Ghosn To China: Give Us Your Rules, And We'll Give You Our EV

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Nearly two months ago, American senators complained that China is continuing its “long history of breaking international trade rules” and that there is a “trade barrier that is designed to prevent U.S. automakers from accessing the Chinese market” for electric vehicles.

As Ed Niedermeyer said it back when, there were no new rules. There still aren’t any. If there is one man who should be up to date on rules on electric vehicles around the world and especially in China, then it’s Carlos Ghosn. After all, he did bet the future of two companies, Renault and Nissan on the future of the EV. Also, Nissan is the largest Japanese brand in China, and Nissan’s joint venture partner is Dongfeng, a company owned by China’s central government. So he should know what the rules are.

The trouble is: Carlos Ghosn has no idea. This is what he said today:

“China still did not officialize their policy on electric cars. The official policy has not been made official yet. Obviously we will launch an electric car in China. But before launching it we want to know: What are the rules?”

“Will China give incentives to the consumer? It seems like the answer is going to be yes. Who will be benefiting from the incentives? Do you have to be a Chinese brand in order to benefit? Under what conditions will you be able to produce batteries in China? Does the 50:50 rule apply to batteries? Does it apply to the new technology we will be bringing?”

“There are a lot of questions that still are not officially answered. We have some hints. But the stakes are so big that you cannot afford massive investments without knowing exactly what the rules are.”

“This will hopefully happen around summer this year. We have the intention to go with the electric car and the new technology to China, because the Chinese believe in the electric car, they need zero emission, and every single sign they are giving is that they are going to support it heavily.”

There is something that Ghosn knows, and it’s that the Chinese market is still growing:

“During the month of May, the sales of passenger cars continued to grow in China. And I can tell you even in the month of June we see the sales of passenger vehicles continue to grow. Commercial vehicles are going down for a very simple reason: There were a lot of incentives on the table. When you stop the incentives, obviously you will drive the market down.”

TTAC readers have known this for a while.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Steven02 Steven02 on Jun 22, 2011

    China does currently tax all imported vehicles @ 25%. But, if you want to see WTO violations, just google WTO rules against China.

  • Rentonben Rentonben on Jun 22, 2011

    If China still maintains it 50/50 rule, we should do the same - It would be amusing to see the Chicoms forced to build lead-based-toy factories here in America and have hire some our city winos to staff it.

  • Lynchenstein @EBFlex - All ICEs are zero-emission until you start them up. Except my mom's old 95 Accord, that used to emit oil onto the ground quite a lot.
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂