You would be forgiven for thinking that the Prius is ubiquitous; after all, Toyota has sold several million of them all around the world. Everywhere except China, it seems. According to Bloomberg, just 76 Priuses found homes in China during all of 2016, with only a single sale in the month of December.
It’s not that China doesn’t like hybrids. Demand was up for alternative powertrains in 2016, even if hybrids and electric vehicles still make up less than two percent of vehicle sales. No, this is down to the Prius itself.
One problem is its looks, which failed to appeal to Chinese tastes, according to Bloomberg’s analyst. But import fees were probably a more significant factor. Until 2015, Toyota built Priuses in China, but with no domestic production in 2016, any vehicles imported were subject to an extra 25 percent duty.
Source: Who bought the single Prius that was sold in China in December? | Ars Technica