American automakers keep complaining about the allegedly closed Japanese market where just about nobody wants their big brutes since … the last world war. The Japanese market is full, it has too much local capacity, and it is getting smaller by the day. At the same time, Detroit does not seem to have its ear on the ground in a much bigger market close-by: China. Despite being in China in full strength, Detroit hasn’t capitalized on a huge trend in the Middle Kingdom: Pickups for urban cowboys. According to Chinacartimes, money is left on the table for Chinese who are ready to cash in.
Ford’s “Raptor has become the official toy of urban playboys across China, the 40,000USD truck regularly sells for north of 100,000USD in the PRC for those that wish to stand out from the crowd with a gigantic toy that burns gas faster than fireworks on Chinese New Years Eve,” CCT says.
Never mind that the Raptor officially should not be in China. As Ford’s Chinese site shows, the 4×4 is not in the Chinese program, nor is any pick-up. This does not keep it from being shipped to China by mostly West Coast dealer who make their numbers that way. Chinese duty rates that blatantly copied the American chicken tax, 17 percent VAT, an a retaliatory surcharge on big bore American imports can’t keep the Raptors from coming in.
Grey marketer are not the only ones to cash in. Relatively unknown Chinese truck maker ZX Auto has “given their new TUV a cool orange paint scheme along with some Ford F150 Raptor inspired decals on the rear end,” CCT reports. ZX is very quick to cash-in on a trend. When the Libyan Civil War broke out, Zhong Xing (ZX Auto in English) was there with several boatloads of cheap trucks, taking market share from the Toyota Hilux.