On Wednesday Ontario Canada’s Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that the Ontario government would provide buyers of plug-in hybrid vehicles a rebate of $4000 to $10,000 dollars for cars purchased after July 1, 2010. A $7500 tax credit exists for the Volt in the US.
McGuinty said “we want to make it easier to buy green cars,” and pledged a goal of 1 in 20 cars to be electric on Canada’s roads by 2020.
The Premier actually made the announcement at a Chevrolet dealership while stepping in and out of a Volt show car. Buyers of the Volt could expect the full $10,000.
He did not state the program’s cost. Other incentives mentioned were special green license plates and preferred parking spots in places like Wal-Mart.
Toyota had not been notified of this decision and was caught off guard. In return for $3.16 billion in funding the Canadian governemnt is a 12% owner of the new GM, and as such the Japanese automaker expressed concerns of favoritism.
“How long does this continue?” said Stephen Beatty, managing director of Toyota Canada Inc. “We can’t set up a situation where the future of the industry depends on constant subsidies.”
“This suggests that (the government) is prepared to be interventionist beyond their aim to help the industry recover,” he said. “The question is: Is this a well thought-out industry strategy? Or is it sort of the next stage in advancing a particular product and helping a particular company?”
Toyota will only be producing a limited test fleet of 500 global plug-in Priuses by the end of 2010, and have hesitated to publicly embrace the technology which could make their hybrid synergy drive obsolete. “We’re not entirely convinced that the technology is a winning proposition for consumers today,” said Beatty.
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