Christmas resulted in a lot of toys under a lot of trees. That’s good. If they are Chinese, I will buy them a generation from now. If you keep them in their original box, I will pay you more. I am a fanatic collector of Chinese tin toys. I will show you around in my collection. Today, part 1.
Christmas is over so we go back to war. This is the newest kill-machine of the Chinese army. It is a 4×4 armored vehicle based on the Dongfeng EQ2050 ( thank you America!). The new car seems designed as a hit-and-run fast attack vehicle with a big turret on the roof for a big fat machine gun or rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
Chinese media are going wild because BBC’s Top Gear has landed in China. Jeremy Clarkson and James May arrived in Beijing for filming a new Top Gear episode which will be on TV in next year’s season. Judging from the pictures take on-scene, the shoot seems to center on two topics, and both may make the Chinese car industry lose the ever so important face.
Earlier on, I had written an article at my website about how AM General had helped China develop its Humvee-clone, the Dongfeng EQ 2050. AM General was not the only American company that hand a hand in arming the Chinese army. There was another one: Chrysler.
Beijing-Jeep was a Chinese-American joint venture with Beijing Auto Works (BAW) and Chrysler. The Chrysler-based Beijing-Jeep 2022 shown above later changed its name to Beijing 2022. It now is the most widely used 4×4 in the Chinese army.
How did all this happen?
In China, a “sub-brand” is a brand under a foreign-Chinese joint venture. Examples: Venucia under Dongfeng-Nissan, or Everus under Guangzhou-Honda. ( Bertel insists that “sub-brand” is a misnomer, but TIC, This Is China, and he better get used to it.)
The Chinese central government ordered the joint ventures to start the sub-brands. “Order” is maybe too harsh a word, let’s call it strong recommendation. Resistance by the foreign partner is futile. If the foreign partner would ignore the wishes of the Chinese government, life would suddenly become very difficult. Applications for new factories, new cars, new permits, new visa for employees, etc etc, would suddenly be delayed or outright refused.
Why does the Chinese government want the sub-brands? Two words:
Alfa Romeo debuted as a brand on the Guangzhou Auto Show and they brought… only two cars, and a concept car. Those were the MiTo, the Giulietta and the 4C. Sales are said to begin sometime in 2012. Fiat doesn’t have a working joint venture in China, production at the new Guangzhou-Fiat JV is still at least two years away, so all Alfa’s will be imported and therefore expensive. Will the Chinese buy them?