We've heard for years that Chinese automakers hoped one day to export their wares to the United States. Ironically, the global economic slowdown could be what gives the Chinese incentive to finally make it happen.

Chinese automakers ramped up production capacity to meet surging demand at home only to see the local economic conditions slow from 30 percent growth in 2010 to just 2.5 percent in 2011. On top of that, the Chinese auto marketplace has now become crowded with foreign and domestic competitors.

"The rapid growth phase of China's auto market is coming to an end, and we see exports as one possible outlet for all the capacity we have built up," Xing Wenlin, Great Wall Motor vice president in charge of overseas markets, tells Reuters. Great Wall's Phenom concept (pictured above) was shown a few years ago as a possible export model.

While most Chinese-made cars aren't up to American quality expectations, developing automotive markets like Egypt, Ukraine, Brazil and Indonesia are clamoring for cheap, reliable transportation. Chinese automaker Chery said earlier this year it would be selling cars in Europe by 2015.

Geely's purchase of Volvo in 2010 has boosted the Chinese company's automotive technology expertise and could help it achieve its goal of doubling exports to 70,000 units this year. While the U.S. is still out of reach for most Chinese automakers, Geely may begin selling a Chinese-made car in the UK by the end of this year. If successful there, a logical next market would be North America.


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  • 67 Comments
      Greg
      • 3 Years Ago
      i guess they didn't see the Top Gear film none of the Chinese cars meet Europe of US emission standards and have 3 speed automatic transmissions 4 speeds are old so what is a 3?
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Greg
        Yeah, and? You are saying that they won't improve, or that there won't be people that will give them a shot if the prices are low enough? Realistically speaking, I don't see the Chinese entering the US market directly (not any time soon, that is). Instead, they will enter the US indirectly by making transmissions and engines or electronics or body panels for the established car makers out there already. I believe the 1st-gen Equinox used a Chinese-built transmission, and GM is not alone in this, not by a long shot. The name on your hood will be Honda or VW or Ford, but more and more of the parts will have Chinese origins.
          Carlos Cruz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          and that is why I buy vehicles built by people who have OCD. My VW was built in Wolfsburg and has no chinese parts. Even my radio is built in Germany. If I weren't buying American I'd buy a Hyundai that is built in Korea or a GM/Ford/Chrysler that is built in the US or Canada. Toyota and Honda has been outsourcing some work to China so I cant be sure of their supply of parts.
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Geely's purchase of Volvo in 2010 has boosted the Chinese company's automotive technology expertise" And that right there is what many of us were afraid of. The Chinese are essentially buying themselves legitimacy and leap-frogging decades of R&D by simply purchasing the remains of some of these former carmakers. This is why GM has been so against SAAB getting bought up by the Chinese... rather see them die than fall into the wrong hands. And all this doesn't include the partnerships that the Chinese government is forcing foreign carmakers to make with local car companies. We ("Western" carmakers from the US, Europe and Japan), have been essentially training the very companies that will be their fiercest competitors in the decades to come.
      Camaroman101
      • 3 Years Ago
      no thanks
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 3 Years Ago
      This pretty much seems akin to me saying 'I hope I win the lottery.' Stop building such crappy, hideous, blatant ripoff vehicles then, geniuses......
      Dan
      • 3 Years Ago
      The only way that a Chinese manufacturer is going to survive in the United States is if they bring over a vehicle with very good performance, great looks (which that Phenom concept just does not have), a high level of standard features, and a price tag that undercuts the current selection by at least 30%. But even then they will probably only sell about 100K a year, because even if they manage to pass all the US regulations for cars, very people will actually trust a Chinese car.
      imoore
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, the first strikes have already been made: 1. Coda EV (Chinese-built body with electric drivetrain installed in California) 2. BYD And who's next? By my guess, Great Wall, Foton (who's already scouting locations in Mexico to build it's mid-size Tunland pickup), and SAIC, who's betting the farm on the MG6 and Maxus vans. Granted, they won't be big sellers among those who know a bad deal when they see one, but they'll be popular to those who are looking to buy a cheap new car. This is beginning to look too much like the '90's and early 2000's, when if you wanted to buy a new car at used car prices and risk being victimized by the shady promises of "0 Down/0 interest/12-months no payment" deals, you could walk right up to the dealership, sign the papers and drive away. This is likely the segment the Chinese brands will shoot for to gain a foothold in the market. The question is, would they be able to pull a feat like Hyundai and Kia and build quality products for the money?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @imoore
        [blocked]
        HyperMiler
        • 3 Years Ago
        @imoore
        @ imoore Both Coda and BYD failed in the US. > The question is, would they be able to pull a feat like Hyundai and Kia and build quality products for the money? No. The culture of quality doesn't exist in China.
          imoore
          • 3 Years Ago
          @HyperMiler
          Coda just went on sale recently. BYD is expected to officially start sales later this year. Please explain how they have already failed, aside from uninspired styling. You did, however, provide the correct answer to my question. Unless they can pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, none of the Chinese brands can expect to get away with dumping cars in the US like they do in third-world countries in Africa and Asia, where people will buy anything if it's got an engine and four wheels.
      tarambukcho
      • 3 Years Ago
      In other news, GreatWall have revently opened a new factory in Bulgaria, where they assemble Vollex and Steed models. So now they have cars which bear the "Made in EU" stamp http://www.greatwall.bg/
      brian
      • 3 Years Ago
      The grille on that car reminds me of a bad joke: Eye Doctor to Chinese Patient: You have a Cataract Patient: I no have Cataract, I dlive Rincon Continental.
        Shiftright
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brian
        It's like a Yaris with a Conti grille
        • 3 Years Ago
        @brian
        [blocked]
      k_m94
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chinese cars, choose from the following: 1)Ripoff design, evades copyrights somehow 2)10+ year outdated running gear 3)Absolutely fugly (possibly due to point 1 being poorly executed) 4)Deathtrap on wheels 5)Utter Garbage (if not copied from another car, usually)
        • 3 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        [blocked]
          k_m94
          • 3 Years Ago
          From 5 years ago. They are acceptable nowadays. I reckon Chinese makers would get to Hyundai's level in about 30 more years.
          Carlos Cruz
          • 3 Years Ago
          -Shawn I drive a VW, but I've driven a essentially every major brand either through rental or other people. Late model (less than 5 years) Hyundai are just as good as other makers. Some are even better. We're not talking about Hyundai's and Kia's from 1986, since the US made sedans that were just as crappy back then. btw.... what constitutes the "right choice" in your book?
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        rocketmoose
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yeah, that disgusting company Hyundai! How dare they employ US workers in US factories for cars sold in the US, while paying US taxes!
          HyperMiler
          • 3 Years Ago
          @rocketmoose
          @ rocketmoose Employing southern rednecks in the US is cheaper than employing militant Korean workers who make $90K a year. The US is a low cost country among developed world, believe or not.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @rocketmoose
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @rocketmoose
          [blocked]
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Steve
        • 3 Years Ago
        I met a guy in China that worked at Chery. He bought a Chery and picked it up as it was leaving the line. He said that it was a "lemon"..... A lemon because that was the first Chery he has ever seen that did not have quality problems with it! There were no problems with it, he said that never happens...
          imoore
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Steve
          Did he mention that he personally worked on that car while it was on the line so that it was guaranteed to be correct when he picked it up? I would have done the same thing.
        Famsert
        • 3 Years Ago
        How many have you driven?
      Burabus
      • 3 Years Ago
      To be honest that's a pretty good looking hatch.
        imoore
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Burabus
        Can I send you the name of a good eye doctor?
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