GM has long intended to bring their Chevrolet Volt over to the Chinese market. It's both the largest and the fastest growing market for automobiles and only within a few short years smog pollution has increased exponentially among China's booming cities. To alleviate the headache, China will offer automakers planning to sell electric vehicles in their country a substantial subsidy of as much as $19,300.
But there's a catch. GM is faced with a negotiation that risks handing the Volt's proprietary technology over to the Chinese government. In order for GM to be eligible of the subsidy, the automaker is required to disclose one of Volt's three main innovations either its electric motors, the control system, or the batteries.
GM is understandably reluctant. Executive director of electrification strategy at GM China, Raymond Bierzynski, intends to have the Chinese officials allow Volt to qualify for the subsidies without the technology transfer and will, " Bring it up in every conversation we have." In addition, GM plans to import the Volt from Michigan instead of establishing a factory in China.
An obstacle not faced by GM alone, Nissan Leaf's unavailability in China is likely rooted from the same problem. Nissan did not confirm nor deny this.
According to international trade experts familiar with the demands, China may be violating World Trade Organization rules, certainly teasing its the boundaries, by imposing this requirement.
More: China Tells GM to Hand Over Volt Secrets or Face $19,000 Trade Roadblock