By on November 22, 2011

Carnewschina has spotted the Chevy Volt EV at the Guangzhou Auto Show. This time, it’s not just for show. Carnewschina brings the news that the Volt “has been officially listed on the China car market as an import.” This means, it’s street legal, and it’s ready for impending sale. Buyers need to bring a lot of money: A Volt costs 498,000 yuan in China, or 78,300 US dollar. That will probably remain unsubsidized. According to (unreliable) talk in China, subsidies are for made-in China vehicles only. Or not. We’ll see.

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22 Comments on “GM Volt Coming To China – At Hair-raising Prices...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    So just build them there. Problem solved. New problems created.

  • avatar
    cmoibenlepro

    If I was a Chinese with 80k in loose change, I would not buy a Volt.

    Either it’s a joke, or GM is not able to do a proper market study.

  • avatar
    NN

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Bertel, however, I believe China levies a 28% tariff on imported cars, then there’s VAT (17%) and a consumption tax (~5%) on top of that. So total taxes amount to 50% or so on the car, which makes up a good portion of that cost increase.

    The rest of it is likely just GM’s “we don’t really care about exporting” markup, mixed with a dose of reality that the Chinese electrical infrastructure and housing styles don’t mesh well with plug-in cars, so these won’t sell anyways.

    • 0 avatar

      Last I looked, the import duty on a car was 25%. VAT and car tax apply for all, imported or domestic. So the only thing different is import duty and freight.

      • 0 avatar
        daveainchina

        Your forgetting the luxury tax. Above a certain price range, more taxes kick in. Hence the LV purses and insane prices on Ferrari’s etc that are 2x’s the cost of the US

        On the other hand, the Volt for an automobile is below the Luxury import tax threshold. I’m not sure at what price that starts.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Generally speaking, do Chinese driving patterns favour electric vehicles? I would imagine that any electric vehicle works well in heavily congested cities, but what of the distances involved? And then there is the question of infrastructure for plugging in.

  • avatar

    Not expensive enough. Triple the price, they’ll sell more. Especially for Chinese weddings (see earlier post).

  • avatar
    blowfish

    this is a hybrid not a full EV, but paying such a high price, will the end justify the means?
    In Middle kingdom, only thing matter is how much they think u had paid, whether it works or not is not important.

    EV cars is more for the show not for the go.
    I suppose the fire on Volt was not a real issue as long as u remove the batt after it had been hit, the case cracked so the chemicals mixed inadvertently.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Well, it’s really not Volt. Cars are simply more expensive in China. Or you could say Chinese Yuan is overvalued. It’s undervalued in terms of small toys exported to the US maybe. But certainly overvalued in terms foreign cars.

    Things will only get worse when you get into SUVs. A $50k Acura MDX here would ask for 800k~1M CNY there. Roughly $130~160k USD, at the present exchange rate. Of course that rate is just a magic number, because no banks, Chinese or American, would give you USD for your CNY. People who claim that CNY is undervalued simply don’t use their own USD to buy into that “value”.

    The cheaper cars (even with forgein brands) are built locally in China.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry, but this is mostly baloney. A currency is not over or undervalued because small toys are cheap and big cars are expensive.

      At 6.36 yuan to the dollar, I think it’s fairly priced. I liked it better when I got 8 yuan for the buck and when things were much cheaper in yuan.

      The statement that no bank will give me USD for the Yuan is also wrong. It might take a little more paperwork, but it is done daily. How do you think Chinese pay foreign bills?

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        1) Ultimately, currency exchange is based on all the trades the two nations conduct, small toys and big cars included. I didn’t really say whether CNY is under or over valued. I just presented the two sides of the coin.

        2) What percentage of Chinese have foreign currency bills? BS, you are just out of touch. You can exchange your CNY into USD if:
        a – You have previously changed USD into CNY and kept the receipt.
        b – You have proof of studying or touring in a forgein country. In that case, you will be allowed $20k~$50k per year. This is OK, because the number of student visas and tourism visa issued by forgein countries are very limited. It just won’t go out of hand. It’s not like the USA would issue 1,000,000 student visas next year.
        c – You are conducting export trade or have special connections at banks. In the case of export, you may be able to get some USD first, but when uncle Sam pays your bill, that payment in USD must be handed in, and the government will give you CNY.

        Essentially, if you are just an individual, do not have foreign visa of any type, there is just no way a bank would give you a significant amount (20k) of USD for your Yuan.

      • 0 avatar
        daveainchina

        Bertel usually I agree with you, but the Chinese government is definitely undervaluing their currency in their favor simply to keep exports high.

        You can call it bunk all you want, but the fact is the currency is manipulated. It is not a fair price for the currency.

        On the other hand, if you want to argue the idea that allowing the Yuan to rise would result in American/European jobs, yeah I’d call that bunk and would agree with you there.

        As for Banks not giving money etc.. you are correct also Bertel, any bank that does foreign exchange will have RMB to trade. So getting that is quite easy also.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Badge it as a Buick – problem solved.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Bertel,
    Did the rumored $18k gov’t subsidy only apply to cars made in China? Or did that get nixed all together. I know it was only rumored at the time.
    From this article.
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/us-doesnt-understand-chinas-ev-policy-rattles-saber-anyway/

    • 0 avatar

      I am not out of touch. I live and work there. When I arrived in China in 2004, foreign currency was sought after. A purple 500 Euro bill was the key to a girl’s heart.

      These days, nobody cares. If you ask “Euro, dollar or yuan?” they want red Maos. Why? Because the yuan goes up and holding foreign currency is wasteful.

      If the Chinese want foreign currency, they can get it, trust me. How do you think they finance their real estate purchases in Vancouver or LA?

      • 0 avatar
        daveainchina

        of course the currency goes up, that’s because the Chinese government is slowly working to let the RMB reach it’s true value. Hence it’s undervalued.

        If I’m not mistaken, people are limited to taking $50,000 per year of RMB and converting it to dollars or euro’s or whatever. That’s enough to put down payments on houses and cover the loans. So buying property would be pretty easy.

        If people get more out, it’s not through normal channels available to people. Doesn’t mean they can’t (just like anything else in China, if you know the right people you can get it done).

        I do hear a number of wealthy Chinese complaining about not being able to get their money out, many are not happy about the situation.

        Ehh it’s a weird country and until you’ve been here, you really have no idea what is going on here.

    • 0 avatar

      The govt. subsidy is still in limbo. In any case, the full monte was for pure electrics only. A Volt qualifies as a hybrid.


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