Lax Laws Give Chinese Automakers African Foothold
Realizing that meeting American and European safety and emission standards is a bitch, Chinese automakers are turning their attention to Africa. According to the Wall Street Journal, Great Wall, Chery Automobile Co. and Geely Group Ltd. are all aggressively targeting developing African nations with low-cost vehicles, successfully competing against the less-than-stellar used vehicles flooding in from Europe. Zheng Guoqing, African sales manager for Great Wall, makes no bones about the "legislative advantages" involved. "The emissions standard is not particularly high there. The requirement for safety is also not high." In the first five months of 2007, China has more than doubled its African auto exports, compared to the same period last year. It'll be interesting to see if those Great Wall Hover II SUVs hold up to the African desert like Land Cruisers and Peugeots, and how easily Cherys and Geeleys can be fixed with a piece of wire and whatever the owner has on hand.