Which car would you rather buy:
- A $27,000 made-in-America commuter that gets 60 miles per gallon, or
- A $14,000 car that’s identical, but made in China
That’s a question the founders of ECO Motor Company had to address as they discussed bringing their three-wheeled commuter car to production.
ECO Motor Company began as a summer project between CEO David Joner and his son. Eventually design engineers from around the world were brought in and the innovative EMC3 Commuter was born.
Rated at 54 horsepower from its 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine, the rag-top convertible is officially classified as a motorcycle. In truth, though, it’s a car and built to automobile safety standards that include front airbags, dynamic side impact beams, and reinforced A and B pillars. ECO Motor Company is having crash testing performed on the EMC3 by the same laboratory used by big automakers and the NHTSA.
A base price of $13,995 will get you a manual transmission, convertible top, power windows and locks, air-conditioning, an AM/FM/MP3 player, and those precious front airbags.
I believe the EMC3 represents the kind of innovative thinking required for the auto industry to succeed. It is very basic transportation with a smart design that uses a regular gas engine and should deliver phenomenal mileage numbers while not compromising safety.
Quality is a natural concern, though… as ECO Motor Company has elected to have their car built in China by Geely, China’s largest privately held automaker. Even so, I think they made the right choice, as the pricetag is affordable, and the warranty is the same as if the car had been built in America: a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Production on the EMC3 has already started, with the first deliveries expected by May of this year.
So what do you think: Are you more apt to buy a $27,000 car made in America or an identical car made in China costing about half that?