By on March 25, 2010

2009 was a great year for China’s auto makers with a record growth of 45 percent that propelled the market to 13.6 million units and gave it unassailable #1 status. It wasn’t all roses for everybody. For China’s Brilliance, joint venture partner of BMW, 2009 was downright rotten.

Brilliance expects “to record a substantial loss for 2009,” says Global Times, the English speaking arm of China’s People’s Daily.

In its filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Brilliance says the loss was incurred because “the sales volume of Zhonghua sedans did not reach the break-even level.”

Apart from the BMW joint venture, Brilliance sells under at least seven brand names. There are minibuses under the Jinbei and Granse brands. Sedans are sold as Zhonghua, Zunchi, Junjie, and Kubao. (Don’t ask me why the brand inflation.)

The troublesome Zhonghua brand is home to the ill-fated BS6 and BS4 cars (no relation with me) that were supposed to be the Brilliance export break-through. First their BS6, then their BS4 were crash tested in Germany, with horrible results. Some claimed, foul play was involved. However, Brilliance turned into a meteorite: Sparkle, sparkle, poof.

In November 2009, their European importer MSO went bankrupt. Which most likely was one of the reasons for the loss. Thankfully, prior attempts to market cars with a “BS” badge in America were scrapped.

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11 Comments on “Lack Of BS Causes Big Loss At Brilliance...”

  • avatar

    “Don’t ask me why the brand inflation”

    Everybody wants to be GM?

  • avatar

    I find it hard to believe that shoddy engineering is responsible for the crash test results – they’re clearly not idiots. Price sensitivity could do it, which is fine for the Chinese market I guess, but when they’re going after the European market, and know they’re going to be crash tested… why would you walk into that guillotine knowingly?


  • avatar

    Can only conclude it as a brilliant Icarus manuevre.

    What kind of idiot who does not know the speed requirement of any crash test?

    Middle Kingdom is well known for copy, water down, substitue with fake/poisonous material.

    Now another big issue is lack of rain, wonder if the Red Army can drill more well, or basically there is nothing under the rocks?

    I dont really like to see people suffer, this water issue is not going to go away so easy.
    I hear bad dust is hitting Hong Kong too.
    God help Middle Kingdom.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    Nice looking car. Just needs a few extra welds here and there , maybe a heavier gauge steel in the sills and pillars….

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Brilliance passed a second Euro crash test with 3 stars (“adequate”) instead of 1 star (as seen above) a mere 7 weeks after this fiasco test, but the harm was clearly done.

    BMW want additional production capacity and share the paint ;plant with Brilliance, so who knows, maybe Brilliance will throw in the towel on theor own cars (given the lack of success and profits).

    Better to have half a profitable large business instead of half a protable small business and a money losing small business.

    Besides, some other Chinese company would probably be willing to buy the Brilliance Zhonghui tools, dies, expertise, etc. (being the cars were designed in Italy by Guigiario instead of being illegally copied).

    • 0 avatar

      Not only did they pass that second test (for the BS6) – with a car that had engineering changes done. The BS4 test (see link in story) looked like a smear job, and a scandal. That car had passed all ECE type approval tests in the year before, had been crash tested and was street legal.

    • 0 avatar

      Defending the car because it went from one star to three stars in crash tests isn’t a terribly strong selling point. Yay! We improved from ‘certain death’ to ‘horrible injury’! Now we can hold our heads high among our competition, who all offer ‘slight headache’.

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