I like Chinese cars.
Not because I believe they are especially well designed or engineered to exceptional tolerances, but because I think it’s fun to browse through images and see how often they blatantly rip-off international car designs.
There’s a Lifan that looks like a Lexus, a Hawtai that looks like a Hyundai, a Shenboa that looks like a Saab and so many more. Everything from the design of the F-150 to the MINI Cooper has been shamelessly copied by a Chinese automaker for sale in its home market.
Now there are signs that China is getting ready to export West.
There have been rumors for years that Chinese automobiles would be sold in the U.S. market, but it’s never happened. The cars either aren’t up to Western standards, lack safety features or simply are excluded because of tariffs. The New York Times posted an interesting story hinting that Chinese cars are closer than ever.
Chinese automakers are starting to ask some of the largest Western auto parts companies to supply parts that meet American and European regulatory standards, according to senior executives at the parts companies.
That’s a pretty huge sign. Here’s another one, from the same article,
In another sign of shifting policy, a senior Chinese Commerce Ministry official said at an auto industry conference here on Thursday that Chinese automakers should prepare for the lowering of steep tariffs on imported cars.
We may soon have a new choice in foreign automakers on these shores. It’s always been inevitable that Chinese cars would be available here—the only questions now are when, what and how. When will they arrive, what will they look like, and how much will they cost?
Hyundai and Kia entered this market to ridicule, only to slowly overcome it and become major players here.
Can Chinese carmakers do in the U.S. what Hyundai has done here?