75 percent of Chinese want to buy a hybrid
Yesterday, I flipped on CNBC and caught the end of Jim Cramer commenting on recent Chinese energy moves, during which Cramer roughly remarked that China doesn't care about next quarter's profits. Communists don't think in quarters, he said, instead they think multi-year. Likewise, Cramer claimed that China is making moves based on 2020 supply projections.
Can America compete with this?
Just the other day 13 Chinese lithium battery related companies bought out Australian-based Galaxy Resources Limited's lithium carbonate product for the next five years. Like the Japanese and Koreans, the Chinese are also making huge lithium moves, including mining their own lithium and rare metals.
Likewise, a few days ago Citroen announced the launch of the Citroen Metropolis Concept, a hybrid designed in China for the Chinese market, Citroen's largest market outside of Europe. Similarly, GM recently pushed ahead the launch of the Chevy Volt in China, where that automaker currently maintains a next gen powertrain and battery lab.
More important, already the Chinese realize oil-powered Buicks are not their future. Recently, a couple of new consumer studies found that 3 of 4 Chinese auto consumers are ready to buy a "new energy" vehicle, with most expressing interest in gasoline hybrid cars. Of course, like most American consumers, the purchase is dependent upon cost. In China, consumers are willing to pay 11 - 15 percent more for a hybrid compared to a conventional vehicle.
This potential pushed Warren Buffett to buy a large share of Chinese battery and car producer BYD, a company Buffett believes will quickly become the world's largest automaker, with much of its success built upon battery-powered hybrids and plug-in vehicles. Most important, that success could be largely independent of both US and European auto markets if nationalism were to overtake the Chinese market.
Certainly, none of this guarantees Chinese success, but I wouldn't bet against this waking giant.