Foreign manufacturers have had a strong presence in the United States' new car market for decades now. Germany, Japan and Korea produce vehicles that many consumers find as appealing as our domestic offerings, if not more so. Those countries have had lots of time to win favor among American consumers, while other countries have yet to make a dent on our car-buying radar. That could change more quickly than one might think, however, as a new study by GfK Automotive shows that younger car shoppers are willing to explore cars made in countries other than the ones previously mentioned.

According to GfK, only 38 percent of U.S. car shoppers are open to a Chinese brand. That figure drops to 30 percent for a vehicle from an Indian manufacturer. However, looking at younger consumers, 52 percent of Gen Y car shoppers say they would be willing to take a look at a Chinese automobile, and 41 percent would consider an Indian-made vehicle. Conversely, America's Baby Boomers are less likely to give a chance to vehicle made in India or China, with 22 and 29 percent (respectively) giving those countries a thumbs up.

Still, those are more promising figures for Chinese and Indian automakers than we might've expected. Built and priced correctly and given the right marketing, China and India could have a waiting group of shoppers ready to take a chance on a new face in America's car park. Click past the jump to read the full press release and let us know if you think you'd be ready to go Chinese or Indian in our poll below.


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New Automakers on The Block - Indian and Chinese Automakers Must Overcome Obstacles to Gain Market Share Among American Consumers

Only one-third of potential buyers open to Indian and Chinese manufacturers, compared to 95 percent for US manufacturers


NEW YORK, August 18, 2011 – As a wave of new models from Chinese and Indian auto manufacturers, including BYD, Mahindra and Tata, are poised to debut in the United States in the coming months, researchers from GfK Automotive found that significant barriers exist for these automakers to gain market share among American consumers.

GfK's Barometer of Automotive Awareness and Imagery Study found that Chinese and Indian automakers could face a similar purchase consideration curve to Korean vehicles when they launched in the US In that case, it took more than 15 years for consumers to significantly increase their consideration to purchase Korean vehicles.

GfK's study found that approximately one-third of consumers intending to purchase a vehicle are open to a Chinese (38 percent) or Indian (30 percent) manufacturer, compared to 95 percent of consumers open to purchasing from a US automaker.

"When a relatively unknown auto brand enters the market, potential buyers are going to have some initial scepticism without a frame of reference into the company's history and differentiators from other brands," said Don DeVeaux, managing director, GfK Automotive. "Quality and repair support are critical factors that potential buyers evaluate before purchasing a new vehicle, and without an established history in the United States, Chinese and Indian manufacturers need to overcome the lack of knowledge of their brands among potential new buyers."

The openness to purchasing a Chinese and Indian vehicle is highest among Gen Y consumers, with 52 percent saying they are open to a vehicle from a Chinese automaker and 41 percent saying they are open to a vehicle from an Indian automaker. Openness is lowest among baby boomers, 29 percent of whom said they would be open to purchasing from a Chinese manufacturer and 22 percent said they would purchase from an Indian automaker.

"For Indian and Chinese auto manufacturers to accelerate the adoption curve and build loyalty quicker than Korean automakers did, they must hit the ground running and communicate their story to potential buyers," said DeVeaux. "They need to make consumers comfortable with the brand and secure in their purchase decision by providing their proof points for quality, customer support and technology, as well as demonstrating their commitment to innovation."


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  • 166 Comments
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      I find many things funny about this survey. First of all, I find it rather comical that people draw the line at their cars as to whether they will buy from one country or another. Well what about the thousands of other items that they own? No Chinese car, but these same people have no problems with Chinese TVs, computers, jeans, tools and appliances. And I guess the argument could be made that its a "safety" issue, but Boeing has a huge amount of their work done in China. So a Chinese plane is safe enough, but a Chinese car isn't?? And I am not saying that I have ANY interest in a Chinese car, but the biggest reason for me is that I rather support the nation I live in and either buy American when realistically possible. Cars are some of the few things we still make in the US, so I would prefer to support American jobs (and US-build cars with a foreign name are for the most part, fine with me). But if Detroit can't get off their butts and build a car in a category that I want, then I guess I have no choice but to buy a foreign make. What is all comes down to is that its a complicated issue.
        hevace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        No problem with Chinese TV's computers, jeans, tools, appliances? Actually, I have had quite a number of problems with Chinese products. I might cheap out and buy other Chinese products, but I will never trust my kid's life to a Chinese car. They don't care about their own kids -- why should they care about mine?
        emperor koku
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        Spot on in all regards.
      David
      • 3 Years Ago
      Gen Y is pretty naïve about just about everything beyond their noses from what I've seen, so this is hardly surprising.
        4 String
        • 3 Years Ago
        @David
        I'm pretty sure the study is pretty inaccurate, anyway. I wonder what their sample size is. Anyway, these non-scientific "studies" are really an affront to the academic community! So don't go bashing Gen Y-ers lol! Blame the idiot researchers
      Adrian
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's not so much the Chinese manufacture of cars that scares me (many of our cars are made from mostly Chinese parts already). What scares me is any car that is engineered by the Chinese. Most of their technology comes from stolen American/Japanese/German/Korean designs of the past 10-30 years. They're almost completely incapable of coming up with any technology on their own, and I don't trust their copycat cars on the engineering side.
        iESmedia
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Adrian
        It's either they don't have the capabilities or they (like the other commentator) calculated that it may be cheaper to steal a design and face a lawsuit rather than hiring/developing new technologies on their own. Basically what happened with the bullet train in China (engineered by German & Japanese companies, China obtained the technology legally, but China claims that it improved it and are now trying to patent it globally, which in my opinion, is not right).
      Gubbins
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sorry, the Chinese have yet to prove to me that they can be fully trusted. They're past masters at shortcuts, poor quality control, adulteration, counterfeiting and environmental apathy. I avoid Chinese products like kryptonite when possible-
        4 String
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Gubbins
        Lol. Chinese American consumers avoid Chinese products like monks and the bubonic plague. They're just really awful. And to imagine trusting your life to a Chinese product wrapped around your body. Yeesh. (Not being Xenophobic! Just wondering what their progress is after buying---through their state---Volvo... You'd think they'd be getting their game right, but whatevs.) Meh. They're prolly gona reverse engineer everything and guffaw while doing it. I say boycott.
      4 String
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Half of America's young" that's pretty vague... seems like they researched four year olds high on lead fumes from their toys. I'm 19 and I say FK chinese/indian cars! QC/safety nightmare...
        • 3 Years Ago
        @4 String
        [blocked]
      Eric Munnings
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was just in India, the cars weren't that bad. At least, not for the price point they'd come in at. And we could finally have some small disels besides VW's
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Klinkster
      • 3 Years Ago
      This just goes to prove that America's Youth is Stupid...and soon to be Dead due to vehicle equipment failure.
      Sebastian Baba
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah, right.
      hevace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Go on to YouTube to see crash tests of Chinese cars -- that will tell you everything you need to know about their quality and safety.
        Krishan Mistry
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hevace
        The entire car, including the unfortunate test dummy, is a massive crumple zone. Relatively minor low speed crash=total anhilation.
      erhcanadian
      • 3 Years Ago
      A lot of people speak of patriotism, and then go to Walmart and buy everything else made in China. I don't see cars as being any different to the average non-enthusiast consumer.
      jephmercury
      • 3 Years Ago
      China and India is not Japan and South Korea. Their culture, dedication to craftsmanship and quality, dedication to customers, a sense of responsibility and honor in doing the business... etc. Contrary to popular belief, all Asian countries are not the same. Be aware
        • 3 Years Ago
        @jephmercury
        [blocked]
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