The Truth About Cars » Mad in China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:58:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mad in China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Mad in China: A Brilliant Way To A BMW 523i On The Cheap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/mad-in-china-a-brilliant-way-to-a-bmw-523i-on-the-cheap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/mad-in-china-a-brilliant-way-to-a-bmw-523i-on-the-cheap/#comments Tue, 05 Mar 2013 17:01:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=480181

Let’s say you want a Fünfer BMW, but you are experiencing cash flow issues.
Mei wen ti
, no problem if you are in China. Creative and innovative Chinese companies are here to help.
Here is how it works:

First you buy a Brilliance H530. Price starts at 79.800 yuan and ends at 125.800 yuan ($12.800 to $20.200).

Then you buy a BMW-style grille, available in pretty much any color.

The grille comes in a handy set with eight BMW badges and a ’523i’ badge. The complete set costs 450 yuan, or $72. The BMW 523i is not available in China, but the extended 523Li is. It is made in China by none other than the Brilliance-BMW joint venture. Price for the 5Li starts at 428.600 yuan or $68.800. Don’t worry about the 523i not being available in China. People will think you have an expensive import model.

The work starts. Take off that cheapo Brilliance grille. Don’t throw it away! Sell it! This is China, after all.

Replace it with the BMW grille. Don’t have your picture taken if the blog gets read in Munich.

Add BMW badge to the hood. It drops right in.

Add rear BMW badge.

Add BMW badge on steering wheel. No cutting, no welding.

Add BMW badges on alloys. That’s seven badges indeed, number eight is for on the engine.

If you think your friends will never believe you can afford a 5; mei wen ti: Go for the Dreier.

Looks too real in white with racing stripes.

The kit is popular, this seller sold 12 in the last 30 days, hundreds of other small shops sell the same stuff on Taobao, the Chinese eBay. Never believe a BMW to be a BMW in China!

Dutchman Tycho de Feyter runs Carnewschina.com, a blog about cars in China, from Beijing, China. He also collects die-cast models of Chinese cars.

 

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Mad In China: How To Get A New Mercedes B-Class For Only $8,680 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/mad-in-china-how-to-get-a-new-mercedes-b-class-for-only-8680/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/mad-in-china-how-to-get-a-new-mercedes-b-class-for-only-8680/#comments Tue, 05 Feb 2013 10:54:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=476381

BAIC and Daimler announced last Friday they are taking the Beijing-Benz joint venture a giant step further. Daimler takes a 12 percent stake in BAIC and both parties will work closely together to win market share from Audi and BMW. On the ‘grass roots level’ the close cooperation has long begun! Above, a Beijing Auto E-Series with a Mercedes-Benz grille. How did that happen?

It started as an E-Series. No, not as an E-Klasse. The Beijing Auto E-Series was launched on the Chinese car market in March last year, priced between 53.800 and 86.800 yuan ($8,600 to $14,000.) This E-Series’ design is inspired by the last generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class, but the car is much smaller. Are we confused yet? No? Bear with me.

The platform however has a real connection to Daimler. The Chinese E-Series that looks like the German B-Series sits on the platform of the failed Smart ForFour that was made from 2004 to 2006. The engines are 1.3 and 1.5 liter Mitsubishi units that came with the platform.  (Cue requisite and boring “merger of equals” comments from folks who know that Mitsu was part is the threesome.)

The Beijing Auto E-Series is not made by the Beijing-Benz joint venture, it is produced by Beijing Auto and sold by the Beijing Auto dealer network. Do your part for a sustainable auto business! Recycle a platform!

This is the last generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class. It was imported into China and sold via a then separate ‘imported-Mercedes’ dealer network. BAIC and Daimler only recently agreed to sell the locally produced Beijing-Benz cars and the imported Mercedes cars together, in a new and yet to establish dealer network. The B-Class was priced between 270.000 and 320.000 yuan ($43,300 – $51,400).

Now, how did these rather different vehicles come together?

Enter a fake Mercedes-Benz grille, made to fit the Beijing Auto E-Series.

The grille comes in a neat beige box. The Chinese characters write ‘BeiQi E Series’, BeiQi is short for Beijing Qiche, or Beijing Auto. But! Just a grille isn’t enough to fool grandma these days. Fortunately there is more:

Badges for on the wheels, for on the back, and one for on the steering wheel.  ‘E150′ is the Beijing Auto E-Series with the 1.5, the 1.3 is called E130.

If you want to spend a bit more money you can buy wheel covers that look like Mercedes-Benz alloys. Price for the whole set, including the grille, badges and wheel covers: 500 yuan or $80.

Looks a little chintzy, but your grandmother in Inner Mongolia will be impressed.

The badge on the hood doesn’t sit completely straight. This wouldn’t happen to the Germans. It looks more like a “100  Jahre ADAC” badge, but what do we and grandma know.

BAIC and Daimler have their work cut out for them.

Dutchman Tycho de Feyter runs Carnewschina.com, a blog about cars in China, from Beijing, China. He also collects die-cast models of Chinese cars.

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