Ethiopia Builds Its First Car– And It's Chinese
The whole cheap Chinese cars are coming to America story has died down– at least until Chrysler pops its Chery. (Look for a resumption of hypestilities at this year's Detroit Auto Show.) Meanwhile, Chinese automakers are warming-up for the world's most competitive automotive market by probing the soft underbelly of the third world, where safety concerns count for nought. Nazret.com reports that Holland Car (an Ethiopian – Dutch partnership) has unveiled its first locally assembled car, built from parts imported from China. West Africans can now purchase the "Abay" (Amharic for the Blue Nile) for $16k. The Abay boasts a four-cylinder engine hooked-up to a five-speed manual transmission. The car arrives some two years after the plant was completed in Mojjo, 70-kms south east of Addis Ababa, at the cost of 20 million birr (plus a EU510k grant by the Dutch government). According to company co-founder Tadesse Tessema, "We are bringing new technology to the country, offering customers to buy new cars instead of older and more expensive ones from Europe." So it's a two-prong deal, as company co-owner Ethio-Holland Transport already imports used European cars for [a fraction of] the country's 75m inhabitants.