My Chinese Car Is Bigger Than Your Western Car

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
my chinese car is bigger than your western car

There is an interesting analysis on Chinacarforums: China-produced Western cars tend to come out bigger than their Western siblings. Especially at the higher end. A made-in-China Cadillac STS is 124mm longer than the U.S. sister model. The wheelbase grew by 100mm. A Chinese Audi A6 L has gained 97 mm in length over the Made-in-Ingolstadt relative. A BMW 5-series, made at the Chinese joint venture with Brilliance, has gained a whopping 140 mm in length and wheelbase over the Bavarian model.

This odd trend persists to varying degrees even into the smaller models. Chinese Honda Civic: 12mm longer and 15 mm higher than the Made-in Japan type. The Chinese Corolla must have been fed growth hormones: 130 mm longer and 64 mm wider. The only incredibly shrinking car is the Suzuki SX4: 46mm less in length, 25mm less in girth, and 50 mm less in height than the Japanese variety.

One explanation for the growth tendency: In China, a driver is common and cheap to hire. His monthly salaries are less than an U.S. insurance premium. Chinese tastes in cars are not unlike the Americans’: They want their cars big. Why Suzuki went to the pain of making the already small SX4 even smaller for China is anybody’s guess. Maybe the water was too hot in the car wash.

Bonus tip: The site has a (for a Chinese site) amazingly frank analysis of how blatant “homegrown” cars have copied their overseas “inspirations.”. The most outrageous copy according to their analysis: The FAW Redflag HQ3 v.v. the Crown Majesta. The HQ3 received a 90 percent similarity rating. Duh, it’s a badge-job.

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3 of 9 comments
  • Psmisc Psmisc on Dec 19, 2009

    AFAIK the HQ3 is a license-built rebadge of Crown, and the Brilliance Splendor was co-developed with BMW. Both are joint-ventures with Toyota and BMW respectively. All the others seem to be totally shanzhai though.

  • Charly Charly on Dec 19, 2009

    What is the big difference between the originals and the shanzhai copies? exterior, engine or something else.

    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Dec 19, 2009

      Well I assume they're bigger on the outside to be bigger on the inside. If you're going to sit in the back of a car and be driven around, you want to be able to cross your legs or stretch them out, ect.

  • Tassos While Acura was the first Japanese attempt to sell 'luxury' (or "premium") vehicles in the US market, and despite its original good success in the near-luxury segment with the Legend and the far smaller and less expensive Itegra (a glorified Civic), it later lost its momentum and offered a series of underwhelming vehicles. It sure is not a LUXURY maker, and as long as it offers FWD or AWD and NOT RWD vehicles, it will never be taken seriously as a serious sports cars maker. Infiniti is much worse, and if both of them go under, few will notice. Lexus was more successful, offering pimped up TOyotas for 10,000s more, but there is NO vehicle in their lineup, esp now that they scewed up the only serious entry (the LS), that I would care to consider. AND I say all this as a very satisfied owner of 5-speed Honda coupes and hatchbacks (a 1991 Civic hatch and a 1990 Accord Coupe).
  • Mike Beranek Yet another reason to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles charged with energy from wind & solar with modern, non-Monty Burns nuclear as a backup.
  • Tassos The cap the timid Western Europeans agreed to, a HIGH $60, which still lets Putin make a TON of billions of $, was way too HIGH. Ukraine correctly complained about this, it had asked for a $20 cap, I believe.
  • FreedMike "...I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath until fuel prices drop."Regular is $2.87 at my local gas station today. Considering that it was over four bucks this summer, I'd call that a drop. And it happened with the war still going on, the GOP not taking over Congress, Dark Brandon in the White House, and the Theoretical Keystone Pipeline still being canned. Imagine that. And I wonder if poor Slavuta has broken out the "will rap for food" sign yet.
  • THX1136 I would imagine the caps will have minimal impact. Putin is going to do what he wants to do regardless of how the citizens of his country fare.