Friday, September 9, 2011

International:  Hybrid in a Trade Squeeze

... as G.M. prepares to start selling [the Chevy Volt] here by the end of this year, the Chinese government is putting heavy pressure on the company to share some of the car's core technology.

The Chinese government is refusing to let the Volt qualify for subsidies totaling up to $19,300 a car unless G.M. agrees to transfer the engineering secrets for one of the Volt's three main technologies to a joint venture in China with a Chinese automaker, G.M. officials said. Some international trade experts said China would risk violating World Trade Organization rules if it imposed that requirement.

Chinese automakers may need technology assistance for advanced cars because their research budgets tend to be only a tiny share of sales by international standards.
The three core technologies that China is most interested in acquiring through the subsidy provision are electric motors, complex electronic controls and power storage devices, whether batteries or a fuel cell. At least one of those systems would need to be included in the technology transfer for a vehicle to qualify for the consumer subsidies.

For more, see Hybrid in a Trade Squeeze by Keith Bradsher, September 5, 2011 at NYTimes.com.

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