• Jul 3, 2007
Businessweek reports that Brilliance (yes, that Brilliance) plans to have cars (possibly the Saibao, above) for sale in the U.S. next year for around $20,000. Phoenix, Arizona-based Autokam is behind the import plan and a Flash animation on their Web page says to expect Brilliance products this fall.

Digging around a bit on Autokam's Web site you'll find an Oct. 2006 article from "Dealer" magazine where Autokam founder David Shelburg talks about the status of crash and emissions tests and the difficulties of importing Chinese-made cars. Shelburg also shares his candid opinion of "Automotive News" publisher and editor in chief Keith Crain. "I'm not going to get along with that SOB if it kills me."

[Sources: Businessweek via China Car Times, Autokam, Dealer magazine, ChinaCar USA]

Shelburg also talks a bit about the competition's plans to import cars from China including Malcolm Bricklin, for which Shelburg once worked during Bricklin's Subaru phase. Funny how all things automotive seem connected, isn't it?

In the interview, Shelburg says he's been working since 1992 to bring cars over from China and has been putting the Brilliance Saibao through emissions and crash tests since 2005. Results from those tests, Shelburg says, have led to numerous improvements in the car's quality, performance and safety. If all goes according to plan, Autokam, in partnership with China Car USA, will have the Brilliance Saibao for sale first, followed by the Europa, Hover SUV, Lobo hatchback and M-2 models.

It's hard to say if Autokam can be the first importer of Chinese cars, but what's very clear is that they are coming, they will be inexpensive and regardless of their quality and safety credentials, will put pressure on already established brands. When? Who knows?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      According to ChinaCar USA website,

      M1(BS6),M2,M3 are made by Brilliance, Hover are made by Great Wall, Saibao are made by Hafei.

      So, "Brilliance Saibao" is not correct.

      I don't know this will make any differences in terms of quality...though.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well... Look at it this way... At least now we have a new brand to make fun of, since Hyundai is moving up in the world...
        • 7 Years Ago
        And by hit you mean, hits you as you're walking across the street, as these "Brilliant" cars have all the structural integrity of wet tissue paper.
      • 7 Years Ago
      this is the badest photo shop pic done till today !!! lol there is a blured back ground and the car isnt moving and the reflection on the ground is FUNNY!! LOL
      • 7 Years Ago
      Personal injury lawyers are salivating.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ohhhhhhhh, yes, a rollover test!! I can't wait to see this! if the car does not completely flatten, the cabin, it passes. Preliminary diagnostic: 0 stars
      • 7 Years Ago
      Someone has a death wish if they buy the car in North America.
      • 7 Years Ago
      $20k? Are they serious? Only a masochist would buy one.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Someone who wants to bring thos POS's over here is all about the mighty $ and nothing else. No regard for the consumer whatsoever.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Why should government get in the way of an american exercising his God given right to make money? Socialists look to government for protection. Americans take care of themselves. And we don't sue when we get injured, we rub butter on it and move on. No making lawyers rich for us.

        /right wing nutbag rant
        • 7 Years Ago
        Because here in America, we care about people's lives, whether it be our neighbor or our enemy, much more than we care about making money for ourselves. That may not be how it seems due to our idiot president, but for the most part, with a few exceptions of greedy individuals, that's how it is here.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Its not the responsibility of the importer to stop people from making bad decisions.

        As long as they do the crash tests and inform customers of the results if their customers want to buy them it's their right to do so, as long as when they get here they meet minimum requirements.

        You know there are going to be some people willing to buy them because of their price, regardless of safety and quality. Thats their fault, not the importer.

        Heck, it might clean up the gene pool a little.
        • 7 Years Ago
        $20,000 for one of those pieces of shit?

        Hee. Right.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The minute this POS gets in an accident i hope the dealer is sued for every penny he is worth for knowingly bringing such crap into America.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This would make for a good comparo, "Kleenex vs Brilliance: The fight for crash supremacy." My money is on the Kleenex in a frontal offset, however the tides may turn and the Brilliance might win in rollover! Should be the comparison of the century.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm not a fan of buying Chinese goods, although many times I am forced too. Its hard to find even basic notepaper made in the Usa anymore.

      Soon everyone here in the manufacturing industry we will be unemployed, just like those people who used to answer phones at a call centre's.
      Those people will all need a job, its basic Supply and demand, they will take yours or you will be forced to work for less money.
      How will you be able to afford a car Chinese or American?

      China will own the USA and other countries too. Cant anyone see this coming ?

      Think about it.
        • 7 Years Ago

        Manufacturing has been leaving the U.S. for 20 years. It's not a big deal.

        Our market keeps reinventing itself. We are better at high tech devices these days. Let the developing countries produce the less involved stuff. It's at their competence levels.

        If you have a high tech education (like engineering for instance) there is no trouble getting a job in the U.S. Companies are screaming for more tech people, but for some reason people are content with not educating themselves, and working line jobs at factories. Well, those jobs are going to disappear. Good riddance. We want the good jobs here. Not the unqualified labor.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'll admit, Brilliance hasn't had the most auspicious start it could hope for, and its situation isn't helped by the fact that Chinese quality is in the national news almost nightly. Still, Brilliance wont find the PR redemption it seeks by giving up on the US market. Americans pay too much and borrow too much for their cars (let alone mortgages), and there needs to be an inexpensive alternative - without compromising safety. Brilliance wants to be the first. It's gutsy, and possibly not recommended when their product is so unpredictable, but it's a move that has to be made, even at the expense of one's image, and they sound serious.

      Hopefully the Saibao's safety cage isn't made of breadsticks and shellac.
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