The Economic Times reports that Honda Motor Co. is considering making hybrid cars in China for the Chinese market. To help in the decision, the Japanese auto maker will test demand for such cars The test will involve the Honda Civic hybrid and the test is expected to start within the next three months.
Honda’s major rival, Toyota, is already producing its hybrid Prius in China since 2005. The Prius costs about $37,400 to $39,200 in China. The auto maker expects to sell around 3,000 Priuses this year.
Honda claimed that its hybrid Civic will be offered for a price less than the Prius but no specific price was given.
Our take? Honda has done pretty well selling its cars in China. The company reports that it sold a record 323,469 cars in 2006, up 25.9 percent from 2005.
However, it realizes that competition is fierce as more automakers enter the Chinese market. And while there appears to be a crying need for hybrid cars in China due to the problem of staggering pollution in such major cities as Shanghai, with the numerous auto makers in the country — both domestic and foreign — Chinese buyers may overlook the hybrid’s benefits for something flashier or cheaper. (Sounds like the U.S.)