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If you’re reading this in China and you bought a Prius in December, congratulations — you were the only one.

While Toyota Motor Corp.’s iconic gas-electric hybrid car continues to sell in other markets almost two decades after the first one was sold in Japan in late 1997, Chinese consumers have never warmed to the Prius, a mainstay of the U.S. green-car movement. This past year, sales almost completely flatlined, even as China’s cities continue to battle smog issues.

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