shanghai GM.jpgWorkers
in western car plants fearful of the threatened invasion of Chinese
cars can sleep soundly for a few more years at least.

The New York Times does a typically thorough job of demolishing any hope that China might have to become a major car exporter this decade.

While
Chinese cars are inexpensive and approaching western levels of
reliability, Chinese carmakers have not yet brought the styling,
safety, emissions and performance of their vehicles up to the standards
that western consumers expect, says the 'paper. And when it comes to
marketing and brand strategies, Chinese firms have a lot to learn.

So
why is the western car industry so worried? China has conquered so many
other manufacturing sectors that it would be foolish to write them off
for long.

The big fear, of course, is that China could repeat the huge success that Japanese carmakers have had in the west.

But
the automotive industry has evolved a lot since Japanese cars first
started to appear on western roads. According to the NYT:

Japanese
and Korean automakers cracked the American car market by climbing up a
ladder of larger and costlier models. China, too, will start with low
prices. But the global market has become so integrated and competitive
that China will have to move much faster than past companies in
building manufacturing capability and technology.”

Earlier
this year ,Geely surprised the western car industry by displaying a car
at the Detroit auto show that it had designed by itself. Chery
Automobile announced that it, too, was planning to export a fully
Chinese-made car next year to the US.

Bu the two rival Chinese
firms keep pushing back their US launch dates and it seems unlikely
they will go on sale in the US before the next decade.

Indeed, some Chinese auto executives admit that it could be as late as 2020 before they will be ready to take on the world.

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