BEIJING — If the first wave of Japan-brand electric vehicles for China looks familiar, it should. Toyota, Nissan and Honda are simply rolling out EV versions of existing nameplates.
Toyota Motor Corp. will launch two full electric variants of its C-HR subcompact crossover in 2020. Nissan Motor Co. will start selling an EV Sentra small sedan this year.
And also this year, Honda Motor Co. will introduce its own EV, which seems to borrow a tweaked body of the HR-V crossover and bolt it on top of an all-electric powertrain.
Plans for each of the vehicles were announced at last week's Beijing auto show. Honda previewed the Everus EV Concept. Developed with Honda's local joint venture, GAC Honda Automobile Co., the vehicle will be sold under a new Everus brand, not the Honda badge.
The tactic may help the Japanese manufacturers spread costs as they race to meet the Chinese government's new energy vehicle mandates. Sparing the expense of a new body and retooled stamping dies may help offset the pricey investments in battery technology.