It used to be that joint ventures with Chinese manufacturers were strictly for Chinese consumption. The Chinese would like nothing more than to expand to other markets with their foreign branded products. Strict joint venture contracts typically forbid just that. Sure, sometimes there are some small scale exportation tests. But usually, what is made in China, stays in China. Contracts can be changed or amended. More and more Chinese automakers seek to expand their relationship with joint venturers beyond China’s borders.
The move was started by GM that allowed China’s SAIC to ride into India on GM’s coat tails.
Now Ford’s Chinese partner Changan wants to do something similar. When Reuters asked whether Changan is planning to go to other markets with Ford, Zhang Baolin, president of Chongqing Changan said: “We are having discussions with each other on that. We are doing some studies currently.” Changan is strong in China’s mini vehicle segment, where Ford is weak. These cars are essential in opening emerging markets.
Other foreign automakers, including PSA, are also looking to expand their ties with their Chinese partners beyond China. PSA is thinking of exporting cars made at its manufacturing venture with Dongfeng to the rest of Asia and possibly Russia as early as next year, its Asia chief Gregoire Olivier said.
This might be the answer to China’s car export troubles: Export cars that don’t look like they have been made in China.