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Volt hits Japan, hybrids' home turf

Automotive News reports on Chevy Volt sales in Japan.

The Chevrolet Volt has finally landed in Japan, home of the hybrid.

There's no solid plan to sell the car there, but the Volt made its Japan debut last week at Japan's Automotive Engineering Exposition.

Sumito Ishii, managing director of General Motors Japan, says the goal is twofold:

1. Demonstrate the car to journalists, engineers, and opinion leaders.

2. Gauge interest for a possible sales launch.

Homegrown hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight are wildly popular in Japan; whether a U.S. rival might catch on is another matter. But the unveiling drew big crowds at Japan's version of the Society of Automotive Engineers convention.

In Japan, GM has an image as a niche player with offerings such as the Corvette and Camaro. The arrival of the Volt is meant to show the company's high-tech side and help round out the company's image as it tries to expand its lineup there.

GM plans to start selling the Volt in China this year.

(Source: Automotive News)