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Japan eyes up to $3,000 in green car subsidy: Nikkei

  Japan is considering introducing subsidies of up to ¥300,000 ($2,991) for the purchases of gasoline/electricity hybrids and other low emission vehicles to shore up slumping auto demand, the Nikkei business daily said on Saturday.

Measures to promote the use of environment-friendly products such as energy-saving home appliances are expected to be part of a new economic stimulus plan compiled by mid-April, Japanese media had said previously.

The Nikkei said the subsidies under consideration would cover electric and hybrid vehicles as well as regular gasoline- or diesel-engine cars that meet certain emission standards.

Buyers of mini vehicles that fall under these categories would receive ¥100,000 100,000 in subsidy for each purchase, and the amount would be doubled for the purchase of a larger qualifying automobile, the newspaper said. Mini vehicles have maximum engine displacements of 660 cc.

An additional ¥100,000 would be offered to those who upgrade to a new qualifying vehicle from a car that is at least 13 years old, the newspaper said. Reuters efforts to contact trade ministry officials on Saturday were unsuccessful.

Toyota Motor Corp leads the market for hybrid cars with its Prius model, while Mitsubishi Motors Corp, the only mass-volume carmaker with an electric car prototype on the road, begins selling its egg-shaped i-MiEV electric car to corporate customers in Japan from July.

The government aims to introduce the new subsidies by summer and maintain the scheme by March 2010, the Nikkei said. (Reuters)