Toyota’s Prius hybrid is the best-selling gas-electric vehicle worldwide but in China, it’s almost as rare as the endangered giant panda.
Almost a decade since Toyota began making the Prius in the country, the automaker has made little headway in persuading consumers in the world’s largest vehicle market to buy hybrids.
The main reason is price: the Prius costs as much as an entry-level Audi because of taxes on imported components and the lack of government subsidies.
That’s contributed to Toyota’s also-ran status in China, where it ranks sixth in a market led by Volkswagen AG and General Motors despite being the world’s No. 1 automaker by sales.