After selling a paltry 31 units of the F3DM plug-in hybrid nationwide in its first seven months on the market, BYD has decided to turn to the Chinese government for assistance.
BYD, backed by billionaire Warren Buffet, is hopeful that the government will provide subsidies and incentives to buyers of hybrid vehicles which would increase sales of the companies plug-in hybrid models. BYD chairman Wang Chuanfu said, "We hope local and central governments will work together to provide subsidies to consumers. That would definitely help boost demand."
According to Bloomberg.com, hybrid and electric sales have been slow in China due to the higher prices of such vehicles decreasing their demand. Despite a booming industry in China with sales expected to rise 28 percent over last year, hybrids and electric have been left behind. If the Chinese market does increase the expected 28 percent, it will surpass the U.S. as the world's largest automotive market.
BYD may be struggling to sell hybrid but China largest automaker Chery is also concerned. Chery will introduce their first plug-in electric the S18, next year. They are concerned about sales and according to their vice president Fang Yunzhou the consumer is mainly concerned about price. He said, "People think they can buy two regular cars for the price of one electric car."
Incentives for hybrid do not receive popular backing in China as many citizens do not believe that taxpayers should have to pay out their money to fund an industry. As Chinese deputy for the head of industry Chen Jianguo said, "Some may say it's unfair to offer subsidies using taxpayers' money for car buyers who are relatively rich even if that helps the industry grow. It would be very difficult to introduce such a policy."
Whether or not the government introduces incentives for hybrids remains to be seen, but both BYD and Chery have been tremendously successful as of late with BYD's stock jumping fourfold this year alone and Chery leading the country in total sales.