By on July 26, 2011

At a press conference in Beijing’s tallest building, Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn announced today that the Nissan-Dongfeng joint venture will build an EV in China, and that it will be ready by 2015. No, it will not be the Nissan Leaf. It will be a plug-in that will sail under Nissan-Dongfeng’s “Chinese” brand, Venucia. Said Ghosn:

“We see a clear need for cars that are affordable, practical, spacious and zero emission. Nissan is clearly the global leader in zero emission mobility, now with more than 10,100 electric Nissan Leaf vehicles already sold worldwide.”

“We are fully prepared to follow the Chinese government direction to promote the adoption of zero emisssion vehicles. We are ready to produce electric cars locally in China under the Venucia brand.”

Venucia will release its first car in 2012. The EV that will follow in 2015 will officially be an indigenous Chinese product. There have been many rumors about the (not yet announced) Chinese EV subsidy policy. Will imports qualify? Is it ok if the car is made in China? Does the car have to be “Chinese?”

The decision to build a “Chinese” EV instead of simply manufacturing a Leaf in China is indicative of what the rules will be when they are finally handed down:

It must be “Chinese.” It’s o.k. if it is Chinese by name, and if the technology comes from Japan or Europe. There will most certainly be a lot of parts under the hood of that Venucia EV that look very familiar to a Leaf owner. However, if it is “Chinese,” then the IP of the car (not necessarily that of the components) will be owned by the joint venture instead of being licensed from the foreign joint venture partner.

Dongfeng is owned by China’s central government. Or as Ghosn said, the company has “solid relationships with China’s central and local governments.”

Dongfeng should know by now what the rules will be when they have been announced. A lot of people will not like those rules.   While U.S. Senators are rattling sabers, Ghosn cuts deals with what could possibly the world’s largest market for electric vehicles.

Make cars, not war.

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4 Comments on “Nissan Will Build A Chinese EV...”

  • avatar

    So I wonder if Ghosn negotiated a deal with the China government to allow piles of exemptions for an imported Leaf until this new car is ready? Deal with the devil?

    What this really illustrates is that “industrial policy” works. The USA could learn a few lessons and focus on industrial policies instead of social policies.

    • 0 avatar

      That industrial policy works only if the country can trade decades of unbridled growth for a little know-how that accelerates the growth. The deal is “we give you the market, we give you capital, you giove us technology.”

      If you don’t have growth to offer, the deal does not work.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    That top picture should be captioned… “Why is this man smiling?” (Just something about that grin and it’s “knowing-ness”.)

    Congrats to Nissan for making hay while the sun shines.

  • avatar

    The first pic reminds of that scene in Home Alone 2 where the hotel manager and the Grinch cartoon smiled. LOL

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