China's Brilliance Ex-CEO Bilking Billions for U.S. Auto Factory Scam?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

If it sounds too good to be true, someone somewhere is scamming someone somewhere. This morning’s story in Automotive News [AN, sub] would almost have us believe that former Brilliance automotive CEO Yang Rong is “leading a venture to build a $6.5 billion auto plant in northern Mississippi, where he would hire 25,000 workers to eventually produce 1 million cars a year.” ‘Cause, you know, the U.S. market has room for another mainstream automotive brand. To its credit, AN sees a few problems with the concept: “It would be easy to dismiss his proposal out of hand. The plan has no brand, products or retail network. But Yang oversaw a rise from nowhere in Brilliance’s fortunes in the 1990s, and he has been attracting money from some of China’s wealthy residents.” The last part of that statement is the most credible; and it doesn’t bode well for anyone gullible enough to invest in Rong’s visionary vehicles. Oh, and Uncle Sam’s part of the scam . . .

Vincent Wang, Yang’s associate and one of three key project players with the name Wang, spoke with Automotive News on behalf of Yang because of the industrialist’s limited English. Wang said the project will attract auto investors through a special U.S. visa program called EB-5. That program, created in 1990, encourages wealthy foreigners to invest in the United States.

A commercial investment of $1 million, or $500,000 if made in an economically distressed area such as northern Mississippi, qualifies a foreign family for a permanent-resident green card. “A lot of people in China want to move some of their money out of China,” Wang said.

There’s a lot of history behind Mr. Rong; none of it would lead you to believe that your money would be safe in his hands. In short, if loving Rong is right, I don’t want to right.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • YZS YZS on Sep 01, 2009

    They only became a car company in 1992, and they've done pretty well for themselves so far.

  • JAG64 JAG64 on Oct 05, 2009

    Guys, Please keep the comments clean of racist remarks.

  • El scotto The days of "Be American, buy America" are long gone. Then there's the mental gymnastics of "is a Subaru made in Lafayette, IN more American than something from gm or Ford made in Mexico?" Lastly, it gets down to people's wallets; something cheap on Amazon or Temu will outsell its costlier American-made item. Price not Patriotism sells most items. One caveat: any US candidate should have all of his/her goods made in the USA.
  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.