Toyota Bringing Plug-in Hybrids to China

Toyota Motor Corp. will be bringing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to China to tap into generous incentives, a Toyota executive said.

Toyota executive Hiroji Onishi said that the Japanese carmaker plans to launch plug-in hybrid versions of the Toyota Corolla and Levin in China in 2018. Onishi, head of Toyota’s China operations, spoke to reporters on the eve of the Beijing auto show.

Toyota plans to sell electrified vehicles to tap into generous purchase incentives from the Chinese government. These will include selling plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles in China.

“Our decision to launch plug-in hybrid versions of the Corolla and the Levin reflects the depth of our resolve and commitment to the Chinese market,” Onishi said.

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The Levin is built on the same platform as the Corolla. Last year, Toyota announced it would be bring a hybrid version of the Levin, along with a hybrid Corolla, to the Chinese market.

Toyota is looking into government guidelines on vehicles qualifying for the incentive program. Plug-in hybrids may have to operate on at least 50 kilometers (31 miles) of battery power when fully charged, according to an executive who declined to be identified.

Onishi didn’t say whether Toyota plans to produce those cars at its plant in China. Toyota officials at the announcement said that it was a possibility.