Huffington Post: Why China Wont Be Building Cars for China Anytime Soon

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From the Huffington Post:

Making cars in China has been used to scare voters and even Chrysler workers in the presidential campaign’s waning days, but the reality is Chinese-assembled vehicles will not be exported to the U.S. anytime soon.

It makes no economic sense for major Western carmakers to build there and ship here. China-based automakers have not met the safety and quality standards to compete here yet, say automakers and analysts alike.

In addition, the Chinese economy has slowed; the nation’s domestic automakers are in survival mode, struggling to make money at home with no desire to use precious resources to establish dealers to sell in the U.S.

“The general stance is to build where you sell,” said Mary Barra, head of global product development for General Motors. “It makes sense from a quality, supply chain and cost perspective.”

Let’s not forget that Canada has been receiving Chinese made Honda Fit’s since late last year, how long until the USA is also receiving Chinese vehicles?

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  • dragin
    November 7, 2012

    Agreed, China should not be making cars for China, soon or ever…..
    They should be making them for the greater global market with all the associated standards of quality, legal integrity, safety worthiness, attractability, and environmental sustainability firmly in place.

  • Beemer
    November 10, 2012

    China won’t be selling in the US because they CANNOT meet crash safety standards. I don’t remember which chinese brand it was, but I saw one being crash tested. It was the first time I’d ever seen a crash dummy actually cut in half. Pollution controls are easy to meet..well, engineering wise, you have hundreds of drivetrains you can reverse engineer if you’re not up to the task of designing one yourself.

    After crash tests, you have to establish a dealer network and PARTS availability and THAT is where the trouble lies. I doubt there would be any revolutionary technology coming out of China vehicle wise, so our mechanics wouldn’t find anything baffling (unlike when the first wankels hit the US..simple engines, but most mechanics are scared to death of any engine that doesn’t move up and down, I guess?

    Just like Cadillac can’t figure out what the Chinese consumer wants (and truth be told, they want to be able to dump any vehicles that didn’t sell here on the secondary markets, wherever they may be). The odd thing is that GM isn’t taking a look at what their australian branch was making. The australian HOLDEN vehicles (Which is GM “down under”) sold as the late Pontiac GTO and the Pontiac G8 were australian cars with the steering wheel on the left side, and of course had the LS3 450hp engine that isn’t exactly a fuel miser, but getting 25mpg on the highway isn’t bad for any V8 either.

    But I would think that the Chevy Corvette, which can pull 37mpg on the highway, and DOES have more modern, rounded and halfway sexy looks WOULD make it there as a sports car for the noveau riche. But the biggest problem with ANY American car in China is PARTS and SERVICE. Like what was mentioned in the Cadillac post, the supply chain is just too long. A few years ago, the Buick division of GM was selling well in China in particular. Cadillac, however, has a rather ingrained idea of that “Cadillac look” with the fin type taillights. I remember when the first Ford Taurus came out in the US..people thought it was weird, then futuristic, then outdated, but it sold like hotdogs at a baseball game anyway. Honestly I don’t know why Ford doesn’t sell the Taurus in China..I think it would do well. The tech was mature and it’s the darling of the rental fleets (or was, at least, from 1989 thru 2007 or so when they dropped the taurus, only to revive it later)

    But sadly, the GM folks don’t want to invest in a “global car”. Ford did it with the fiesta back in 1978, importing it here to the US with the 1.6L Kent pushrod 4 engine that also powered every formula ford car ever built. If ford could come up with a good engine design like the 4G63 Mitsubishi engine (which I race..I have a pair of 1991 Galant VR4′s) the nonturbo engine in a fwd car like the Eclipse or even the Galant would get close to 40mpg with a manual transmission and around 35 with a 4 speed automatic. Or bring back the simple but fun 3 cyl turbocharged Chevy Sprint/Suzuki Swift engine, which was nearly bulletproof, and possibly even the XFi version, which I owned and which pulled over 62mpg with the dealer installed ac on full blast at 75mph. (some broke 70mpg too) Only using a single compression ring on each piston dropped internal drag by 25%)

    But the bottom line is that US automakers don’t want to deal with the impediments to doing business IN China.

    Safety doesn’t sell in China..YET. I Know that BMW and Audi have plants in China and they’re good cars. However, I’d like to see the reliability statistics between the Chinese made and german made versions before I’d purchase one.

    At least the Chinese made FIT is being sold in Canada, so the industry can see what it takes to make a car for the north american market and what it takes, quality and safety wise, to be competitive. Whether the lessons rub off on the automotive engineers in China remains to be seen. They’re fully capable of MAKING the products safe..yet Americans have a rather low opinion of anything Chinese and saying quality in the same sentence. Especially when you hear about lead paint on baby toys, etc.

    Then again, I’m 50 years old and I remember when Hyundai started selling in the US on their own instead of being “captive imports” of the major players (Daewoo too, which quite frankly should have stayed IN Korea).

    The reason Hyundai came out with their 10 year 100k mile warranty was to throw an olive branch to all those people who bought Hyundai Excel’s with automatic transmissions and had the transmissions fall apart between 25 and 40k miles..or right out of warranty.

    But now Hyundai makes VERY good cars (that genesis engine is a jewel) and even KIA is making decent cars now (We bought a KIA Optima years ago and while it ran well, the fit and finish in the interior was horrid..hit a bump and trim would fly off the interior..the headlight switch buried itself in the dash due to defective clips holding it in place, you name it, it fell apart.)

    However, I’m old enough to remember the first SUBARU that came to our shores. It was horrid looking, reminding me of a Russian Trabant that was assembled by cave men, with a two cyl, two stroke engine that was barely the equal of the engine in my snowmobile. But if you’d invested the PRICE of a new Subaru in company stock back then, you’d be a millionaire now a few times over.

    Give it another ten years and you’ll see probably chinese EV vehicles here first. However, I question the value of a hybrid that gets 40mpg when my 1991 Geo Metro XFi could get 62mpg at 75mph with NO hybrid technology and if you kept the revs up and beat on it, it was even a fun autocrosser with the Suzuki Swift suspension installed. (the Swift GTi)

    Then again, I’m the kind of guy who considers one of those “SMART” cars a spare tire to fit in the bed of my 24 foot long four door longbed dually 4×4 turbodiesel pickup truck too. Us Americans LOVE our high horsepower fuel suckers. Not for the fuel they suck, but we all like to RACE.. Of course, if I had a choice between a new Corvette and an E series V8 Benz..well, it might be a tossup.

    the one thing I do NOT understand is why nobody makes a turbodiesel hybrid that has a constant speed diesel genset powering the batteries. Especially in taxi fleets. All kinds of gasoline hybrids, but not a single diesel hybrid. I love the VW TDI diesel engines..even had one in my sailboat at one time. But that’s the ONLY diesel out there. in the mid 80′s, Isuzu, VW, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, ALL had small diesel cars here, and ALL were pulling around 40 to 50mpg. Gutless without a turbo, but with the turbo, liveable even on our highways and they’d run forever.

    But who listens to the meanderings of an old racing fool?


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