Toyota Motor plans to make key parts for its Prius Hybrid in China, in order to boost sales.
This would be the first time for the Japanese automaker to produce key components such as motors and batteries for the petrol-electric hybrid in a facility outside Japan. The second model of the Prius was manufactured in China, with key components exported from Japan, but the operation stopped in 2009.
“The company has a business policy to expand sales of environmentally friendly cars in China,” said Toyota spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto, adding production of the car in the country had been approved by Chinese authorities. Production for the third Prius model is to begin in China this year at the earliest.
The major components for the model will be produced at the company’s research and development facility in Changshu, in eastern China, but no information was given on where the car is to be assembled or what parts will be made in China.
“Everybody recognizes that China is going to be a very important market for all car manufacturers,” Toyota spokesman Paul Nolsco told the BBC. “Given the scale that we hope to achieve in China, it makes more financial sense to make these parts there.”