By on August 24, 2015

Cadillac-XTS-with-Brad-Pitt

You’re car shopping for your dream car. You test drive it. It’s perfect. Everything in its place. The power … breathtaking. You look at the window sticker and there are a few numbers after a dollar sign. You can afford it — just.

Next year, your dream car will have no discernible differences from the one you are driving today. Everything will still be perfect, in its place, and the power will be just as intoxicating. Except next year the price will go down $5,000 thanks to a “Made in China” stamp on the doorjamb.

Whether toothless threat or real risk, the global automotive markets are so integrated now that GM can say they’ll build more Buicks in China and it’s a real possibility. GM does make vehicles in China these days. Shipping rates are incredibly low thanks to bigger and bigger ships making the journey across the Pacific more efficient.

Fifteen years ago, if a company pulled the China card, the UAW would laugh them off and say, “Yeah, right. We’ll believe that when sweaters and sweater vests become the defacto suit for automotive CEOs.” Now, almost every automaker that sells vehicles in North America has some kind of manufacturing operation in China.

Not too long ago, Honda Canada started importing the Fit from China, and not an eye was batted by consumers. I’d be surprised if a single Honda customer went into the dealer, test drove a Fit, found out it was built in China and decided not to buy it based solely on that fact.

But America is a different story, and GM is a different company. We don’t think of Honda as being a domestic automaker, even though they do manufacture a considerable number of products within our borders. Nor do we feel that Honda owes us anything (besides maybe an S2000 reprise).

Meanwhile, GM does owe us something. We kept them afloat, after all. While they don’t legally owe us — the taxpayers — a single dime at this point, the fact remains they are quickly squandering the very small amount of goodwill they had after the bankruptcy and re-emergence to profitability.

Surely, they owe us to keep as much manufacturing in North America as possible. But they don’t.

If your dream is to own a vehicle from a domestic manufacturer — let’s say Hellcat or Corvette or Shelby GT350 — and they decide to build that product in China while offering a lower MSRP, would you buy it?

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185 Comments on “QOTD Bonus: Would You Buy A Chinese-built American Car?...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    No. Next?

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Rather have herpes.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Absolutely. Unless it’s a Wrangler. Then: not no, but Hell no.

  • avatar
    koshchei

    As a Canadian, it’s Canadian-made or nothing. I don’t care what name is on the grille.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I work very hard to NOT buy Chinese. Yes, I can hear everybody now…but your computer is made in China…your phone is…yes, I get it. But I look carefully at labels and a large majority of my clothing, my furniture and even appliances are made in America. I’m sure there are imported parts in there. But China is neither friend or ally and I’d rather spend a bit more to help assure my neighbors, friends and family continue to be employed.

    Okay. Short answer. No.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I do this as well, but its more about the cheap throwaway nature of products which frequent come from the nation. A friend at church landed a like new coffee maker from 1970 for $5 at fundraising bazaar, my was that ever a buy.

      • 0 avatar
        Joss

        And the era of cheap throw-away american cars..?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I say for $5 if it works for six months he’s beaten the $20 WallyWorld equivalent sourced from Guangzhou. If it breaks on the first use he’s out a finn but the church benefited (this did come in the original box btw). I do get your point but its not really directly comparable for both price and the type of use.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            A coffee maker of that vintage (I’d say) is something with diminished utility, even when new-in-box. Just simply because home coffee makers have advanced so far since then.

            It’s still very possible to get high quality units today (just have to be a little spendy), but I bet they’re making much better coffee than something from the 1970’s.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Re: coffee makers. Bunn or GTFO.

            My dad found a brand new in-the-box Kenmore 1980s. vintage made-in-USA hand mixer in a basket in the parking lot at Lowes (of all places). After the Sunbeam that is much older than I am finally quit, they went through several new Chinese junk ones before he found that one. Each one failed pretty quickly, one in particular gave off the unmistakable “burning electrical” smell each time it was used. Technicly it still worked, but given how strong that smell was, it seemed unsafe to use. Pure garbage.

            So far, the “old-new” one is still working perfectly after two years (longer than any of the “new-new” ones lasted).

            I guess the old saying is true: when God shuts a door, He opens a window.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        I purchased a low-cost Wal-Mart coffee maker in 2006.

        Used 5-6 times a week.

        Still working perfectly as of this morning.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          There’s a difference (especially in something like a coffee maker) between “works” and “makes good coffee.”

          Similarly, a 1985 Sentra “works” but is not a “good car” by any modern standard.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      My smartphone (LG) was made in Korea. Id rather it come from there vs. China. I think the battery was made in China, and it is the only undesirable part of the phone (runs down exceptionally quick).

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      But these days, the label should always have a big asterisk on it. Just because it’s not labeled “Made in China” doesn’t mean it’s not chock full of Chinese-sourced parts or ingredients.

  • avatar
    infinitime

    Interesting, given that most posters are probably responding on a computer built in China, and will almost certainly be using a cellphone from that country.

    Given the extent of automated manufacturing, a robot on the assembly line in China is no different than one in Japan, the US or Europe.

    ALL plants follow a formula-based manufacturing process, whereby the same standards and QC measurements apply. A VW from Mexico is objectively indistinguishable from the same model made in Wolfsburg.

    Of course, if the gripe is a political or cultural one, that’s something else. But when we are dealing with large multi-nationals such as GM Toyota and VW, the country of manufacture has little bearing on the quality of the product.

    The product that you should be leery about, are those which are from unproven Chinese brands. Then all bets are off…

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Interesting, given that most posters are probably responding on a computer built in China, and will almost certainly be using a cellphone from that country.”

      Yawn. This tripe again. When I strap my family to my laptop or cell phone and hurl them down the highway at 80mph, you’ll have a point. Until then, $200-1k consumer junk is held to a different standard than $XX,XXX capital purchases where safety is important.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I will say (from personal experience) that the Lenovo my employer has me using now is better built than the “Genuine IBMs” that I had earlier in my career.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I believe the genuine IBMs came from Malaysia and were designed in Japan. Thinkpad people will remember the poor cooling design in the T42/3 and R50? which damaged PCs, but other than that I have no beef with the IBM lineup vs Lenovo’s, although the final R series (500/400) is better than the SL series which replaced it (R series was a slightly heavier/cheaper much nicer T series, some parts interchangeable even). The L series may have gotten better (although the second poster reveals it was decontented vs R) but the SL was garbage when it was out.

          http://www.anandtech.com/show/3664/lenovo-thinkpad-lseries-the-greenest-thinkpad-ever

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            Genuine IBM Thinkpads (T series) were originally manufactured for US market consumption in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. In the mid 1990s this transferred to Guadalajara, Mexico. Finally in 2001 it transferred again to Shenzhen, China. In 2005 the entire division was sold to Lenovo, including the IIPC site in Shenzhen.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          PrincipalDan: “I will say (from personal experience) that the Lenovo my employer has me using now is better built than the “Genuine IBMs” that I had earlier in my career.”

          The last few years of “Genuine IBMs” were made by Lenovo and they were crap. Prior to outsourcing their PCs and Laptops, IBM was the best in the business.

          Sorry to knock your employer, but they’re only as good as they are (nothing to brag about) because of IBM.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve had a circa 2007 R60 since 2011 with no issues, and put two more used R60s into a Volvo shop to be used for orders/invoicing. One did die earlier in the year and was replaced by a Dell D620 I had laying around. Btw I don’t work for IBM/Lenovo, the only reason I know anything about them is bc I was looking for a used personal laptop in 2011 and Thinkpads were cheaper and seemed better than Dells. I haven’t worked with any newer Lenovo/Thinkpads than 2010 so they might be crap now, but I think you get something decent in the Thinkpad R/T 60/61/500 for not alot of money with the added bonus of easy serviceability (400/500 is a buy bc it *will* accept a max of 8GB DDR3 memory, 61 will as well but its DDR2 and not worth messing with anymore). Maybe Dells got easier to service I dunno but the old Lats were a f you IMO. I’m typing on a work bought Precision and it seems as if it was designed to be serviced.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “IBM was the best in the business.”

            Is that related to why they had to get out of the business?

            BTW, anyone else ever disassembled an 8086 era IBM keyboard? God. Damn.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            IBM scaled down its hardware operations in 2005, they felt the money they could make in hardware was on the server side. From what I understand alot of their money these days comes from consulting and to a lesser extent software.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Funny, people pay BIG bucks for IBM 5150 buckling spring keyboards from that era. They are renown as the finest mass produced keyboards ever built. Think of them as the W123 Benz of keyboards. I have a reproduction which is good for work, but if I wasn’t worried about chuckleheads getting crumbs in it I’d have a NOS real one. Hit E-bay and search “IBM model M” or “IBM 5150”. You’d think you were looking at 60’s MOPAR stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “Funny, people pay BIG bucks for IBM 5150 buckling spring keyboards from that era.”

            I wish I’d saved every one I ever laid hands on and that was many. My first computers were Frankenboxes assembled from 8086s and 286s junked by a university. The overbuild was staggering.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Same here on the keyboards. I sent a room of them to DRMO when I was still in the Navy. Still in the box. I could have put my kids through school. And my first build was a 486dx2 66 on a motherboard that was built as an upgrade for a Zenith Z248 case. I can remember sitting at it when a coworker showed me this cool thing he’d been playing with called “the internet”.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          I deal with a lot of refurbished laptops. In my mind, the Dell Latitudes are the best compromise on a used/refurbished system. Plentiful parts, better documentation, and I find them very easy to service. Unlike the IBM procedures that involve removing 17,048 screws to do anything. Some Lenovos are better, though.

          As for me, give me an E5430 and I’ll be happy!

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “removing 17,048 screws to do anything”

            But those were damn good screws! No Chinese butter-steel, nossir!

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            This is where you get your money out of a MacBook. 8 screws for access to all the internals, 85 percent battery still on a 2011 model, and the MagSafe plug is genius as the power port was the death of every prior laptop I owned. I just dumped 16GB of memory and an SSD drive in it.

      • 0 avatar
        tremorcontrol

        This is classic. On this very site — this very day — we get a story about the new Maxima built in the USA having a fuel tank defect that could cause the car to catch on fire. It’s not made in China. It’s made in Tennessee. That’s Tennessee in the USA… Built in the USA might mean “freedom fries 4evah” but it doesn’t mean “safe”.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          In fairness, didn’t the miracle of Chinese Manufacturing manage to blow up like half a city this week? Yeah…I’ll roll the dice on the Maxima, thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        Agree with S2k Chris. Hand-held bobbles are held to a different safety standard than large machines which may cause harm to people.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      infinitime: “Interesting, given that most posters are probably responding on a computer built in China”

      All of my computers are assembled in the US. Only one was built by me. The other two were assembled in US factories.

      Some Chinese components? Yep, but there’s nothing that can be done about that.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m curious, which models were US assembled?

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Honestly these days computer parts are more or less commodities unless one goes very very high end. They’re made in China because although it’s not quite as cheap as it once was, all the infrastructure is in place.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Most of the parts on the last one I assembled were from Taiwan. But in all honesty I’m typing this on one of those “designed in Cupertino Ca.” machines so yeah, China.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            But if you want to spend a couple grand minimum, the Mac Pro is built in Texas. By built I mean of course assembled from globally sourced components.

        • 0 avatar
          Compaq Deskpro

          New HP EliteDesk/Z series stuff and some Lenovo Thinkcentres are built in the US. I believe all Dell business desktops as well as Thinkstations are made in Mexico. Everything else is made in China.

    • 0 avatar
      Yuppie

      It’s not the large multi-national that I am worried about (except for GM, of course) but the rest of the supply chain if the manufacturing facility is based in China, especially if it is a GM plant. There is cutting corners to save a buck (which many do) and then there is the ingenuity of faking eggs and adding melamine to infant formula, which is a whole other level. Add to that the GM laissez-faire approach to quality control …

  • avatar
    ajla

    If V8s or a reborn 3800 came from China then I would buy it.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    No here.

    But lets look at who will buy one. Your prototypical stupid, fat American that shops at Wal-Mart. They’ll buy a commie-car without question, and in complete ignorance of that fact. Another type will be the “I got a great deal!” loser who won’t mind driving around in substandard garbage.

  • avatar
    71charger_fan

    I too try hard to not buy items made in China. I will spend more to buy a U.S.-made alternative if available.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Why would Chinese-made American-branded cars be any cheaper to US buyers than domestic-, Canadian- or Mexican-made American-branded cars? If anything, they should carry a shipped-from-half-way-around-the-effin-world price penalty.

    Isn’t the point greater profits for the American brand selling them?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Which is the most logical reason to not purchase the product. So you want to sell me Product X which is produced in multiple locations. However labor cost, suppliers, raw materials/materials integrity, and product QC vary from location to location. Whats in it for me to accept the additional risk and buy your product produced in the cheaper location if the final transaction price is the same for me regardless of assembly location? Nada, so my thought is shove it.

      Additional: I went looking for the notes I drew up comparing the 1995 Ford Taurus and the 2015 Fusion from last year. I concluded at the time the base Fusion (S?) was nearly identical to the ’95 Ford in BLS inflation adjusted dollars (something like 18 vs 23) and even in power figures it was similar (I4 170 vs V6 150). However I estimated Ford netted an 80% savings in labor because of Mexico (I think I did 30 bucks/hour vs 5) yet the cost is (nearly) the same. Where is half of the labor savings Ford, where’s my end?

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Well, I’m not excited about the prospect either but only because I don’t see any likelihood of servicing my own selfishness with a great deal.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Don’t buy the goods then, and spread the word not to buy. Boycotts used to be a thing, make it so again. We have enough consumer junk floating around this country to keep us content for quite awhile.

          Unplug the TV, take the battery out of the touchphone, and collectively tell the corps to kiss your ass.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        Did you adjust for minimum feature content? A stripper ’15 Fusion is going to have more electronics and safety systems than a stripper ’95 Taurus did.

        I get your point about cheaper labor but I don’t believe all of that cost difference went directly into FMC’s pocket. Or put another way, side air bags and traction control aren’t free.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s just it. The savings are unlikely to be passed onto the consumer. However, it’s not like there’s bound to be a quality difference anyway.

  • avatar
    wmba

    What a chance for the US commentariat to exhibit irrational xenophobia.

    I’ll exhibit my own. Heinz closed down its Canadian ketchup plant last year. Now all we get is the US muck. Not even the ingredient list is the same.

    I blame the Brazilian company InBev which owns Budweiser and almost every other big beer company in the world, then bought Burger King and finally Kraft and Heinz. Plus Timmy’s. These guys obsess over a penny. Isn’t globalization just wonderful?

    Chinese-assembled US-designed cars for sale? Who really cares, because there’s going to be nothing you can do to change things. Except fulminate.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m sure the Canadian version had better ingredients and therefore must go in favor of the cheaper swill produced in this nation.

    • 0 avatar

      How did the two ketchups differ exactly? What a revolting story.
      Personally, if I lived in the US I’d want my American cars American. I don’t buy Chinese, not even the stuff passed off as garlic (only Spanish or French or Italian, please).

    • 0 avatar
      plateofshrimp

      It’s time to let the ketchup go. It’s just sugar in a weak tomato sauce.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You are correct.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Ketchup..the ultimate blue collar condiment. I would not buy the Chinese car, period. Yeah, my circa 2006 MacBook is still working as I write this and it was made in China. But that I attribute to the design. Actually when you get down to it, Apple should manufacture here in the USA. Its not like it would bankrupt the company. And it would allow the company to support the country that made them possible.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “Ketchup..the ultimate blue collar condiment.”

            Damn straight. I just blobbed some onto cheesy broccoli and cauliflower. A sumptuous repast! Imodium for dessert. Generic, of course… probably Chinese =:-o

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Tim Cook said at one point that they would like to manufacture in the USA, but for most of their products the necessary infrastructure and supplier base just doesn’t exist.

            They do manufacture the Mac Pro, and assemble certain iMacs, here.

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            They can’t – they would never be able to meet the environmental regulations.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      @wmba – you want better ketchup? Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay twice the price you paid previously and buy the “throwback” catchup from Whole Foods. Why? Because so few people actually care what goes into their pieholes that they can cheapen the product and charge double for the “original” formula. Also see Coke.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      They bought T-Ho’s, as I’ve heard it put?!

      Considering that’s as much of the Canadian psyche as ho-ckey (with a long vowel sound) and Molson, I could see why you folks would be a trifle irked!

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I was going to buy a Mazda Mazda3 i Sport hatchback.

    Then I discovered they are now made in Mexico.

    No sale.

    Change “Mexico” to “China”, and it’s “No sale x 1,000,000,000”.

    • 0 avatar
      Demetri

      Not completely true. Some are assembled in Mexico, some are still assembled in Japan. I don’t have hard stats, but the dealer near me has 15 in stock and 5 are Mexican. If you want one assembled in Japan, just get one with a VIN that starts with “J” instead of “3”.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Since No is already taken, I’ll go with Nope!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Made or assembled?

    There is a big difference.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Jimminy Crickets, people, you’re buying a lump of metal, glass (decreasingly) and polymers made as cheaply as possible and costing as much as possible for the benefit of shareholders and executives absolutely identical across the globe in their fervor to make as much money as possible from their involvement in the trade.

    The days of being used by only our own kind are long gone.

  • avatar
    charski

    Not a chance. I may not have understood the concept of making things here when I was a much younger, but after spending 30 years making in manufacturing, I sure get the importance of manufacturing here in the U.S. as much as possible, and have adjusted my buying habits accordingly.

    (it’s been 30 years?…I’m a geezer…)

  • avatar
    el scotto

    It doesn’t matter if a vehicle made in China wholesales for 5K less than their Euro/Mexico/US counterpart. Retail will be the same price and there will be no “Made in China” Automatic Discount!!!.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      That’s the point I made above. Don’t buy, just boycott.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Exactly, el scotto.

      I seriously question the “$5,000 savings” figure. I suspect it was entirely arbitrary. Beyond that, your bigger point is correct: companies don’t charge the cost of goods. They charge what the market will bear.

      As for me personally, I’d rather buy a car from a Japanese-run company that’s built by Americsn workers. American managements have unfortunately failed to establish credibility over time that they are committed to putting quality components in their assembly workers’ hands so they have a chance to build a trustworthy car.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Who is/was managing Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors, and Suzuki?

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          Nissan is not Japanese-run. It’s a division of a French company with factories in multiple companies, building French-style junk. Suzuki didn’t make money in American carmaking, but its last car sold here, the Kizashi, was quite good. Mitsubishi is Japanese-run and remains a cluster, just as it’s been for 25 years; every rule has its exception.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I must assume these cars will be built using Chinese made parts and since every single Chinese made part that has been installed in my Corolla has failed miserably, I must say NO!

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’m old enough when people made jokes about being made in Japan. Then the fear of Korean cars. Hell people bought the awful Yugo. If the price is right we will buy what ever China want’s to send us.

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      There’s a whole lot of difference between Japanese culture and standards and Chinese. Look at what just happened in Tianjin.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Here’s a baby-step intro to Japanese “culture and standards”:

        https://publicintelligence.net/japan-and-tepcos-history-of-nuclear-accidents-and-cover-ups/

        China can and will clean up its act when big ticket exports are at stake, just like Japanese did. But that doesn’t mean the core culture will change at home.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        While I am inclined to agree, Tianjin will be cleaned up long before Fukushima.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      @Fred… We? speak for yourself. My money is still mine, and I get to decide where and how it’s spent.

  • avatar
    mingo

    “I’d be surprised if a single Honda customer went into the dealer, test drove a Fit, found out it was built in China and decided not to buy it based solely on that fact.”

    I did exactly that! I checked the door jamb on the Civic and it’s made in Canada, but I was there to look at a Fit for my wife and walked away because it’s made in China.. enough is enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Yeah, I know the Fit’s a great car, but I didn’t even try and look for a leftover ’14 when I bought my Mazda. Honda’s probably one of the best bets to make a quality Chinese-built product, but I’ll wait a while and see how they age.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    Fred
    You nailed it

  • avatar
    John

    Automobile made out of the finest Chinesium? Here’s a big, heaping helping of “Nope”.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Coming to a Walmart near you at a Walmart price.

  • avatar
    Joss

    What’s all this Harry S Truman?

    I’m in luv with chinese military parades. These lovely pink missys.. you’ll have to Youtube and browse Chinese pink army. Can’t figure the link. Know US Marines sure dont have lovelies like that.

    Some of the young Chinese sailor-boys are cute too.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Aeeyah! Massa wan’ boy missy girl missy never mind, heya? Ah-Tok find bring chop chop for Massa!

      (That’s Authentic Chinese Pidgin from an Authentic Period Novel, heya?)

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        Sounds like it could come from a Michener novel… :-)

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          Heh… the Limey equivalent, James Clavell.

          Now I’ll have to check out more Michener. He’s one of those Book of the Month icons that anyone soaked in a little academia is conditioned to ignore because popular.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            I read a couple, many years ago – meticulously researched, accurate and entertaining, but I found his dialog/relationships (especially between men and women) a little “stilted”.

            But, I’m not much of a reader anymore – I’d rather drink and watch baseball on TV

  • avatar
    matador

    Used, yes in some cases. New? Nope.

    If a 10 year old Chinese-built car is a reliable vehicle, then I’d own one. But, I won’t be the guinea pig. I’ll leave that to someone a little more daring than I am….

  • avatar
    STS_Endeavour

    I would try not to, but then again my current American car was built in Canada. My favored replacements for it are American cars built in Mexico and Australia, or a Japanese car built in Kentucky. So, if were to come down to walk or drive, sure, sign me up for an American car built in China.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    But the uaw tells us that the amount of labor cost is a very small percentage of the total cost!!!!

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If the vehicles built in the same Chinese plant had accumulated a good reliability and quality record, sure. I don’t think TEH CHINEEZ AR TEH EVUL. I also don’t think favoring American-manufactured goods just because they’re made here is ultimately good for Americans.

    But Chinese manufacturing is hit-or-miss on quality, so I’d need the reassurance of a good record. It’s not all bad, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong. An American company manufacturing in China has to keep very tight control over the process, staying vigilant over time. It’s possible — Apple, for instance, has a pretty good record on product quality, which has been improving over time — but rare.

  • avatar
    Chan

    So Chinese labour is no longer the fractional cost it once was, at least in the coastal regions where systems are more in place and management/QC is maturing.

    In the end, when all of the supply chain is kept in tip-top shape, manufacturing in China no longer presents a huge discount to an American company. With the scale of the auto industry there still is an advantage, but eventually this will go away. Coastal manufacturing continues to shift to more skill- and technology-intensive goods, and the more basic operations move to cheaper regions, and eventually to cheaper countries.

    How China itself deals with these changes will also affect the rest of the world. Will it drop out of FTAs and other trade deals once its own people are being outbid by other countries? Will its homegrown companies start to move west/south for manufacturing?

  • avatar

    Yes. It’s no worse than an American-built American car.

    Chinese engineering, objectively, involves lowest-bidder work and cost-cutting at all measures. It was proven in a study that Chinese automobiles are not quite ready for primetime. But as far as a Chinese-built car? Sure. Traditionally, we see American manufacturers outsourcing the manufacture of their products to China in order to do it on the extreme cheap, but the Chinese will exhibit the same world-class build quality as anyone else if your budget is right (Apple products, for example). Besides, it’s the manufacturing company (in this case, GM’s) job to ensure that build quality is to spec, no matter where the car is built. If it turns out to be a piece of crap, I’m going to be angry at GM, not the Chinese factory that built it. And again, today’s cars tend to have more problems because of how they’re engineered than where they’re assembled.

    That said, if I were GM, I would take a good long look and maybe reconsider this, given the stigma surrounding Chinese-built products and the taxpayer bailout.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I would say a resounding no. I’ve had American built American cars, Japanese built Japanese cars, German built German cars, and American built Japanese cars, so all over the place.

    I place Germans at the top end of the spectrum for quality. Everything is tight, well fitting and proper. Japanese are a peg down. Still pretty good, but slightly bigger tolerances. American is another peg down. Still decent quality, but some models lack consistency.

    All of this lines up with each respective country’s cultural values. German are very precise, punctual, disciplined, etc. Japanese are similar. Americans are a little more rambunctious and cut the occasional corner, but mostly still do a good job. Chinese on the other hand, quick, cheap and dirty. I’ve breathed the air in Beijing. It’s all about making money quickly and cheaply. Never mind quality. Why have a clean power plant when you can save money on emissions equipment and belch soot over your capitol city?

    • 0 avatar
      340-4

      You consider GERMAN cars tops in quality?

      From your description I think you mean initial perceived build quality.

      Nobody would consider a ten plus year old BMW ‘quality’ compared to a Honda or Toyota of the same vintage, would they?

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Sure, quality in the first 10 years. Most people don’t keep cars too much longer than that anyway.

        Anyway with something old/used maintenance is the #1 factor. I’d take a 15 year old ML-Class that was dealer serviced according to schedule over a 15 year old 4Runner that was occasionally serviced by a lube shop.

        German cars get a bad rep as a whole rap because of the used buyers. It’s not the manufacturers fault if an owner doesn’t service it exactly to schedule, beyond printing a manual and sending a few post cards there is nothing they can do.

        • 0 avatar
          Frylock350

          Funny thing is that most American and Japanese cars will continue to be reliable even if the maintenance schedule isn’t followed.

          I’d take the jiffy lube 4-Runner. The Toyota motor has a much higher tolerance for nonsense and cannot be defeated by something as simple as 87 octane gas. That’s not even considering the durability of the rest of the vehicle versus the ML.

  • avatar
    340-4

    There’s a bad assumption here:

    That the automaker would pass the savings on to the consumer. I doubt highly that they would.

    The entire point of the system is to increase profit margins.

    Look at gas, look at meat.

    The prices might drop a bit but not by that much.

    Stock prices, however! And CEO pay and bonuses!

    The typical sloppy Americonsumer won’t notice – too busy being cleverly distracted by ‘political issues’, hue hue hue.

    I won’t buy a Chinese built car.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Those who rail against Chinese made cars are the same people who rail against the UAW.

    BTW, Mark, remind me why you think Hellcat is American again? Dutch company, British HQ, Italian leadership. The most American thing about FCA are the rubes they brainwash into yelling ‘MURICA’ every time they hear ‘Hellcat’.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      I rail against both. UAW got too greedy and tanked their constituents. They made it hard for the big 3 to pump out quality products when the automakers were required to pay healthcare for the next 8 generations of their families, bear in mind this is a job that does not necessitate a high school degree.

      • 0 avatar
        Exfordtech

        No one pointed a gun at the management of the domestic automakers and said give the UAW anything it wants. Short sighted management never dreamed that outside competition would upset their apple cart and make them unable to pay those contracts down the road. If you were in the union at the time, asked for the moon and got it, would you have said “oh no that’s too much pie for me”?

        • 0 avatar
          DweezilSFV

          And there’s the point. GM Corporate and the UAW screwed that company from both ends for decades. And all us “rubes” out there thought we were doing our “patriotic duty” buying ‘Merican.

          They screwed themselves and the public with the resulting product. Thanks for rewarding my loyalty, guys. And Eff off. You don’t deserve my loyalty, though I don’t think I’d consider a Chinese built GM car.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        To be fair, the reason why GM can built the compact Cruze, much less the subcompact Sonic, profitably in the US is due to the unlimited no. of tier-2 wage earners.

        But at $15/hr – simply cannot compete against the $4-5/hr wages that auto assemblers get in Mexico (which is why Ford, Toyota, etc. are all moving production of their compacts/smaller cars to Mexico).

        And that $4-5/hr wage is only for workers at Mexican plants owned by the automakers.

        For the suppliers, wages can be as low as the minimum wage in Mexico which is $5 a day.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Why focus on just China? People used to object to cars made in Japan – now they love them. Plenty of global pickups are made in Thailand. Land Rovers will soon all come from India. I have been driven in many Chinese Buicks and I liked the fit and finish better than the American cars. BMWs come from South Africa, plenty of cars are heche in Mexico, lots of European cars are from behind the old iron curtain.
    I say buy a car on its merits.
    ( Before you comment that I live in a country which is about to lose its last three automakers, I know that. The profits went overseas anyway)

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      B/c Japan, Germany, Canada, South Korea, the UK, Australia, etc. – are all democracies (and US allies) whereas the PRC is still a totalitarian state and the biggest threat to the US.

      Not many choices when buying consumer goods like apparel, toys or most electronics, but for autos – plenty of choices for other than made in China.

      It would be different proposition if they were to be imported from Taiwan as opposed to from the PRC.

  • avatar
    Maintainer

    As long as my “Dream Car” at this hypothetical point isn’t a Buick I’m good.

  • avatar
    gasser

    No. The poison pet food did it for me.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      But lead based paint is actually something that might benefit your car, unlike a child’s toy.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      Gasser: don’t forget the poisonous baby food, toxic dry wall, laminate flooring gassing, flammable baby clothes, lead and mercury contaminated cosmetics, anti freeze sweetened toothpaste and counterfeit designer products.

      Can’t let that go so easily no matter how well my computer works.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    In a word, no….after all the recalls of Chinese products-wallboard, pet food, toys with lead paint, etc. I would not buy a Chinese built car. The only purpose would be to increase corporate profits.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      So have recalls of US or Europe-sourced building materials and foodstuffs convinced you not to buy any cars assembled in the US or Europe?

      Example: Would you not buy a German-made car because of horsemeat in meatballs?

      • 0 avatar
        DweezilSFV

        Good point and another aspect of the discussion. Have we been well served by our own home grown products ? I think not. Could a Chinese built GM product be as bad as a GMNA built product? Or a Korean Aveo? Or Catera?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Nobody wants to, but everybody will.

  • avatar
    Preludacris

    I’d be about as likely to buy a Chinese-built American car as any American car, which is to say, not likely at all (the main obstacle being that Honda never built Preludes in America).

  • avatar

    There have been studies done showing that Mexico is already cheaper for manf then China so if were not getting a discount now we won’t see it with made in China cars (maybe state owned company cars but not major branded ones). I’m sure eventually Americans will accept China made car but it might not make sense. I was pretty sure the USA would become cheaper for manufacturing then China next year given growth trends but we’ll have to see how this latest economic kerfuffle plays out.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Factory location has little to do with the quality of the final product. It’s component selection, design, and management oversight of the process that counts, Any factory/supplier will cut corners if given the chance. You have to manage the details, whether the factory is in Detroit, Mexico, or China.

  • avatar

    On a personal note China has proven itself to me anyways to make crap.I’m not saying that it all is but you only get burned so many times before you think twice about it and the more important the product is to your life the more you think about it. Also how much choice you have. If I have a choice I will almost always choose other then China made from personal experience.

    This is just as simple as the million of Americans that no longer buy from the big 3 you only get burned so many times before a bad impression is formed. Often times this impression is outdated after while but it’s hard to overcome. I for instance would have a tough time buying a Ford after many bad experiences in the 90’s. I like the Flex and I may buy one someday but it would be a hard thing to overcome.

    • 0 avatar
      Exfordtech

      The 3.5/6F50 combo is about as bulletproof as they get in my experience (08 Taurus X approaching 200k trouble free miles).

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Other than the horrible 3.8L V-6, Ford engines in the 1990s were pretty good. You frequently see 3.0L Vulcans and Duratecs with 200k+, same with the old 302 (5.0L), 5.8L as well as the Modular V-8s. The Lima 2.3L was a good engine, less so when enlarged to 2.5L for whatever reason. The Zetec is a great little 4 banger, the SPI 2.0L in 97+ Escort sedan certainly isnt my favorite but, keep the timing belt changed and its not too bad. I met a guy recently with his one-owner (himself) 98 F-150 5.4L with 349k miles on it, never rebuilt, not even head gaskets that some early 5.4Ls had issues with.

        Now, FWD automatic transaxles? Different story. CD4E? Terrible. But, its not like Ford is alone here. If I had a nickel for every Oddyssy, Accord or Civic I see from the mid 2000s+ (or Preludes from 97-01) with bad automatics going for cheap on craigslist, I could probably afford to buy myself a decent last-gen manual Prelude and continue to shake my head when I see those ads.

        Exceptions to every rule: parents got 200k out of their 97 Sable with very minimal repairs (no rebuilds, usually $100 +/- items like water pump at 175k, etc) and spotty maintenance (I encouraged or performed myself trans fluid/filter changes at least every 40-50k). Sold it still running/driving well, Army guy who bought it drove it 2500 miles home. Also, my 95 Taurus rolled over to 196k last night, still shifts great. Neighbor’s 97 Taurus has like 258k on its original powertrain. The transaxle does not like WOT from a stop, but doesnt slip and when driven normally does very well considering.

        • 0 avatar

          The issue started with my Dads 78 econoline that constatly has shifter linkage issues (3 speed on the tree) Also lots of carb issues. Mu sister has 2 escort wagons in the 90’s one was bullet proof the other thru the auto tranny at about 90k. As well as numerous other issues (airbag light coming on off etc). I had a 4cyl contour bought used from my inlaws who bought it new. I got it with 80k on it they had the tranny replaced at the dealer under an exteneded warranty somewhere near 50k miles. It also always ran rough for them despite brining it back to the dealer for the problem about 5 times based on the recipts in the glove box. It kept running until 120k when I sold it but it sounded like a bag or rocks. It also had an unitended acceleration event with my wife when the throttle body somehow jammed open (spring was fine). A shame on that car thou because it handled beautifully if it had the v6 I might have kept it.
          The final nail for me was my 4wd club experience most of the guys in the club in the early 2000’s were Ford guys (some as wheelers some as tow vehicles) A bunch of the guys ended up with issues with the 5.4 and 6.0 power storkes that really were bad. One guy had two 5.4 installed in his f150 before the warranty ran out and he traded it in.

  • avatar
    baconator

    Well, Chinese Volvos seem to be selling like hotcakes.

    I’m just old enough to remember when people made fun of “Japanese rustboxes.” That took some time to end, but it ended. With global manufacturers managing Chinese plants to their global quality systems & standards, Made In China likely won’t be a pejorative forever. The only question is whether the march to respectability will take 10 years or 25 years.

  • avatar
    George B

    I’d be more concerned with management for the American brand cost reducing the car to death than the Chinese factory doing a poor job of assembly. If management demands cost reduction while allowing the Chinese to build cheap crap from substandard parts, the Chinese will build cheap crap from substandard parts. However, if the Chinese factory knows that there will be independent quality control and there will be severe financial penalties for low quality work, the factory will do good work.

    I work for a company that refurbishes and retests electronic products, most of which are built in China. In theory we could make warranty claims if we could identify product that failed due to manufacturing defects. In practice, we don’t make warranty claims back to the OEM because almost everything broken has suffered some type of obvious abuse. Cell phones fail with broken plastic and glass when dropped on concrete for example. My Rohde & Schwarz test equipment which costs about the same as an exotic sports car is flaky with software bugs that would embarrass Microsoft while cheap Chinese cell phones from Huawei are surprisingly good. This occurs not because the Chinese are good, but because AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are extremely demanding customers who test the hell out of any phone that goes on their networks.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    I snorted when I read in the article that GM would give you a $5,000 discount… do you get discount when the car is not from the US or Germany or Canada or any other western country?

    No. And why would you expect it from China? The idea is to give the company a break, not you.

    And is China even that cheap any more?

    I am of the opinion it doesnt matter. It hasnt mattered for a long time.

    China builds Mercedes C and E classes. And Audis I beleive. These are indistinguishable from the German built cars… not that that is a high bar… we are talking about entry German cars that havent exactly lit the reliability charts on fire.

    China builds stuff that cant be built in any other nation.

    Why would you think building cars is so hard?

    Sure they build a lot of crap. I cant say that every other country out there builds 100% sterling stuff either.

    By content, a lot of the cars you drive now are filled with made in china components. So why is chinese labor in chinese factories building from the same chinese made parts such a bit leap that cant be tolerated?

    I understand the stigma. Its irrational.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    I go out of my way to avoid Chinese made aftermarket parts,(something that’s getting harder to do) why would I buy a whole car? But I also only buy used cars, so this likely won’t be an issue for me for another decade.

  • avatar
    Funky

    No.

  • avatar
    snoproblem

    Hell no.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I bought my ’13 Malibu because it was assembled in Kansas City, and the engine and tranny were sourced from the USA. That said, it has a lower percentage of USA-sourced parts than some Japanese brands assembled in the USA, so I assume that there’s probably quite a few Chinese parts in the car to keep the price attractive.

    I have (for my own entertainment, and sometimes to make the bar patrons laugh) a long-running “conspiracy theory” (starting in the 1970’s with all of the Japanese imports) that these products contain small amounts of poison, radioactive materials, or even explosive devices (all designed to go off at once, at the flip of a “master switch”), that will render America helpless, and subjugated to our “foreign masters”.

    Oddly enough, some of the stories about Chinese-sourced products of late seem to hint at this “theory” having some basis in fact.

    But, when one looks into it, it’s not a Communist Master Plan that allows poison flooring/drywall, lead paint, etc into USA consumer products, but good ol’ Market-Based Capitalism.

    Safety/Profit – we’ll make that cost/benefit analysis, and choose “Profit” every time, because that’s what “greases” this machine we’ve built (and the Chinese have duplicated).

  • avatar
    PeterKK

    I don’t really buy American anyway. :p If I did though it’d be a Ford methinks.

    All this GM owes us something mojo feels weird and entitled. Don’t they owe us more affordable cars, too?

    I dunno. I feel like lots of Chinese manufacturing is crap, but I feel like it doesn’t have to be. Still. It WOULD probably give me pause.

    Maybe I can check the stats on lemons first? :P

  • avatar
    turf3

    Where are my tariffs? I want my tariffs!

  • avatar
    slance66

    I wouldn’t trust anything Chinese made with my life. That includes tires by the way, check yours.

    I will happily buy Japanese or German branded cars made there or in the USA. I won’t buy cars made in Mexico either.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      “I wouldn’t trust anything Chinese made with my life.”

      So you never fly on airplanes, then?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I didnt know Everett, Washington was in China.
        All the years I lived there, I just never noticed I was thousands of miles from the US as I drove on the Boeing Freeway on my way to/from work.

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          As the aviation expert you clearly are I’m sure you are aware that both Boeing and Airbus source safety-critical aircraft components from China.

          If you are absolutely unwilling to trust your life to parts manufactured in China you should not fly on any airplane made in the last few decades.

          If you are willing to fly on recent-production aircraft then quit it with the “I don’t trust any Chinese stuff with my safety” bit.

          “Airbus expects to spend $1 billion a year for parts from China by 2020, Reuters reported Tuesday.

          That is about twice what it currently spends.

          Boeing also expects to double how much it buys from China “in coming years,” according to a news release from the Chicago-based company.

          The airplane maker has spent about $2 billion on components and assemblies from China during the past 30 years.”

          Reference: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20141111/blog01/141119746

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            Not only that, but the entire aerospace and avionics industry relies heavily on engineering talent overseas in China and India. So even the design component comes from there.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Firstly …No I wont. I fridge maybe, different odds and ends yes.
    Would the average customer care. They wont notice until it breaks. If it falls apart after 6-12 months (majorly) or even just several minor hiccups. Once they notice then you will have an issue.

    Being originally from HighPoint NC area and worked in the furniture industry I can tell you that there really is a big different between here and there. However some AMerican OEMs have their products sourced from China and put together here and you still can tell without even reading the labels.

    Weber grills used to be totally made and sourced in the US however several years ago they started getting parts from China but still said it was made in the USA. They got in some trouble for it and now their boxes stated assembled in the US with Chinese parts. I have read so many forums where rust is now an issue vs in the past when it was all US sourced it was not. My father inlaw had a kettle for 20 years just setting outside uncovered and it never really rusted however the newer one we bought for him 2 years ago looks a little worse than his old one already.

    Like someone said up top. Its one think to have a phone made there but another to drive freeway speeds and have things go wrong. The one thing I will say is that when a Chinese made product goes bad it really goes bad in a bad way..

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I personally wouldn’t and I try to avoid Chinese products wherever possible. My cell phone is assembled in the USA, I assemble my own computers (Taiwan and Malaysia manufacture much of the hardware), I own a made in USA truck, a made in Japan camera, Milwaukee, Snap-on and Makita tools made in USA/Japan, most of my major appliances are made in USA, etc. When purchasing products I will always look for American made and if that isn’t available Japanese made.

    As for Apple manufacturing iPhones here, they absolutely could. I remember Google saying the cost to assemble the first gen MotoX in the states was only $5 higher than China. Apple can eat that cost or even bake it in the phones MSRP. It’s not like the profit margin isn’t already huge.

  • avatar
    Gregg

    Chinese cars will be sold here and people will buy them. The price will be right for the new brands, and just like Japanese cars and Korean cars, they will start out cheaper and with lower reliability. And then improve. It is almost inevitable. Plus, the Chinese will have another angle. Established brands that have sold here for decades (e.g., Volvo, Buick) will ship cars with current build standards and prices to the US from China. Lots of people will avoid them on principle or for other reasons, but as Wal-Mart has proven, you can have huge stores chock-a-block full of Chinese goods and people will flock to buy.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Established brands that have sold here for decades (e.g., Volvo, Buick) will ship cars with current build standards and prices to the US from China.”

      This will make all the difference to the casual buyer because they won’t shy away from what they don’t notice. Not like trying to market a Geely or Great Wall or Joyous Lotus Blossom or whatever.

      The major disadvantage they’ll have relative the Japanese onslaught is not having an egregious quality and fuel economy disadvantage on the part of our domestic (including transplant) cars to exploit.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    What people say and what they actually do…two very different things. Guess we’ll get our answer when the Buicks and Tauruses start arriving on the West Coast. In the meantime, everyone please relax and enjoy your American/Japanese/German car full of Chinese electronics.

  • avatar
    jkk6

    Building regulations & quality control(Fuel reserve plant explosion in Tianjin), Human swallowing 5 year old escalator systems(20+ instances in 2015), Imitation cheese(fake food, material selection), Japanese manufactured products with 200k+ miles with only oil changes…(Manufacturing process) so many minor things that fly through my mind when choosing a Chinese built and assembled product.

    I’ve been told by many mechanics that the best amount of torque to apply on any nut or bolt is by the feel of the hand. And the amount of torque that any American applies to each bold I say differ to that of any Chinaman or Mexican or German. For now I’ll stick to having a Samurai put on each bolt until his boss sees a sweat break on his employees forehead product.

    • 0 avatar
      Exfordtech

      I don’t want my headgaskets, cams, intake, wheels, valve body, or main bearings torqued by feel. Sure, there are some areas where German spec (gudentight) is appropriate. I would question the skill of any “mechanic” that feels otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      These mechanics are wrong.

      The “best” amount of torque is the proper torque specified by the design engineer. This torque can be reliably applied by a calibrated torque driver.

      Quality torque drivers are widely available, even in China. Global automotive OEMs are very knowledgeable in the selection and use of torque control equipment.

      If a car has a failure due to improper torque it’s probably not related to the country where the torque was applied.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    You mention iconic American sports cars as an example, I think anyone who would consider such a car would be offended by a Made in China sticker. Thats like putting a Sharpie beard on the Mona Lisa.

    Now, if we are talking about a Chevy Spark or Sonic, I doubt many would care where it was made, especially if it was significantly cheaper but of similar build quality to what it would be if made in Korea or North America. As you said with the Honda Fit, few noticed or cared. A Corvette or Mustang would be a whole other matter.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Of course, what happened with all those stickshifts in the Mustangs which blew apart a couple years ago? (Getrag, Tremec, don’t recall. Was it in the Boss 302 or other specific application, or was anything with a V8 in front a candidate for failure?) Made in China.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    A Chinese car would have to be priced low enough to reflect its poor quality/reliability and torpedoing resale value. That’s not likely to happen.

    I’ll buy the specialized “Harbor Freight” tools because they’re ridiculously low priced, and they just have to last long enough to finish whatever project I’m working on. Then I’m not stuck with expensive tools I’ll never use again, since I’m not in the ‘business’. With cars, it’s a little different. They can’t possibly be priced low enough to justify throwing them away at the end of the warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      I can actually appreciate a company like Harbor Freight. Their stuff is priced for “one time” use, and you’ll be absolutely ecstatic if it lasts a few years. GM doesn’t even price their American-made stuff realistically.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Would I buy a Chinese-made ‘American’ car? Probably not. I wouldn’t buy a US made ‘American’ car either. If GM closes its US operations and the UAW is just an ugly memory, then I would consider a Chinese made GM product. It would have to be a much better vehicle than anything they’re making today though.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    To turn it around a bit, soon enough you will be able to build American made Chinese cars, although I guess there are already a higher number of Chinese parts in the US market cars than most will want to admit.
    As for the quality of Chinese products in general, as with most countries, you get what you pay for, but there are some things you need to watch out for. The company I work for have had some problems with long term consistency in outsourced products, partly because we want to ‘cut costs, no matter the cost’, but also because there are some cultural differences.
    As far as I understand, you are ‘supposed to’ change your job down there very often compared to what us Scandinavians are used too, and people who keep the same job, without getting promoted for a long time (more than 3-4 years), are just not respected and looked down upon, leading to some problems when our engineers that are sent down there, with 15-30 years of experience in their field is sent down to check how the factory is doing, and have to redo all the routines, since most of the key employees they originally trained have been replaced since the last time they were there…

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “you are ‘supposed to’ change your job down there very often”

      That’s often made easier than in the West when your company, after a few year’s run of selling toxic products, responds to a sham government crack-down by moving a little ways down the river and setting up shop under a different name making a different toxic product and with a different locale’s workers.

      Having to scrabble for another job when you’re not in the owner’s extended family so they don’t take you with them qualifies, I guess, as “changing jobs”.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        I see your point, but the ones that have been at our factory for training confirmed it. They looked at me like a weirdo when I said I had the same job testing our equipment for 6 years. They don’t seem to understand the importance of experience in the same way we do.
        I met one of them again three years later, and then (off course) he was not in the same position anymore (he had changed job, and been promoted in the meantime), so all the training I gave him was more or less wasted…
        As for what someone said above here about torque, I can confirm that some well educated Chinese or Indian service engineers (men or women) can barely lift a semi-powerful impact wrench with both hands ,and I could dual wield those (and I’m not a particulary strong man).
        PS; these guys were city people though, not exactly rice-farmers

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          I wasn’t meaning to discount your point. Rather, I think you reference a vital difference in corporate mentalities between East and West.

          “Experience” to someone from a population crucible like China or anywhere else in East Asia except (only recently) Japan more demands a facility for building personal experience in navigating the tumultuous floating islands of opportunity making quick killings with ersatz products through family financing and bribery of officials than it does experience in building up and sustaining corporate fortresses.

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            Yeah, I guess I didn’t think much about the reasons why they ‘preferred’ to change jobs often before.
            But it seems we are catching up with them, especially when it comes to employees that are not really vital for production, but who sadly has a huge effect and do not understand their responsibilities , or the effect of their complete lack of competence. (more or less anyone under 30 who wears a shirt to work tbh)
            It seems senior management is more and more intent on employing someone solely based on the paperwork they carry, and their powerpoint presentations. Highly intelligent people who wander around bothering working people, while desperately trying to figure out what kind on black magic we are performing (luckily there are exceptions) while being put to do ‘projects’ that are more complicated than they would be able to explain to us ‘simple workers’, since we share no common reference point. All decided by management that are even further separated from ‘the real world’.
            It’s about as sensible as if if dogs had hired fish to try to find out what ants were doing, and then they will nod knowingly when the fish explain them what they think the ants are doing, and then they would tell the fish to hire shrubbery to help make the ants more effective in whatever they are doing…

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    No. I’m philosophically opposed to our present trade relationship with China. They manipulate their currency, disregard their environment, and rely on the cheap labor of an impoverished citizenry to maintain their low prices.

    They also own too much U.S. debt right now because they buy T-Bonds as part of their strategy to keep their currency lower than the dollar. That’s giving them too much leverage over our economy and maybe even policy if the trade gap continues to grow.

    We do export to China but the relationship is laughably one sided. In 1985, our trade deficit with China was $6,000,000. It grew every year since then and in 2014, it was $343,079,000,000. That has to be reduced in the interest of fairness.

    http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html

    And oh yea, their products generally suck. But that’s far from the only reason I wouldn’t buy a Chinese car.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Probably won’t buy a Chinese made vehicle!

    Then again, I don’t buy “American” brand cars like GM or Ford either. I was close to considering a Ford car but decided against it when I rented some and the ride/quality weren’t there.

    I also remembered the times when I walked into a Ford dealership or two… no help whatsoever and attitude from those that did offer some sort of assistance. Just walked out.

  • avatar
    EAF

    I can’t believe the Honda Fit is built in China, I had no idea.

    I did not read the entire thread but I will say that I work incredibly hard for my earnings. I would risk $200 on a Chinese built smartphone but would not, under any circumstance , purchase a $20k Chinese built appliance.

    If I am buying new, my car will be built on US soil, even if some Chinese parts are included.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      The US never got a Chinese-built Fit, and in Canada, it was just the last year or two of the second generation. The third generation is now built in Mexico for both countries.

  • avatar
    lon888

    I work for an Asian government in the aircraft industry and we use Chinese laborers. When properly motivated, they do really excellent work. If GM uses the right management, the Chinese-built cars may be superior to the UAW-built cars. Just because its Chinese built don’t expect a price drop. GM is going to China because the labor force is cheap and plentiful. They just want their profits to increase – you know good ole American greed.

    Don’t count the Chinese out yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I don’t think Chinese ‘on the floor’ workers are the problem. Several car manufacturers are able to build quality cars even in Britain today , so there are definitely some management issues and challenges involved in building a quality product.
      I’d rather have a Chinese built Honda than a Chinese built GM…

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        @Zykotec – no offense, but I’m still finding stickers and such on my MINI that shouldn’t still be on the car after manufacture, let alone two years later.. LOL!

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          I didn’t say that all car manufacturers were successful in building quality cars in Britain ;), it also helps if the factory is owned by someone who already has a reputation for quality.

  • avatar
    fvfvsix

    I will pay inordinate amounts of money to avoid buying certain “Made in China” products. Chinese business culture pretty much ensures that your supplier will ship absolute crap to you (just to make money on the “killer” price they’re selling at) if they know you can’t inspect every item. We did it to ourselves, though. The lowest prices on the planet will always be accompanied by the lowest quality. Idiotic American & European businessmen are either ignorant of this fact, or they could give a crap about their customers.

    So, no go on the cars for me.

    Signed,

    The guy who paid $1000 for a German-made paper shredder after having to return two still-expensive pieces of made-in-China crap.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    No way. I’d say China is 40 years behind the Japanese, for example, in anything automotive. They can assemble in mass quantities but can’t innovate on its own. Perhaps we’ll start seeing how Volvo does soon.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Without wading through all the previous comments, I’m going to say with resounding certainty that I “might” buy a Chinese made big three auto. It would come down to the particular car and selling price.
    I didn’t always think this way as I come from a blue collar family that was heavily involved with the big three as parts suppliers. This era is over and now no one in the family has a direct connection to the domestic auto industry. I blame the big three and their slavish devotion in the inflationary 1970s to the next quarter’s profits for the decline of the domestic auto industry. They could have made quality products but choose to shave a few cents on this and that part instead. In the end, all they did was degrade the product and open the door for the Japanese auto manufacturers.
    While the UAW had some role in this, they were more of a reactionary bit player in the decline of the industry.
    For a more detailed explanation of the turbulence during this time, I recommend Clayton Christenson’s excellent book “The Innovators Dillenia” circa 2005.

  • avatar
    carnick

    NEVER.

    I’ve seen too many examples of the single-minded cost-cutting with so many products made in China. Buying plastic kitchen ware made in China is one thing, but anything with moving parts, no thanks.

    I don’t care how ‘cheap’ the price might be, if a car is made in China, for that reason alone I won’t buy it.

    I almost didn’t buy my 2015 Mustang GT because the Getrag manual transmission is made in China.

  • avatar
    415s30

    Well I am a union member in SF and I don’t buy things from China if I can help it, I like well made stuff that lasts. I like my old Japanese cars but I would never buy a Shelby built in China, thats fuct.


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