Honda goes green in China

Honda will start manufacturing hybrid cars in China this year. Reuters has reported that the company will produce hybrid models of its Acura compact sport utility vehicle and its Accord sedan.

Honda has four hybrid cars in the Chinese market, but sales haven’t been overwhelming, partly because of price. All four models are shipped from Japan with considerable import duties attached, and that is reflected in the retail prices.

The company hopes to overcome this hurdle by manufacturing the green cars in China. However, in order to start local production, foreign car-makers need to establish partnerships with local Chinese manufacturers. Honda has two Chinese joint ventures; Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd and Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd.

According to Japanese business newspaper Nikkei, Honda is expected to produce about 20,000-30,000 hybrid versions of Honda Acura SUV and Accord sedan this year. By 2020, the company intends to introduce plug-in versions as well.

This is in anticipation of the direction the market is moving. China has been battling to cut auto emissions for a number of years. It is promoting green cars and last year banned nearly half of the vehicles in Beijing in attempts to cut back on carbon emissions.

The city also follows odd and even number plate car rules, so that all the vehicles are restricted from coming out on roads all at once.