Chinese Numerology, FAW Edition
China’s FAW, despite its name (First Automobile Works) only second largest manufacturer in China, joint venture partner of Volkswagen and Toyota, and owner of a large array of brands, including the Hongqi, has filed its contribution to the 12th Five-Year Plan (pretty much the only holdover from the olden days) with China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC). The numbers, brought to us by CapitalVue, are both audacious and timorous.
Red Flag Car - The Real Thing
When we reported that FAW will revive the monstrous Red Flag CA7600L limousine, it received mixed reviews. Some wanted it sight unseen. Others puked in the corner. Ever since I arrived in China, my secret wish had been to own the real thing, the huge handmade Red Flag car that luminaries used to drive down Chang’an Avenue. I had been told they don’t exist anymore. I had been lied to.
Oh, No! They'll Build It!
In April, everybody who walked by the FAW display at the Beijing Auto Show, yours truly included, did a double-take and took a lot of pictures upon seeing their Red Flag CA7600L monstrosity. It was a huge crowd magnet, and everybody walked away, muttering: “They’ll never build THAT.” Boy was everybody wrong.
Volkswagen To Open New Plant In China's Strike Central
Most likely filled with a certain degree of foreboding, Volkswagen signed today contracts with their joint venture partner FAW to build a new plant in the south of China, we hear from a Volkswagen press release. That VW has designs on building cars in the South of China is no news to the avid TTAC reader. But why the anxiety?
China's Car Makers Are Raking It In
While (usually foreign) analysts are dead worried about the Chinese car bubble to pop and never to be seen again, Chinese car companies are happily raking it in. Western companies, mortgaged to the hilt, or on government life support, are developing a serious case of China-envy.
What's Wrong With That Picture: Besturn B70 Wins Top Chinese Design Award
And the winner is (left.)
China’s 11th Five-Year Plan (they still have one of those) encourages industrial design as one of the six key modern service sectors that will receive priority support from the central government.
One of these support measures was the creation of a government-sponsored patent award, which “ aims to boost the nation’s intellectual property strategy and accelerate creation of proprietary intellectual property,” as Gasgoo put it.
FAW’s Besturn B70 was the only design patent to win a gold medal at the 11th China Patent Awards in Beijing. There is just a small niggling problem:
My Chinese Car Is Bigger Than Your Western Car
There is an interesting analysis on Chinacarforums: China-produced Western cars tend to come out bigger than their Western siblings. Especially at the higher end. A made-in-China Cadillac STS is 124mm longer than the U.S. sister model. The wheelbase grew by 100mm. A Chinese Audi A6 L has gained 97 mm in length over the Made-in-Ingolstadt relative. A BMW 5-series, made at the Chinese joint venture with Brilliance, has gained a whopping 140 mm in length and wheelbase over the Bavarian model.
While America Slept. Thursday, February 5th 2009
GM flirting with FAW: GM is holding discussions with major Chinese automaker FAW Group to form a partnership for light commercial vehicles, Reuters reports. The two parties have already registered a name with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, which is the first step of Chinese joint venture courtship. GM already makes light commercial vehicles in China in a three-way tie-up with SAIC and Liuzhou Wuling. GM manufactures Buicks in Shanghai with SAIC, China’s largest auto maker. FAW, one China’s three biggest automakers, operates car manufacturing ventures with Volkswagen and Toyota. SAIC is also in a joint venture with VW. SAIC and FAW have been considered bitter rivals, although there are reports of a thawing. GM said its commercial vehicle venture in China sold 19.7 percent more vehicles in January than a year earlier, helped largely by sales of the Wuling Sunshine minivans.