks in when the battery runs low. This engine powers two electric motors that push the car for 300 miles more. GM aims to build 10,000 Volts for the 2011 model year and to produce about 30,000 for 2012.
Local media said that China is willing to spend over 100 billion yuan ($14.70 billion) to subsidize the electric car industry in the next 10 years. Wale said that China has to “move to electrification more than any other country.” He also noted that the Chinese government aims to “move to electrification” – something that the company wants to participate in.
Nevertheless, the Chevrolet Volt will come up against strong competition in the domestic market where its smaller rivals build and sell comparable products at a much lower price.
Chinese carmaker BYD, which is supported by no less than US billionaire Warren Buffett, has plans to export large numbers of its E6 electric car in the US where it will compete directly with Nissan's Leaf and GM's Volt.