By on May 11, 2015

Landwind X9 Rally Trucklet

China may be a hotbed for automakers to bring in their latest and greatest, but exports of its automotive wares aren’t as hot these days.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported a drop of 22 percent in exports of commercial and passenger vehicles during April, falling to 61,600 units shipped compared to the previous month according to Bloomberg. The group also found a decline of 15 percent over the first four months of 2015, putting a significant ding on the nation’s goal of 860,000 units shipped elsewhere this year.

Causes of China’s export woes include geopolitical issues in Iraq, Russia and Ukraine, and currency challenges in Algeria and Argentina, per association deputy secretary-general Shi Jianhua, who sees no signs of improvement on the horizon.

The 2015 export target is a far cry from the nation’s peak of 1.06 million units in 2012, and is less than the 910,400 units sent overseas in 2014.

[Photo credit: Landwind]

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19 Comments on “China Automotive Exports Crashing Against Geopolitical, Currency Challenges...”

  • avatar

    Until someone in China is willing to spend billions in R&D, no remotely original Chinese automotive product will sell in Europe and North America.

    This is a problem that the Chinese government has been trying to fix for decades (maintaining state ownership, incentives, etc.), but the leadership and vision must come from the private sector. Due to various historical reasons China is still a relatively risk-averse society, so this will take more time.

  • avatar

    I was hoping to see $5000 MSRP Chinese imports any day now. What’s going on? Why can we have nice $300 Chinese computers, but no cheap cars?

    • 0 avatar

      Possibly because people don’t want to have their arms and legs sheared off in a fender bender.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, that’s one way to put it, but overall, the Chinese have to establish that all common standards are met. They also need to establish a record of reliability and durability to at least match the lowest ranked competitor, and that takes time. There seems to be a lack of awareness of how the outside world works, and no small amount of command-economy impatience in their export targets.

      • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar

      Because electronics can cut cost with size shrinking but automobile cannot?

    • 0 avatar

      If you’re talking about the Lenovo laptop (I’m typing on one right now), it started out as the IBM Thinkpad, not some clean-sheet Chinese design.

      There is a Chinese car in the United States. It was called the Coda. The design and quality of the chassis was pretty horrendous.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The sales of Chinese vehicles are slipping here in Australia.

    The Chinese are finding out that to sell a vehicle it must develop a history of itself. This is so people can ascertain whether the vehicle is reliable.

    Spending 9 or 10 grand on a vehicle is different from buying a set of pots and pans.

    People will not invest a relatively large amount of money into an unknown quantity.

  • avatar

    There are too many Chinese car brands and their currency is pegged to the US dollar which is strong right now.

  • avatar

    Love the pun (intentional or not) of the headline of this article. Shouldve posted a pic of that Brilliance model spectacularly failing that crash test.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The Chinese will have to establish themselves as a maker of reliable vehicles through other manufacturers similar to how the Koreans did. It would be better to start with GM, Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and/or Honda importing less expensive Chinese vehicles and with those manufacturers having some control over the Chinese plants making their vehicles. The Chinese make a lot of our electronics and computers and could eventually learn to make better quality (e.g. I-phones).

    Lou has a point about Walmart but then there are a lot of shortcuts taken in quality and material when making and selling a product for the cheapest price. The Chinese manufacturers will manufacture at the lowest price but at questionable quality. Anyone that has bought cheap outdoor furniture or hose nozzles and sprayers made in China is lucky to get a couple of seasons out of those products. For the most part you “get what you pay for.”

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. China as its own market is just beginning to move up above “cost” as a primary driver for product planning.

      People are beginning to desire quality products and are willing to pay for it, even if it’s made in, as they say in China, “our country.” But the deacdes-old mentality of cost-competition is strong, as is the aversion to risk–an important component of innovation that the Chinese industries are still loath to tolerate.

  • avatar

    Is that a Chinese copy of an Isuzu Rodeo up top? Sure looks like it!

    • 0 avatar

      I think the landwind was actually some weird conglomeration of a 2nd gen 4runner and Isuzu rodeo, with Mitsubishi clone drive train. The one in the photo is a short wheelbase model, perhaps you’re right it may very well be an amigo. Actually looking closer, this particular car has knockoff headlights and grille from a 3rd gen Montero (NP body Pajero)

      • 0 avatar

        This generation Landwind was intended to be sold in Germany, where the car was known as Opel Frontera. But the local ADAC (~AAA + slick local car manufacturers lobbyist) crash tested it with horrendous results, that’s on YouTube.

        Landwind was crushed, both literally and figuratively. Later, it turned out that the crash test was fishy – they cranked up the speed, among other things.

        It’s not just the Chinese messing up, there are powerful interests trying to keep them at bay.

  • avatar

    They just don’t have the experience. Post war to the eighties they were more bicycle than the Dutches.

    Throwback nostalgia there seems focused on forties Buicks or a handful of Peugeot gifts for the Maoist leadership.

  • avatar

    My personal opinion, which may be wide of the mark, is that the Chinese like to sell products that require no long-term service; i.e. once built and sold, the producer is no longer interested in what the customer thinks. They sell widgets.

    To be successful flogging vehicles, after-sales service becomes important. I’m not sure the Chinese want to become that involved.

  • avatar

    For the non-pickup US market the Chinese are just going to have to get in line behind the Koreans, Americans and Europeans for the crumbs the Japanese leave behind. For pickups, the cost of developing safety, power and amenities will be prohibitive. Then there’s the cultural revulsion.

    Chinese automotive build quality is something I think will never be tested in North America because they’ll never get a foot in the door. Way too late to the table. And most Americans are only getting broker.

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