Slated to be available in time for the Beijing Olympics, which start in August, the new car is likely part of China’s plan to clean up their image - and their emissions - in anticipation of the arrival of all the athletes. Earlier this year Beijing began its clean-up efforts by banning nearly half the driving population from the streets. The hybrid will arrive too late, and in too few numbers to have any real impact, but at least it shows they’re trying.

Power will come from a four-cylinder Ecotec motor - already produced in China - mated to a hybrid assist unit assembled by GM and sourced from independent parts-makers, reports Automotive News. No further word on model specifics yet. Expected sales volume is only projected to reach 14,000 units annually by 2013.

The high cost of hybrid technology combined with the relative low running costs of traditional cars in China means demand for hybrids is low. Toyota’s uber-successful Prius only sold 2,000 examples in China in 2006. It’s not that the Chinese don’t love to drive - there are over 3 million cars registered in Beijing alone - it’s just that the benefits don’t yet outweigh the costs in their market.