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Chinese autos abroad?

Posted by: Dexter Roberts on January 13, 2006

Well, Geely’s coming out ceremony at the Detroit Auto Show certainly created a buzz. China’s only competitive private auto maker thinks big and plans by chairman Li Shufu to export a sub $10,000 vehicle to the U.S. by 2008 sure demonstrate that. All told, the company plans to export
a whopping 1.3 million vehicles by 2015.

There is no doubt that this won’t be easy, however. Even at home in China, Geely suffers from a shoddy reputation with consumers well aware that there is a quality/price trade-off when buying Geely’s ultra cheap wheels. And meeting quality standards in mature markets like the U.S. will be far more challenging of course, as will developing a brand people know and respect, not to mention creating whole new distribution networks.

Indeed, Malcolm Bricklin (famous for bringing the shortlived Yugo to the U.S. in the 1980s) is now saying that Geely’s rival Chery will have to push back its arrival date on American shores until the end of 2007 (still ahead of Geely.)

Still, there is little doubt that Chinese vehicles will at some point in the not too distant future start selling in big numbers outside their home market. Whether it is Geely, Chery, or some other brand altogether, it’s too early to call.

Reader Comments

Haroon Rashid

January 16, 2006 2:44 PM

The two brands stated from China, I would say is an appreciable effort from the originators. Question to the originators, is the IPR and are the issues of licensing been adressed. In the past VW's issues of IPR, for the spares, and now again the VW is again the in the controversy. Chinese are excellent manufacturing with efficiencies unmatched. I'm writing from Pakistan a devloping country, with FTA with China. Malaysians are struggling for Proton, and so are Chinese. Still the real market for such products is not the coninental US. But it is developing countries including Pakistan, where cheap stuff can be dumped at low prices, and build volumes for quality conscious markets. I'm available at

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