China Invades Eastern Europe

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Europe has tried long and hard to stop Chinese cars at its gates. Mainly by smashing them to bits and putting the results on YouTube. The cars that make EU certification remain unmentioned. This is going to change.


Chinese makers are entering Europe in seriousness. Through Europe’s backdoor, so to speak.

Starting in 2010, ROEWE cars will be up for sale in Poland, says Gasgoo. They are made by SAIC and are based on the Rover technology SAIC had acquired (without paying too much attention to trademark issues). Pol-Mot Holding will be responsible for distribution of the cars. Most likely, the ROEWE 550 and 750 will be sold. Supposedly, one car has already received the homologation critical for sale in the EU. The second one is in the homologation process.

Meanwhile, Martin Motors, the Italian company that fought hard to get a Smart lookalike into Europe, has signed a contract with Czech distributor LUM-ORIS, also as per Gasgoo’s report. Martin/LUM-ORIS will start the sale of Lifan brand in the Czech Republic in the next few days. The Lifan 520 met ECE requirements in 2007, which clears it for sale in EU countries. The Shuanghuan CEO (BMW lookalike) and two commercial vehicles produced by Changhe will probably join the offer in the near future.

Safety standards are not more lax in Eastern Europe; they are all the same in the EU. Rumors are that enforcement of the standards may be a bit laid back in the East. Also, the less-developed countries appear to be more fertile grounds for a Chinese offering.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Patapon Patapon on Oct 28, 2009
    China is going to be the death of thee world because of the auto industry. If even 1/10 of China’s population starts driving, the pollution levels will be ridiculous. Since EV’s still require so much energy to produce, it wouldn’t even help matters if those 1/10 had EV’s. This is assuming ceteris paribus, or all things being equal. Here's where market forces work its magic. Rising energy costs will keep China (and the rest of the world's) consumption in check. I don't think China [as a whole] can ever live as "lavishly" as Americans live [as we like to present ourselves or imagine ourselves to]. The only way it may be possible is to drive prices down. And by "prices" I mean just prices, not quality. And this applies to products outside of automobiles. From a moral perspective, it seems wrong to deny 1.3b people the same standard of living that we would like to enjoy. From an economics perspective though, increasing the rate of consumption for 1.3b people has to be very taxing on Mother Earth.
  • Rockit Rockit on Oct 28, 2009
    05gt : "Flashpoint, I agree with you that we do live lavish lives, however arent you the one who was bragging about your S550 in the Lincoln MKT Review?" Zing!
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