TTAC Makes Headlines In China

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Foreign reporters are a welcome interview target at the Global Automotive Forum in Chengdu, much to the amazement of the reporters who are used to interview other people. There is a lengthy interview with someone from TTAC. I don’t know what it says, it’s all in Chinese. (Don’t trust Google translate. Informed sources tell me the headline says: “Schmit: China’s car makers should open up to the media.”)

This will be the topic of tomorrow’s round table discussion. It’s not that Chinese automakers are biased against foreigners. Even Chinese colleagues tell me that doors close and phones get hung up when they reveal that they work for a foreign news outlet.

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=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Kita Ikki Kita Ikki on Oct 12, 2011

    Schmit:中国车企应持更开放态度面对媒体 Schmitt: Chinese Automakers Should Open up more toward Media I can attest that Mr Schmitt appears to be quoted correctly in Chinese (aside from the misspelled name).

  • Heartofkafka Heartofkafka on Oct 12, 2011

    Highlight: 在中国,我遇到的问题就是没有人肯接我的电话,没有人回答我的问题,我的问题无从解答,最后可能就会产生对这家企业理解的偏差,我想这一点是非常值得中国企业思考和注意的。 In China, the problem I faced is that no one is willing to pick up my phone calls, no one is willing to answer my questions, my questions being unanswered, and that may eventually lead to misconceptions about companies. I think its worthwhile for the Chinese enterprises to be aware of this phenomena and rethink about their approaches. - Western world is very interested in China's automobile market and its development - However, China is not opening up its communication channels with media - Japan used to be like this but they adapted and is more willing to communicate with western media now - China is a strange market; all the money, none of the brand... - VW China is the brand with most potential - in fact they have bigger sales in China than in Germany Do you want me to translate the whole thing?

  • Kryptonzone Kryptonzone on Oct 12, 2011

    Interesting last question, taking Toyota as a yardstick for Chinese car companies. So, one "T" less now?

  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Oct 12, 2011

    With one exception, the Chinese companies that have exhibited at the NAIAS haven't had a clue of how to deal with journalists, with the single exception of Geely. It seems that they don't even understand the importance of having booth personnel that can actually speak and understand English. Geely at least has some people who can actually understand your question and give you some kind of an answer.

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    • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Oct 13, 2011

      @Robert.Walter That too. I sometimes think there are national styles when it comes to the car companies at the big shows. The Germans have the most boring press conferences known to man - usually some guys with grey hair, and black suits, droning on and on in heavy Cherman accents. Japanese companies make a point of honoring their Japanese executives - some will even try to do the presentation as Akio Toyoda did at the NAIAS. The Koreans prefer to put American faces up front on stage but you can see the Hyundai and Kia execs from Korea watching intently from the periphery.