Dublin Saab

Cars, politics, sports and what not from my view. (Closed Sundays and Holidays)

Monday, December 12, 2005

China coming to Detroit.

Well, looks like Geely is going to try and be the first to draw blood in the US market. Geely has sent four cars to be tested for approval by the federal government and will be the first Chinese manufacturer to display their wares at the upcoming 2006 NAIAS in Detroit.

The article claims that the cars to be on display will be all new models but the web site for China Motors claims to be pushing for the Solo to be first. Since we don’t know anything about the mystery models let’s concentrate on what the Solo has to offer the American consumer.
Image brightness enhanced so that you can get a good look in the wheel wells where there is nothing protecting the painted metal inner fender. Can you say rust bucket?

The starting price is expected to be $6,995, which when adjusted for inflation is only marginally more than the Yugo when it was introduced 20 years ago. The Solo offers a 1.35 liter inline four cylinder engine that produces 85 horsepower (81 ft/lb of torque), scoots from 0 to 60 in a scant 14 seconds with a top speed of 95 mph. Styling would best be described as disjointed.

Things to keep in mind: The communist Chinese government has no regard for the environment and requires no emissions on CDM (Chinese Domestic Market) cars so God only knows how much of a slow poke the Solo would be here in the US. Also, the communist Chinese government has no regard for human life and as such has no crash worthiness standards for CDM cars.
Classic Chinese car styling. Which is to say an early 80's Honda body, Volvo headlights and a Mercedes grill.

This summer the Jiangling Landwind, an Isuzu Rodeo knockoff, was tested in Europe. It performed so badly that not only would a human have died in the 30 mph offset test but the crash test dummy used in the test was also destroyed. The European rating system runs from 1 to 5 stars, they gave the truck 0 and told them without a redesign and retest it couldn’t be sold in the EU Market.

But assuming that Geely can get is cars USDOT approval we are less that five years away from Chinese cars being sold in the US. Some feel that this will be the final straw that kills GM and Ford. Buggrit!

This is, I feel, a racist assessment of the automotive industry. It comes from a thought process that runs from A) Those Nippers make good care to B) and those yellow Koreans make good cars, therefore C) the slanty-eye Chinese will make good cars. It simply lumps all Asian counties into one pot and makes assumptions from there. However, go tell some Korean guy there’s no difference between him and a Japanese or Chinese guy and see what happens. On second thought, don’t, just take my word for it that they are very different peoples and nations. Germany is very close to where Yugos were made and they still managed to be turds.
Nice interior though, for an '89 Camry. And just what in the hell are the power window buttons doing in front of and below the driver's seat cushion?!

Japan and Korea are countries that respect civil liberties, have dynamic free market economies and representative governments. China is a country with no civil liberties, a nominal free market masking a top-down core and a totalitarian oligarchy. Japan and Korea were known for lower cost high quality goods and willingness to innovate before they started plying cars in the US. China is known for cheap junk and a willingness to perform blatant copyright infringement on everything from music to rocket propulsion. Japan and Korea learned from the older manufacturing models in Europe and the US to create more efficient business practices that lead to reduced cost. China uses teaming masses of very low pay workers to build things as cheaply as possible. After all, why buy million dollar robots and hire highly paid process engineers when you can just get poor illiterate peasants to work for $5 a day. China has just too many internal hurdles to overcome before they can complete in the open market with the likes of Toyota, VW, GM and the rest.

In the end while some fear that Chinese cars will soon spell doom for US makers I myself fear being late for work due to a stalled Geely in the intersection.


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