Toyota has an unusual approach to meet the incoming 2019 EV quota in China for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids: The manufacturer is going to start selling the ix4 from their joint venture partner GAC.
The vehicle itself is an electrified version of the GAC compact SUV Trumpchi GS4. It will be sold under the GAC brand, however Toyota will contribute some parts for the ix4.
To offer to offer another brands vehicles in their own showroom is unprecedented on a this scale. GAC will gain the stringent quality control, the prestige and the sales channels of the Japanese vehicle manufacturers. Toyota will meet the EV quota set by the Chinese government: as of 2019, 10% of vehicles sales must be EVs, increasing to 12% in 2020.
The move, which would have been unthinkable from Toyota not long ago, really shows how much pressure the Chinese government is putting on vehicle manufacturers. It also demonstrates how keen Toyota is to enter the Chinese market, even before their first EV will be released in 2020.
Toyota recently presented the plug-in hybrid versions of the Corolla and Levin at the Beijing Motor Show, which will be launched in China in 2019. The first fully-electric Toyota will be the electric version of the C-HR, which will be released the following year.
Either way, the move is bold on GAC’s side, as the Chinese manufacturer has so far used the 2004-founded joint venture to sell adapted Toyota models or exlusively on the Chinese market.