As previously reported by ABG, Chinese firms now have the industrial confidence to bring their products to our shores. They want more dollars instead of their money - yuan.
I attended a meeting this week in New York (and got out of midtown about 2 hours before the steam pipe explosion). What I heard was explosive in its own way - CHAMCO (Chinese American Cooperative Automotive, Inc) intends to start selling Chinese made-SUVs and pick-ups in the US around mid-2008. CEO Bill Pollack gave an animated and fact-filled presentation about how these vehicles, currently sold in 52 countries, are being prepped for US introduction. These are not hybrids or EVs. They are current style big vehicles with body on chassis design. Bob stressed that QUALITY has to be apparent in the vehicle from day 1 and, as CEO, the steps are being taken to provide both the vehicles and the dealers with Quality - meaning excellent design and build quality, a full featured warranty and spare parts support program, a select group of dealers (only 150 in the US at first) and proven parts made by proven 2nd and 3rd tier suppliers.
The vehicles will be made in Baoding, China not too far from Beijing. A second plant is under construction with the intent to eventually introduce a Chinese made sedan and hybrid in the 2010-12 time frame. Bob did not release dimensions or weights but he did release the target price for the SUV: $13,500 MSRP. This in a way is problematic to ABG. It allows Americans to buy a big vehicle for a low price which means they will have money left over to buy more fuel. On the other hand, we can all admit there are people that really do need an SUV for their family/business needs and these Chinese vehicles may be the way to get the job done until hybrid versions come along.
There is another point here: the US has been the home of mass production and industrial leadership since World War 2. Our claims to fame were our steel and automobile factories and our engine and airframe industries. Now we are in an era of globalization which means those who can do it best and cheapest somewhere in the world will do it. Let's face it , the US auto industry build cars here for the North American market. They don't sell too many US-sized vehicles elsewhere in the world. Meanwhile, Europe and Asia build cars for the US market. Now so does China. Welcome to the party. Everybody play - compete - nice.