By on January 23, 2014

2015-Honda-Fit

With the introduction of the 2015 Honda Fit, the era of the Chinese car is coming to an end in North America. According to Honda Canada, all 2015 Honda Fits for both the United States and Canada will be sourced from Honda’s new plant in Mexico. That means an end to the importation of the Fit from Honda’s plant in China. Who knows what the next one will be for Canada (and the first one for the United States). Any guesses?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

49 Comments on “The Chinese Car Era Comes To An End In North America...”


  • avatar
    mjz

    Let’s hope the new one does better in crash testing, the old one was absolutely frightening to watch, as were most of the other minis.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    As discussed in a previous thread, I think the Chinese have missed the window for producing cars for North America as they are no longer the cheapest place to build cars for the North American market – and most people won’t pay any premium for a “Made in China” product.

    Chinese labour costs are now comparable to (if not slightly higher than) Mexico, shipping costs are much lower from Mexico, and Mexico is part of NAFTA.

    If China was going to enter the North American market in a big way, the time to do it was 10 – 12 years ago, not now.

    I suspect the only reason Honda sent Chinese made Fits to Canada was because they had excess capacity in a Chinese plant.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I hope more manufacturers will follow suit with Ford and Mazda and move production to Northern Mexico, specifically for production for the US.

      Not only will this keep more Mexicans home instead of over here, but it also minimizes that pesky recurring UAW problem of trying to unionize extremely well managed auto manufacturers.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Here we go. I am not a Union guy by any means, but your strategy also seems to minimize that pesky American middle class that you haven’t quite managed to kill off yet. Anyway, your trolling worked.

      • 0 avatar
        c6steve

        Are you kidding me ? I am a union worker for GM in Lansing Michigan…. You ought to walk in my shoes for 30 days my friend…you will have a different view of the union. Extremely well managed…lol. Our union is there to try and get the company to abide by their own rules. No joke.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          If the union is anything like the UPS hub in Raleigh NC, and your a comparable union chap.
          Yea well no s**t your going to Stand up for your gravy train. But if a supervisor tries to help his workers, and someone tells on him, wells he’s going to get writ up for taking work away from the workers.

          No sympathy, there’s a defined correlation, the people that are in the union are the worst employees, lazy, without care for their jobs, and always wanting to create problems.
          But if you ask them, they and the union are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

          Been there seen it, only reason such a mismanaged company is able to survive this long is because they just happen to have exponential growth from the Internet and amazon.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @c6steve…. Good luck trying to explain that to this crowd. Some of the most vocal here wouldn’t last 30 minutes in your shoes.

          Hang in there brother. Believe me there is light at the end of the tunnel

          In solidarity

          Mikey ..17 years GM Oshawa assembly, 19 years Oshawa Metal..now retired.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            There will always be people who believe that union is the way to go. And I’m cool with that.

            Employees should decide for themselves if they want to unionize or not.

            But we can’t blame employers for wanting to eliminate one of the hassles of setting up shop in America.

            I grew up in a union household where both my dad and mom were members of a (different) union and I can honestly say that they were much happier people when they changed jobs and went to work in a non-union environment. Got to keep more of their own money, too!

            Besides, with all the government regulations and mandates placed on employers these days, what exactly does a union have to offer the employees except the paying of dues?

          • 0 avatar
            c6steve

            Thanx Mikey….15 in 15 to go….I see there are a bunch of union bashers here. I know that….come do what me and Mikey do for a week. No need for a union ??? Do you believe we have the benefits and good pay out of the goodness of the companies heart. We have negotiated for and fought for everything we have. …..the UAW gave back so much in concessions to help GM out of their troubles during bankruptcy . And yet we still get shit on by being lazy and overpaid and not caring about anyone but our selves….it couldn’t be further from the truth. Gravy Train ???? I’ve just had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands…my shoulder is going out. This job is not for the weak but we never ever hear anything but shit from people who have never been there themselves. Oh did I say…haven’t had a raise in my base pay for 7 yrs. gravy train ???? I don’t think so.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @ hdc…let me get my calculator out. If add up what I paid in union dues, then I compared it to what I received in wages and benefits….?

            Well, I don’t think I’m going to need my calculator.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            mikey, and we all know what that led to in your former employer’s case. But there is no need to revisit that.

          • 0 avatar
            Hillman

            Never understood the hatred for the unions. I would take a UAW of CAW car any day of the week over a car assembled in Mexico or China. The unions are only in places because the workers think they are better off with the union card.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            hdc..No! I’m not saying that the CAW/UAW is without blame for the mess in 2007-2009.

            We didn’t design the cars. We didn’t starve the suppliers. We didn’t ignore the competition. We didn’t allow the dealer network to pi$$ off every customer that walked in the door.

            GM raked in obscene profits of every configuration of gas drinking trucks you can think of. Was it the unions fault that GM didn’t have a competitive small car in the pipeline, when gas hit 4.50 a gallon?

            Did the union take ALL those truck profits?

            No! GM management shoved in their greedy,incompetent, pockets.

            The union just made sure that us folks, at the bottom took our fair share.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Mikey didn’t run the assembly lines. He and his coworkers built what they were told to build.

            GM management chose to build a lot of lousy cars that were primarily suited for rental duty. Had management designed and engineered better vehicles and provided better parts, there would have been no bankruptcy.

            Blaming Mikey for GM’s fortunes is like blaming the girl at the McDonald’s counter for the lousy food. Individual line workers have virtually no effect on product quality, and they play no role in design.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            mikey, it’s like I wrote earlier. It is up to the employees to decide for themselves if they want to unionize, or not.

            I find it gratifying that so many employees, given the choice, choose not to. My guess is that they would prefer to keep their job rather than being collectively bargained out of a job, like so many UAW dudes and dudettes were.

            Amazon was an employer just right for the picking and yet the unionization effort there lost out. Ditto with Toyota, the largest automaker on the planet. You know that one is/was/always will be a target!

            There was a place for unions, a long long time ago, in an America far different from today. Probably Canada, too.

            I’d love to extol on why I believe that unions TODAY are a bad thing in view of all the government regulations and mandates protecting employee rights, but I have a very early morning tomorrow.

            Renovating and upgrading two of our recently vacated rental townhouses and it is kicking the sh!t out of me.

            Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go, right now! Good night.

          • 0 avatar
            c6steve

            HD cat …I’m sure Mikey and I also would like to extol on why we think Unions matter more today than ever. So collectively we do have a voice. And the largest car company on the planet has had that title the last 3 yrs ???? GM had it the previous 75 yrs. and almost took it back this year. But being the biggest doesn’t mean squat if your not the best. I would dare to say that where the people have a choice…they opt not to because they are afraid of repercussions from the employer if they vote the union in. I’m not gonna change your mind nor will you mine. I’m leaving the thread. Nice to meet you Mikey my Brother in Solidarity forever .

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      Its also an issue with FTA (Free Trade Agreements), Mexico has been very aggressive with signing FTA.

      Mexican cars can be sold in North America, Japan, Europe, and many parts of central and S. America tariff free. When the TPP passes Mexico would also be able to export to most of SE Asia and Australia tariff free as well.

      What has become a Asian car manufacturing juggernaut is Thailand, as its also a source of cheap labor and has a ton of FTAs signed (and is part of the TPP). Thailand is now Asia’s automotive export hub.

      At this point, its very unlikely China will be able to become a major automotive exporter without buying or building more car brands. Chinese wages are rising, Chinese workers are striking, and there is a real risk of a housing bubble crash in that economy.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        The free-trade Maquiladoras on the Mexican side of the border do a booming business making use of that FTA.

        One huge benefit of the FTA is for me to go South of the border and bring back tax-free into the US all sorts of construction materials and ceramic tile at a fraction of the cost of what it would cost me in the US.

        And the PEMEX gasoline burns just as good in my truck as the gasoline I buy in America since it comes from the same refinery in El Paso, TX, but costs roughly 1/3 of what it costs in the US.

        Love NAFTA!

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Problem is Thailand is in political upheaval at the moment and Toyota is one Company that would like to leave

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      China production has suddenly slumped , as I expected. Chinese cars are being built for Chinese, not a global audience. China like India needs to produce cheap cars for people who are “moving up” in both countries.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Volvo.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Honestly, I had no idea the Fit was a Chinese-produced car… was it different in any way from a Japanese Penalty Box produced anywhere else?

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    My Fit was made in Suzuku, Japan. But Honda seems to be pretty good about maintaining quality standards in foreign plants, based on their Marysville, OH Accords,, so maybe the Mexican ones’ll be OK.

    • 0 avatar
      lon888

      My last Civic, a 2005 Civic Si, was British-built and I had absolutely no problems with it for the 6 years of ownership. Even in the UK, Honda produces some very well-built reliable cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Sceptic

      The quality comparisons between Japan and American built Accords goes back to the 80s. In the 80s Consumer Reports compared US vs Japan build Accords and found no difference in reliability or execution.

      From personal experience buying 2002 Accord EX on the East Coast, dealers had US and Japan built identical EX 4cyl configuration side by side on their lots. Looking at them Japan built vehicles were surgically clean – same cheap plastic, mouse fur etc. but impeccable assembly. US built just a tiny bit looser, like some wires not aligned in engine compartment, some sticky tape visible in engine bay.

      Went with dealer that had no Japan built vehicles in stock to save $400(Love Japan built but money talks). That Ohio built Accord is still on the road and has been impeccable.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Good effing riddance.

  • avatar
    HiHat

    Apparently there seems to be a bit of a rusting problem on the front crash bar of the Chinese made Fits. Some conjecture that it might be due to the quality of the pre-plated steel or the application of the primer.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Fit is Go!
    Fit is Chinese Checkers!
    Fit is…Risk? Musical Chairs? Monopoly?

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I am guessing it will be a General Motors product, luikely badged as a Buick or Cadallic.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Once GM gets the new Shanghai Cadillac plant up to speed maybe we can have some Chinese Cadillacs.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I wouldn’t bet on it. The former EIC here was always betting (praying?) that GM would be the first to bring a car over from China to North America. He sure didn’t have much to say when Honda did it instead.

      Economically, it makes little sense to bring over commodity grade cars from China; NAFTA pretty much ensures it. Even then, I would think shipping entry lux or higher level cars would take a huge chunk out of the profitability of the car. It sounds like Geely/Volvo may try, but that is a higher class of car than a Honda Fit or some Buicks, even. Not that the Chinese can’t make anything anyone else can, they certainly are capable. But I think economics has turned the tide.

      Like someone else in the strings said, the time for the Chinese car invasion was several years ago.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Mixed feelings about this. My personal feeling is that company culture matters more than national culture, but was following some threads in another forum about premature rust spots in the door frames of Chinese made Fits (the refreshed versions, not the Japan-made ones). sure that there will be teething troubles wherever you start up a production facility.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    “…premature rust spots in the door frames of Chinese made Fits”

    Confirmation bias being what it is, something like this will do more damage to the reputation of a Chinese built Honda than it would be to the reputation of a Japanese built Honda.

    “sure that there will be teething troubles wherever you start up a production facility”

    That’s often true, but it won’t help the Chinese plants get a toehold here – especially now that Detroit and Korea have addressed their quality problems, so all mainstream cars currently sold in North America are at least reasonable quality and consumers now have high expectations for the quality of new cars.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    There may be nationalism and political issues at work here.

    After the vandalism that was inflicted on Japanese business during last year’s island dispute (a dispute which is still simmering), don’t you think that Japanese executives have had second thoughts about doing business in China?

    In addition, if I remember correctly, the very first government tolerated labor strike in China was at a Honda transmission plant.

    Make no mistake, I don’t think Japanese companies will pull out from China. It is too big of a market. But they may re-think its export strategy from there.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Not too surprising as Mexico is more cost effective than China when it comes to building vehicles for the western hemisphere. This definitely presents a challenge to Chinese manufacturers who want to sell their wares in the US.

    They don’t have a cost advantage in assembling and bringing the vehicle to market, and have major quality perception (and reality) problems to overcome.

  • avatar
    CompWizrd

    My Canadian ’10 Fit was built in Japan. Quite a few differences from the US Fit’s though.

    With them both back in the same building, any bets as to how much equipment/options they’ll remove for the Canadian versions?

  • avatar
    Atum

    One question: What’s the first digit of the VIN for a Chinese vehicle? Canadians are stupid and don’t post the VINs of vehicles, which deceives people. Why don’t they, but every dealer in America does? I asked this on ask.com and never got an answer. You all are car guys. Please answer.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ Atum I’d be one of those “stupid” Canadians. Why don’t you just “google” your question…just sayin.

  • avatar
    motormouth

    I was going to say Qoros. Got five stars in the EuroNCAP crash tests. Unbelievable.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I don’t know why that’s so unbelievable.

      The Qoros was designed elsewhere (I believe Israel) and is assembled in China. Like I mentioned earlier, the Chinese can assemble anything to a certain price point.

      The engineering can be done anywhere and the assembly somewhere inexpensive.

      I’m sure that when Qoros incorporated (2007), it was when China was a cheaper place to assemble. But if I were to do the same thing now, I would definitely assemble in Mexico, because of all of its FTA’s.

      • 0 avatar
        motormouth

        I was being facetious. Maybe you recall the Land Wind of the mid-90s that failed to gain any stars. My, how times have changed.

        I read the other day that wages for auto workers in Mexico are on average half those of Chinese workers. So with the FTAs, access to the US and cheap labour, it’s earning the moniker China of the West.

        I’m not sure about your comment about the Chinese being able to assemble anything to a certain price point. That’s possible in any country, so it’s a pretty empty statement. The surprise is that there’s an OEM out of China that’s not trying to sell the same piss poor national engineering in a warmed over package. (Hey, Great Wall, we’re looking at you.) In other words, the Qoros could well be the first Chinese-built car that’s worth buying somewhere else in the world outside China as it won’t dump its residual value all over your driveway.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India