Could China-built cars "Fit" American Honda's supply needs?

In the same Ward's Auto World article that saw American Honda's John Mendel nix the idea of a Honda full-size pickup, he also took some time to discuss the hot-selling Fit subcompact. Released in the US at the perfect time, the Fit and its gaudy fuel economy numbers have won over customers to the tune of 15,922 since its Spring launch, according to Ward's. Unfortunately, the demand for the hatchback is so high that Honda is looking at supply problems that are throttling back total sales.

Today, the US-spec Fits are all imported from Japan. Mendel suggested that if Honda were to try to increase US supply, a very real possibility would be the importation of Chinese-built Fits to the States. China already exports the car to Brazil, India, Russia, and Australia, and has even begun shipping some cars to Europe as well. According to Mendel, there would be no quality drop-off if China-built Fits made their way here, and he feels that customers would be indifferent towards the car's point of origin, especially when you consider the number of products we buy that are made in China anyway.

Our feeling is that if the cars are built to the same standard as the Japan-built models, where the they come from won't matter. Would some people shy away from the Fit if they knew they would be getting a Chinese model? Probably, but the majority of customers would never see past the "H" badge and happily plunk down a deposit on one.

Technically, this is all hypothetical, since Mendel told Ward's that no such plan is in the works at this time. The fact that he discussed it at all, however, indicates that the idea has been (and probably still is) discussed at length internally. If Honda -- or any other automaker, for that matter -- were to look to China to supply the US market, would that influence your purchasing decision? We'd like to hear your feedback.

[Source: Ward's Auto World]

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