New Trend In China: Chinese Cars

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
new trend in china chinese cars

You’d think that joint ventures with Chinese car makers would be hell-bent on underscoring their foreignness. That’s what sets them apart from Chinese cars. The Chinese customer is no fool and exactly knows whether a 3-series is made by Brilliance in China or by BMW in Bavaria. But push comes to shove, a car with a foreign nameplate has more cachet in China than homegrown produce. Which makes this new trend even more wondrous: More and more joint ventures turn out their own through-and-through Chinese cars.

Even more curiously, the trend is led by an American joint venture: SAIC-GM-Wuling. GM’s el cheapo mini commercial vehicle joint venture with SAIC and Wuling will bring out its first self-developed sedan, the Baojun. It will be launched November 18. More Baojun cars are soon to show up.

The Baojun is followed by Dongfen Nissan’s Qichen, expected to hit the Chinese showrooms by the end of the (Western) year.

Guangzhou Honda may come out with a self-developed Linian car early next year.

Whereas the Intellectual Property for JV cars is usually licensed to the JV, the designs of self developed cars belong to the joint venture. I know you will get suspicious now, and your suspicions are well founded: Deep in the Baojun lurks a Buick Excelle, says Gasgoo.

There you have it: Faux Chinese cars. Chinese on the outside, foreign on the inside.

And in case you want to know, Chinaautoweb tells us that “ ‘Baojun’ contains two Chinese characters: ‘Bao’ means ‘treasured,’ ‘precious;’ ‘Jun” means ‘fine horse’ or ‘steed.’ ” Well, “bao-bao” is what you call your Chinese “honey.” Honey horsey? Precious pony? Moneyed Mustang?

Join the conversation
3 of 11 comments
  • Wallstreet Wallstreet on Oct 19, 2010

    I believe bao-bao is what you address to a cute baby or cute infant. Herr Schmitt, you might score every now and then if you address your mistress "bao-babe".

  • Kristjan Ambroz Kristjan Ambroz on Oct 20, 2010

    I think Bertel is right here - had several Chinese co-workers, all of them addressing their wives / girlfriends with bao bao. None of them had children, and none of the significant others were infants, either ;)

    • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Oct 20, 2010

      Welcome to China, the land of intentional ambiguity. When I came to China (and before I chose to marry Japanese) a Chinese babe had her eyes on me. She insisted on being a "bao-bao." (Sometimes she wanted to be called "xiao tu zi", that's a little white rabbit that has a thing with a big bad wolf - the Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood.)

      A little later, she started calling me "lao gong" and wanted to be addressed as "lao po." Now it gets complicated. If you look up "lao gong," you'll find "old grandfather", and "lao po" is an old lady. Don't be offended. Further digging will tell you that "lao gong" is synonymous with "husband" and "lao po" with "wife." However, in certain parts of China, you call your BF a "lao gong" and your GF a "lao po" to signify that it's not a one night stand. It's the cool thing to do. Just in case you ever meet a China Doll, like Jack did in Canada ....

  • Dartman It was all a scam just to gin up some free publicity. It worked. Tassos go back to sleep; no ones on your lawn. Real ‘murricans prefer hot dogs to gyros.
  • ToolGuy I plan to install a sink in the crawl space soon. After that I plan to put washer and dryer hookups on my roof.
  • ToolGuy "That power team adds an electric supercharger"YES!
  • Cardave5150 UAW is acting all butt-hurt that their employers didn't "share the wealth" when they had massive profits. They conveniently forget that they have a CONTRACT with their employers, which was negotiated in good faith, and which the Remaining 3 are honoring, paying them exactly what they negotiated last time.
  • Kwik_Shift That's a shame.