By on May 28, 2012

A (hecho en Mexico) Cadillac SRX costs between $67,700 and $91,000 once it’s sold in China. It doubles its price compared to the U.S. because of a monster tariff in China. Soon, there will be a more affordable version. A much, much, much more affordable version. Except that it won’t be from  GM.

The monster tariff was made in the U.S.A. The U.S. had enacted a hamfisted punitive tariff on Chinese tires. Not a single additional tire was produced in the U.S., instead tire production moved from China to Thailand. As a tit-for-tat, China slapped a retaliatory tariff on (mostly) American cars and trucks.

Now, the monster tariff helps sell Chinese trucks. A still nameless SUV will be sold by Chinese government-owned Dongfeng. It looks like a Cadillac SRX that had too hot a car wash and shrunk a bit. In China, it will go for between $12,600 and $18,900, says Carnewschina. It probably won’t take long until one can buy Cadillac SRX badges in China to do-up the Dongfeng.

Once you are on the inside, the trucklet will also look familiar. The inside looks like a last gen Kia Sorrento, Carnewschina says.

Dongfeng did not have to look far for inspiration and possibly tools and parts. The last-gen Kia Sorento is still made in China by a Dongfeng-Yueda-Kia joint venture.

To turn it even more into an international affair, the engine is suspected to be a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder from Nissan, Carnewschina says. This ubiquitous engine is can be found in many Nissan’s that are made by the Dongfeng-Liuzhou-Nissan joint venture. According to the usually well informed Carnewschina, “it is very unlikely that either Kia or Nissan know anything at all.”

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19 Comments on “Retaliatory Carmaking: Dongfeng Makes Ersatz Cadillac SRX. Thank You, Mr. President!...”


  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    Are we positive this isn’t just a last-gen Sorento? The hard points all match up perfectly. The interior isn’t just close, it’s a carbon copy, as is the profile, stance, hood/A-pillar/door match, side windows, doors, etc. Excepting the Cadillac-esque front end, this is the best Chinese copy I’ve ever seen – of the old Sorento.

    I’ve hand-washed enough rental Sorentos to know. Did Kia sell the tooling and then forget? Hell, the interior door handles, handbrake, HVAC vents and tilt steering lever look directly swappable. There’s even a blank plastic place-holder covering the area left of the steering wheel where the Sorento had a storage cubby.

    • 0 avatar
      Manic

      Right you are. They have just created some new body panels which certainly are “inspired by Cadillac” to my eyes. Oh, and newer design for steering wheel, too. Going to court will probably not help GM much.
      There will be moment in the future when China will design an original nice looking car. Would be great if half the world will start to copy it right away. Would Chinese be angry or proud?

  • avatar
    carbiz

    I’ve said this a hundred times: why are we dealing with China? Ever? Their contempt for contracts is legendary. They have written a sequel to the Japanese book on targeting foreign markets. Intellectual Property rights have no meaning inside the Middle Kingdom. They are getting 100 years of technology for pennies on the dollar, and in no time soon Chinese companies will be dumping barely disguised Western products as their own on these shores.
    Every Chinese made product that I have purchased I have regretted: My 30 year old made in Canada electric mixer has been replaced since 2001 by 3 Chinese made ones. My 5 year old Whirlpool (made in China) dishwasher has needed two minor repairs already.
    They have the gall to slap import duties on North American made products? Here’s an idea: put a 50% duty on all Chinese made appliances and electronics and see how fast the jobs repatriate.
    I’d gladly pay double for an appliance that will give me 10 years of trouble free use: you’ll end up paying it anyway, via repair costs.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Yep. When i decided to switch from gas to charcoal I did not buy another Weber (even though my gas one had given me 10 trouble free years), I instead bought a nice, made in China one. I also got a chinese smoker. Well the next season I got a Big Green Egg to replace the broken smoker and a nice webber kettle for burgers and stuff. Even at the eggs ridicoulous price if it gives me 3 seasons it will pay for itself over the chinese smoker. The Weber wasnt much more than the Chinese grill. Webers are made in Illinois, the egg in Mexico. Both will probably outlast me at this point. Hand tools are another sore point. If I can’t afford Blue Point I don’t need it. The crappy auto zone China specials only lead to frustration.

      Theyll never slap a big tarriff on Chinese stuff though…too many political contributors make a lot of cash selling the garbage.

      And as to your mixer, just get the damn Kitchen Aid. Not the Chinese made Kenmore that looks like a kitchen Aid. The gears are all metal, made in the USA, and it will outlast your kitchen. You can get Whirlpool stuff made in the USA too…just look.

      We actually still make a lot of stuff, but it tends to be higher end products. Skip the chinese stuff. Hell my Itallian made coffee makers last longer than that crap.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        There are whole categories of goods where there are no available options other than second-hand stores to buy quality goods in the U.S.

        Small kitchen appliances and clock radios are good examples. Even if you buy an upscale brand at five or six times what one costs at Walmart or Target, you’re still buying something of who-knows what quality made in China.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      America ignored European industrial patents left and right during the Industrial Revolution. So we don’t really have a right to criticize as our industrial base was also built by a group of intellectual property pirates.

      • 0 avatar
        daveainchina

        while that was wrong the sheer volume of trade between europe and the US at the time comes nowhere near the volume of imported items from China.

        Also very few of those items that were ignored then were made in the USA and then sold in Europe for ridiculously low prices and resulted in huge loss of manufacturing jobs in Europe.

        So while your soundbyte answer is nice, it fails to mention the entire picture and gives a distorted view of what happened.

        I talk to people here(in china for those who doing understand my name) all the time who own companies that used to make things in the USA, they all say the same thing, they just can’t compete so rather than lose their business. They move their manufacturing here.

        There are lots of reasons for this, but the end result of all of this has been a drastic increase of working poor in the USA and further increase in the disparities of wealth. Is there one thing that we can blame? Not really, but we can see the result, hopefully something soon will change in the USA.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        @Daveainchina- I’ve heard my father rant plenty of times about NAFTA and how it nearly killed American industry (is there much left?). He seems to think that manufacturing will come back to our shores one day. I’m not sure why but I suspect that rising shipping costs will be the catalyst to force such a change. That and currency exchange rates, etc.

        I’m not a financial expert but I do hope that SOME manufacturing will come back. Americans need jobs and most of us are sick of buying cheap Chinese shit that doesn’t last.

        I have nothing against the Chinese people but their government stinks to high hell.

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        Luckily,we’ve seen the error of our ways in that regard. That’s why you can now buy Parmesean cheese and know that it is genuine cheese produced in Parma, and Sparkling wine is not sold as Champagne unless it’s from the Champage region ofnFrance and produced under the perview of the proper authorities in those PDO regions. You’d never find Swiss cheese on the shelves made in New Jersey, right?

  • avatar
    areader

    “why are we dealing with China?”

    Because US companies have and are making a killing in the process. Many just move their manufacturing over there and pay MUCH lower Chinese wages and get SOMEWHAT lower US prices. The manufacturing that remains here is done by beaten down US workers at lower wages. Grab the profits now and deal with the consequences later.

    A plant near me just got a $2M tax abatement so they could upgrade their equipment with “plans” to hire 10 workers sometime in the future. These workers make about $9 an hour. This kind of crap is in the local paper once a month or so.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The Chinese already have a track record of copying European and Japanese designs.

    http://autos.sympatico.ca/shanghai-autoshow-2011/8706/auto-shanghai-2011-chinese-copy-cats

    http://news.drive.com.au/photogallery/drive/chinese-copycat-cars-20100422-teui.html

    http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2011/09/oh-chinayema-auto-presents-clones-of.html

    Tariff or no tariff, it would be happening, anyway. Claiming that this is merely retaliatory is completely disingenuous.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      +! on the debunking the claim that this is somehow retaliation for the tire tariff.

      Can you spell “knee-jerk anti-Americanism”?

      • 0 avatar
        daveainchina

        My understanding was that the Chicken Feet tariff was the retaliation for the tire tariff. As far as I know American imported vehicles always had a huge mark-up that existed long before the tire tariff.

  • avatar
    Terry

    “Hand tools are another sore point. If I can’t afford Blue Point I don’t need it.”
    What makes you think Blue-Point hand tools arent made in China?
    Snap-on hand tools, yes. Blue point? Not a chance.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      All the Blue Point stuff I own is made in the USA. Ill keep my eyes open in the future. I know a lot of Craftsman is imported now, but much is still made in the USA. But I have gotten Blue Point very recently that is all stamped “made in the USA”

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    The headlights aren’t even a close copy – they look like an exact match. Wouldn’t surprise me if GM or Delphi or whoever the hell makes GM’s plastic parts nowadays sources the originals from somewhere in China, in which case, Dongfeng might be buying the real deal.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    And Mr. President thanks you for the continued coverage of GM in non-GM related articles. I have to say you are quite creative in the many ways you do it.

    I miss your earlier work when you were speaking about your experiences and how, in your estimation, the industry works. I have to say I am not a fan of your constant GM bashing. It cheapens the site overall.

  • avatar
    Commando

    GM is not being picked on.
    Look at what GM has done, is doing, and plan to do.
    Their corporate culture inbreeding has been going on for so long and is entrenched so deeply, even the cockroach has evolved more pogessively.


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