December 14, 2017

If you’ve been following news of the auto industry, you’ve likely heard about how China’s auto industry has been growing exponentially in the last few years. That said, they’ve still shown more potential than actual progress… until now.

In a recent interview, an executive of Volvo claimed that the company plans to begin exporting Chinese-made cars to the United States as early as next year. Volvo is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, a company that ranks highly among China’s leading car makers.

Chery also ranks among the makers, having expressed intentions of penetrating US auto markets since 2005, when it announced that it had teamed up with Malcolm Bricklin’s Visionary Vehicles to begin importing and selling 250,000 mainland-made sport utilities vehicles, sedans, and sports coupes in the US by 2007.

Industry observers believed that their public intentions were “audacious, gutsy, and maybe a little nutty,” especially since Cheryl had only sold 80,000 vehicles in China the previous year. The company meant virtually nothing to US consumers at the time, plus Chery’s cars weren’t up to snuff in terms of emissions, safety and quality requirements put in place by the US government and expected by US consumers.

Cheryl’s partner wasn’t much less of a long-shot. Bricklin gained media attention and brand recognition in the 1960’s when he and a partner formed Subaru of America Inc., initiating his goal to sell Japanese made cars to US consumers. Subarus are alive and well in America and have definitely accrued a base of loyal customers, but Bricklin’s later efforts were not as successful. He attempted to create a manufactu
ring company that produced the Bricklin SV-1, a company that imported Yugo’s, a notoriously bad car from Yugoslavia, and a company that made electric bicycles. All of these efforts ended in heavily news-covered failure.

The Yugo fiasco especially resonated with this more recent story, so auto industry analysts cannot help but wonder if this attempt to import a long-shot Chinese auto manufacturer won’t end in the same catastrophic economic failure.

Since Chery’s announcement, its attempt to export to the US has ended in complete failure as expected. The company wasn’t even able to succeed in its homeland markets, as Chinese sales dropped by 12 percent in 2012. Even 2014’s 10 percent overall industry growth wasn’t enough to move Chery into a comfortable economic position, and its sales still dropped by a round 9 percent. Now however, Volvo is going to try its hand at the balancing act of exporting Chinese  cars to US markets. Volvo is based in Sweden, but has always posited global expansion as one of its key aspirations. Its been wholly owned by the Chinese carmaker Geely since 2010, al
lowing for it to have a “second home market” in the rapidly industrializing nation.

The groundbreaking car? The s60L, a Chinese market special versions act adds genius heaps of chrome trim and over thee inches of rear legroom to the midsize sedan. This rear legroom is especially valuable in China, where more people ride in the backseat than in any other car market, but Americans appreciate it too.

Motor Vehicle

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