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Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the but-will-they-be-reliable-like-american-cars dept.

China 431

cartechboy (2660665) writes "Made In China." It's a sticker we all know too well here in the U.S., and yet, it seems not everything we buy is made in China. To date, there haven't been Chinese-built cars in the U.S., but we keep hearing they are coming. Now it seems it's about to become a reality, as Chinese-built Volvos will be arriving in the U.S. as early as 2015. The first model to arrive will be the S60L. The payoff for Volvo if it manages to convince buyers that its cars built in China are just as good as those currently built in Europe is vast. Not only will it save on production costs, but it will help buffer against exchange rate fluctuations. Volvo's planning to make China a manufacturing hub, and that makes sense since it's now owned by Chinese parent company Geely. But will Chinese-built cars be just as good as European-built cars, and will consumers be able to tell the difference?

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Bets, anyone? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255279)

Anyone want to make any bets on how long they're being sold here in the U.S. before someone dies in an accident because it was made with sub-standard parts, or poor quality control?

Don't mod me down as a troll or flamebait, either, because it's not like there isn't a history of low-quality crap coming out of China.

Re:Bets, anyone? (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 4 months ago | (#47255303)

So.... the same quality standards as US made (GM) cars then?

Re:Bets, anyone? (3, Informative)

Tailhook (98486) | about 4 months ago | (#47255535)

GM is approaching 50% foreign manufacture for the entire company. Their most popular trucks are 60% foreign [gmauthority.com] now.

Lots of cars in the US already have Chinese parts. Japan has been outsourcing major drive train components to China for years. Chinese manufacturing is sufficient for automotive work. Even hotrod builders in the US use Chinese parts for legacy US designs; Scat and Eagle engine components [jegs.com] are very popular.

Re:Bets, anyone? (1)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 4 months ago | (#47255777)

And yet my Dodge Ram is US body, US engine, US transmission, US tires and made within the last three years.

Re:Bets, anyone? (-1, Troll)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47255801)

The internet is full of special snowflakes.

Re:Bets, anyone? (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#47255575)

The GM problems were in design, which is different. But it doesn't make much difference to the families of the dead people. People are rightly furious at GM and swearing to never buy their cars again.

American and European cars' build quality has gone up hugely in the past 20 years due to automation. Humans are barely involved in chassis assembly or any welding anymore. I have to imagine that these Chinese cars will involve a lot more human labor and will resemble American cars from the 80s.

Re:Bets, anyone? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255793)

American cars have NOT gone up in quality. Ford has, Chrysler to an extent, but GM is utter garbage still. Mostly because they only hire incompetent engineers.

Re:Bets, anyone? (4, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47255335)

I've seen Qoros cars (a Chinese brand) on the roads of Europe for over a year now, and I don't think there's been any real backlash against them. Their sedan has a high Euro NCAP safety rating. One might complain that exterior parts rust faster than a more expensive brand, but then again, one can make that same charge against locally-made low-end cars.

Re:Bets, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255397)

I bet people die because of sub-standard parts every day all over the world today, no matter where the car causing the accident was made. I think Geely bought Volvo because of Volvo's high safety standards. One could at least hope that they try to make the most of keeping that high standard. It would be a big waste of money if the immediately ruin the good reputation Volvo has.

Re:Bets, anyone? (3, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 4 months ago | (#47255625)

If Geely bought Volvo to take Volvo's corporate culture, safety, and quality and apply it to Geely then good for them.

If Geely bought Volvo and took Geely's corporate culture, safety, and quality and applied to to Volvo, then that sucks.

Unfortunately while I'm sure that Geely would love to claim that it did the former, I expect that in the long term, they did the latter.

This is common, even when companies rename themselves post-acquisition. Current Sears is the Kmart corporation that bought Sears and renamed itself, and they're now in the endgame when Kmart crappiness is being applied to what historically had been strong Sears brands like Kenmore and Craftsman. Allied Signal bought Honeywell and renamed itself to Honeywell, and the Allied Signal perspective on "synergy" (translated into layoffs to be 'lean' that have meant that things get missed or dropped because the experienced employees were cut so the projects come in late and over-budget) persists to this day.

The only way that this kind of sale or merger works is if the working parts are left as-is or expanded at the expense of those of the purchasing entity. And most companies that end up big enough to do the buying are too proud to leave them intact.

Re: Bets, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255635)

I bet 1,000 times more people die because of human idiot drivers (texting, drinking, speeding, not getting enough sleep) than die from bad car parts. Of the people I personally know who've died in car crashes, it was all their fault.

Re:Bets, anyone? (1)

nuggz (69912) | about 4 months ago | (#47255467)

As opposed to the US assembled vehicles made with those same Chinese parts?

Re:Bets, anyone? (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#47255645)

The way that you assemble those parts can be very import for safety and reliability.

Re:Bets, anyone? (1)

nuggz (69912) | about 4 months ago | (#47255787)

I'm quite aware of that, which is why the automotive industry is so specific about how everything gets done, and tested.

Really the number of assembly or manufacturing defects in automotive is astonishingly small. A lot of that is all that "overhead" like having a control plan for every single component. The amount of background work to do anything in automotive is really mindboggling.

Re:Bets, anyone? (1)

Yakasha (42321) | about 4 months ago | (#47255515)

Anyone want to make any bets on how long they're being sold here in the U.S. before someone dies in an accident because it was made with sub-standard parts, or poor quality control? Don't mod me down as a troll or flamebait, either, because it's not like there isn't a history of low-quality crap coming out of China.

I was going to make the joke that there will be no measurable difference, but Americans will still manage to notice the difference.
Thanks for the nice setup.

Re:Bets, anyone? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#47255829)

WE already have this problem. Many GM car failures are based on low end China parts. Bad castings on control arms, bad machning on wheel bearings, etc...
It will the the same failure rate as GM DELCO genuine parts.

I know guys that look for remanufacturered older parts that fit before the real OEM replacements because the metal castings are Superior from anything 10+ years old compared to now. China foundrys are cranking out really low quality castings and GM does not care, they just hope they dont fail in 5 years.

Re:Bets, anyone? (2)

Yakasha (42321) | about 4 months ago | (#47255935)

WE already have this problem. Many GM car failures are based on low end China parts. Bad castings on control arms, bad machning on wheel bearings, etc...

Citations?

Re:Bets, anyone? (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#47255699)

Car technology is shit.

Just pull away any panel and look at the switches and connectors. They are the cheapest, nastiest bits of crap you own. It doesn't matter if it's a BMW or a Skoda. They use the same shite parts under the covers. Generally the radio or "Entertainment Center" puts the rest of the car to shame in terms of component quality.

I used to work on race cars and we used mil spec circular connectors [alliedelec.com] . Those things didn't break for want of a little bit of plastic costing $0.00001.

The total added manufacturing cost to using half decent switches and connectors might be $200 for a normal car. So $1000 on the price. Would you pay an extra $1000 for a 'the electrics won't break in 4 years' guarantee?

I'll buy anything from China except food (2)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 4 months ago | (#47255287)

And toothpaste. Sadly it's getting harder and harder to avoid buying food that has at least some ingredients from China.

Re:I'll buy anything from China except food (2)

rubycodez (864176) | about 4 months ago | (#47255333)

don't lick the red cars

Re:I'll buy anything from China except food (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255409)

And, sadly, this trend will continue, and have the net effect of gutting every other economy on the planet.

Globalization is a race to the bottom, and we're all winning.

I blame America for this. Because they've been leading the charge in gutting the domestic economy so that shareholders and other idiots can get more and more profit while cutting jobs and not paying taxes.

I predict these cars will be absolute crap.

Re:I'll buy anything from China except food (1)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 4 months ago | (#47255891)

Globalization is a race to the bottom...

Well, that and shareholder primacy.

Re:I'll buy anything from China except food (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255543)

try shopping the meat and produce sections. Food doesn't come in a bag or in a box.

Re:I'll buy anything from China except food (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | about 4 months ago | (#47255593)

Have you tried buying vegetables, fruit or grains and actually cooked things into what you wanted? Most people in most parts of the world (including in China) refer to that as food - and it isn't made in a processing plant.

I know cooking is hard from your mom's basement but I do think she has a kitchen.

Re:I'll buy anything from China except food (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 4 months ago | (#47255859)

Most (if not all) garlic in the US now comes from China, thanks to their dumping of garlic.

Re:I'll buy anything from China except food (3, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 months ago | (#47255923)

Most (if not all) garlic in the US now comes from China, thanks to their dumping of garlic.

Garlic is a major crop in Washington State. But, you can always shop at the local food coop or farmer's market for "certified organic" which will definitely not be a Chinese product.

Re:I'll buy * from China except food... Aham... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255661)

Allow me...

I bought a Chinese car. All in all, not bad. A design I wanted for decades (Italian "inspired"), lots of internal space for a very small car, many components from high-quality brands (like Bosch) and some curious aspects, probably derived from Chinese culture. On top of that, very inexpensive in a country where cars cost you a kidney (Brazil).

Unfortunately, these guys are starting and they don't really get the auto business. For a long term warranty (6 years), actual support was actually nonexistent. Parts took months to be delivered... if you broke any plastic, be prepared to do without it and hope it's not a legally required component. I was very worried about tires (since it was a size not used in Brazil).

Will I buy another Chinese car? Maybe, just not now. So that you know I'm not prejudiced, I have owned Italian and French cars in the last years, mostly without problems. Cars nowadays generally don't present problems, everyone's technology is quite advanced.

But Chinese cars... I won't be an early adopter again... not before I have a firm belief they provide good assistance.

Chinese Quality? (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#47255291)

>But will Chinese-built cars be just as good as European-built cars

Yes.
Have you seen the quality of European built cars?
Have you noticed the vast Chinese manufacturing industry that assembles all the technology.

Re:Chinese Quality? (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 months ago | (#47255899)

Ask Mercedes how this worked out when they bought Chrysler...

Simple Answers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255305)

1. No.
2. Yes

will they be cheaper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255307)

Quite frankly, that's what matters.

Re:will they be cheaper? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#47255703)

For us, no, for the manufacturers, yes.

Whelp... (1, Insightful)

whargoul (932206) | about 4 months ago | (#47255313)

...that scratches Volvo off the list of cars I'd purchase.

Re:Whelp... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 months ago | (#47255435)

Trying to decrease China's rise to power?

Re:Whelp... (1)

whargoul (932206) | about 4 months ago | (#47255545)

Yep. You trying to help them out?

Re:Whelp... (0, Troll)

poetmatt (793785) | about 4 months ago | (#47255691)

Please tell us what brand you plan to buy that doesn't include chinese parts, so we can begin pointing fingers and laughing at you.

Re:Whelp... (0)

whargoul (932206) | about 4 months ago | (#47255729)

I'm sorry, did I say I was avoiding all parts made in China? No, I didn't think so. Shut the fuck up and quit trying to put words in my mouth. Go be a trolling asshole somewhere else.

Re:Whelp... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255841)

Tesla. Probably has the lowest content from China of any car made. Hence the fact that it is the safest and highest quality car made (other than Bentley or rolls).

Re:Whelp... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255553)

If your comment is saying that people are saying they won't buy Chinese products purely out of some sort of political motivation, you're dead wrong. I'm ethnic Chinese (both of my parents were born in China) and until China can develop a *consistent* reputation for quality, there's no way in hell I'm going to buy a Chinese product if I can avoid it.

I'm well-off enough that I can pay more higher-end, quality goods that don't break within 30 or 90 days. From friends, family, acquaintances, and my own experiences, I've seen enough Chinese crap break for no good reason to avoid that garbage at all reasonable costs.

Re:Whelp... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255437)

To be fair a lot of the bad quality you see from things manufactured in China can be attributed to communication issues.
When westerners outsource stuff they tend to only ask for a cheaper price, assuming that the other end will say that it can't be done when they feel the quality becomes worse than they want to deliver.
With the whole saving face culture in China they are reluctant to say that it can't be done. Instead they become very innovative with the whole making it cheaper process and find ways that someone else considers unthinkable.

When it comes to Chinese manufacturing it is very much the way that you get what you ask for and people who aren't familiar with the story about the genie in a bottle tends to not consider the possible side effects of their wishes.

Re:Whelp... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255603)

interesting perspective. I would think of it as human nature or hoisted by your own petard. A company outsources to China, et alia, to save some money. Why should they be surprised when their outsource partners want to save some money too? Replace expensive labor with cheap labor. Replace protein with melamine. Same difference, right?

Re:Whelp... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255687)

From friends of mine who have done Chinese imports, there are times when the first prototypes are of excellent quality... then after a run or two, shortcuts are made, metal is specced cheaper, the full welds you are paying for get replaced with spot welds, the stainless steel alloy needed for strength gets replaced by pot metal, etc.

Then there is the China rare earth issue. China has it set up that you pay a lot more to export the rare earths than to have one of their factories produce your goods.

We already had China try coming to US shores with cars before. In 2008, Chery was going to have a dealership set up in Austin... but the economy tanked and they scuttled their plans.

Re:Whelp... (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 4 months ago | (#47255537)

My last car was a Saab, I'd wager nearly every part in the car was stamped "GM" and "Made in China". Unfortunately I became very familiar with most of the parts.

Back to the Future IV (5, Funny)

tooslickvan (1061814) | about 4 months ago | (#47255315)

Doc Brown: No wonder this car failed. It says "Made in China".
Marty McFly: What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in China.
Doc Brown: Unbelievable.

Tonka Tough (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47255449)

I'm told that Chinese manufacturers make things exactly as flimsy as their client wants them. Pay more, get more. Did Nintendo consoles lose their Tonka Tough reputation [orain.org] when Nintendo moved manufacturing to PRC?

Re:Tonka Tough (5, Informative)

BigDish (636009) | about 4 months ago | (#47255559)

I work for a small company that manufactures things. We have had the same product build by 3 different Contract Manufacturers (CMs) - 1 in the US, 1 in India, 1 in China.

India CM:
Downright horrible. Build quality was horrible. Constantly missed deadlines and turned small problems (that were known ahead of time) into crisis by not telling us until it was too late

US CM:
"OK" - better than the India CM, but still had manufacturing issues. Most expensive

China CM:
Very good - cheapest and best quality

We are a US based company, FWIW. The language and time barriers can be challenging, but we have gotten the best pricing and build quality out of China.

Tired of this country being a PRC province. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255341)

Thank FSM for Tesla.

Re:Tired of this country being a PRC province. (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 4 months ago | (#47255465)

And looking forward to Elio Motors as well:

http://www.eliomotors.com/ [eliomotors.com]

Re:Tired of this country being a PRC province. (1)

whargoul (932206) | about 4 months ago | (#47255609)

Indeed, I just hope they can make it to production

Slogan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255349)

"Volvo - made far away from your environment"

As good as European cars? (-1, Flamebait)

Salo2112 (628590) | about 4 months ago | (#47255353)

Please - the German word for "pedestrian" is Volkswagen.

Re:As good as European cars? (4, Funny)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47255407)

But how is a "folks' wagon" or "Fix It Again, Tony" any worse than something you have to "Fix Or Repair Daily"? You go somewhere in an F-O-R-D, and you come back in a D-R-O-F: Driver Returns On Foot.

Re:As good as European cars? (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 4 months ago | (#47255879)

Nobody ever said Fiat was good quality.

In fact, it may just be that Chrysler quality *dropped* thanks to Fiat.

Re:As good as European cars? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255411)

really? because google translate seems to think it's "Fußgänger"

Re:As good as European cars? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 months ago | (#47255495)

I'm not sure that 'as good as European cars' is really a selling point, when the car buying books I've been looking at recently mostly say 'don't buy European cars, they're crap'. Then again, that may be because they're made in Mexico.

Early days of KIA repeated (1)

sinij (911942) | about 4 months ago | (#47255363)

Chinese-branded cars make early KIAs look like a paragon of quality. The tradeoff of lack of quality for lower price might be acceptable in consumer goods, but in North American automotive world where baseline costs is dictated by regulations this simply won't work. Add on top of that economic drag off mandatory dealership sales model and you can't really cut the costs and overhead to create cheaper offerings.

As to Chinese-made Volvos - unless they are offering 10 year bumper-to-bumper warranty you will not see many of these of the road.

Re:Early days of KIA repeated (5, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 months ago | (#47255497)

Actually, the Chinese will build to any spec. If they can build it on the same quality requirements for cheaper, you tell them you want it to your quality spec and you pay less.

This is unlike Germany, where the only quality level is "high", and you pay for German manufacture. German manufacturers won't provide you with a lower cost-tier and a lesser-duty-cycle product.

By the by, quality is the degree to which a deliverable satisfies requirements. A car that falls apart after 5 years isn't any higher quality than a car that runs for 50 years, if you're going to replace either in 5 years anyway. If the former is much cheaper to own and maintain for the first 5 years than the latter, then the former is of higher quality; if the latter is cheaper to own and maintain, then the latter is over-engineered and can be stripped back to last 5 years and cost much less, better satisfying quality requirements.

Many of us want cars which will satisfy a low total cost for acceptable function. The car should last longer to avoid a new expensive purchase, and require minimal maintenance to retain its important functions (reliability, safety, comforts, emissions, and so on). Our quality standards are the cheapest thing we can get for the presumed function and comfort level, which is why economy cars are so popular in the US: they don't save very much on gas, they don't drive as well as something with a V6 or V8 and a sports suspension, but they're cheap and they tend to have a good duty cycle (even GM's ecotec engines are built to last, never mind the newer non-Ford engines Mazda has been putting in the 3).

Re:Early days of KIA repeated (3, Insightful)

AutodidactLabrat (3506801) | about 4 months ago | (#47255591)

A car uses approx. 1/2 the total energy it will consume in an average working lifetime during manufacture.
It follows that if we wish a lower carbon footprint, we mandate a long lived car
with especial emphasis on long life steering and drivetrains
Thus the used car market gluts in a decade, ending the 'trade up' value of cars.
result? Even the tier 1 buyers demand easily replaced bodies to go on long life vehicles, cutting life cycle fuel costs.

Re:Early days of KIA repeated (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#47255799)

Buyers will not demand cheaper, more easily repaired body parts.

Today's cars are designed to crumple in a impact, vastly increasing the cost of repairing a car and drastically reducing the costs associated with deaths and injury. Today, even minor accidents can cause a car to total out.

Also, to meet mileage guidelines, car makers have to cram every small engines in smaller spaces with lower tolerances and higher compression, resulting in harder to maintain engines.

Don't get me wrong – I think durability has increased – but it is a lower goal then passage safety and gas mileage.

Re:Early days of KIA repeated (2)

sinij (911942) | about 4 months ago | (#47255845)

>>> A car that falls apart after 5 years isn't any higher quality than a car that runs for 50 years, if you're going to replace either in 5 years anyway.
 
Faulty thinking. While you might get tired and replace car in 5 years, a car that runs for 50 years will have multiple owners. Its residual value will be higher. Environmental impact of manufacturing and then recycling it will be lessened due to getting spread over many more years.
 
  Car that runs for 50 years is always higher quality that on that falls apart after 5 years no matter how you use it.

Re:Early days of KIA repeated (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 months ago | (#47255929)

The 5-year car may only last 3 years, though, where the 50-year car may only last 30. Big difference when you want a car for 5 years.

Bruce Springsteen, "my home town" (1)

ikhider (2837593) | about 4 months ago | (#47255387)

There go your jobs if you support this business model.

have fun (1)

drewsup (990717) | about 4 months ago | (#47255405)

In your new cheap ass glow in the dark Chinese radioactive steel deathtrap ..

Re:have fun (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#47255867)

Agreed, Stop Buying GM.

Real Americans buy American made cars.... .Like Honda.

Its not a question of build quality (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 months ago | (#47255419)

But an ideological one.

This will bring new meaning to the phrase - (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about 4 months ago | (#47255427)

"Get the lead out"

:-D
ba dum tsh

US is China's trash dump (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255429)

There hasn't been a single item I've ever purchased made in China that:
1. didn't work as expected
2. Broke too early
3. Stopped working
4. Contained dangerous compounds
5. Smoke or sparks being emitted
6. Flimsy materials

With so many items made in China getting tossed into the trash bin, we are China's trash dump.
Too bad there isn't a rule that allows us to have them pick-up their shit when broken.
Volvo made in China ?
Very bad idea
Volvo is now crossed off of my car shopping list !

Buyer beware (3, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 4 months ago | (#47255439)

I'm minded from earlier cases of problems with Chinese-sourced products that the Chinese attitude is very much "It's the buyer's responsibility to make sure they're getting what they ordered and paid for. If they don't check, it's their fault for being so gullible.". Not exactly the attitude I'd be looking for out of a manufacturing center.

Re:Buyer beware (1)

nuggz (69912) | about 4 months ago | (#47255457)

Better not buy any car, since all the automakers and Tier 1's source from China.

No.... (0)

joocemann (1273720) | about 4 months ago | (#47255453)

No no no... lets just stop buying things that need to be reliable from people who cannot produce reliable things.

Re:No.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255647)

They can make very reliable things but why do it when we are too stupid to see the difference and only care if it is cheaper. They have learned that as long as it is cheap we will put up with anything.

If I made up a novel about a company/county that sold you stuff that killed your pets, made your house toxic (drywall) and poisoned your kids (lead in toys and chemical in formula to make it look like it is higher in protein) and a few years later you would buy even more stuff from them you would laugh at it. Yet this is how stupid American have become. Walmart is king of this and they will never allow something as simple as few dead pets and kids get in the way.

If I wanted to destroy America, I know there is no way you can compete against the US military. So the best way is to sell lead tainted toys that will make US kids so dumb when they grow up, they will not know any better and keep buying more stuff they cant afford and will poison them as long as we make it cheaper.

The difference is obvious (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 4 months ago | (#47255483)

I can tell the difference quite easily. Americans buying european cars improves european economies. Americans buying chinese cars improves chinese economies. What I can't figure out is what would happen if Americans were to buy american cars. hmmm.

Re:The difference is obvious (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#47255539)

we did that, the american car makers went "we can make any kind bad crap and the people *have* to buy it, hahaha!"

hence came the massive influx of foreign cars, and then the foreign car makers started plants here.

so wonder no more

Re:The difference is obvious (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47255561)

What I can't figure out is what would happen if Americans were to buy american cars. hmmm.

I believe it actually improves the economy of Mexico, since that's where they're moving production.

You have to offset the sales with the lost jobs and everything else it used to put into the economy.

Re:The difference is obvious (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 4 months ago | (#47255681)

All Americans that still believe their "built In America === higher quality" brainwashing are currently paying for it over and over.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/1... [cnn.com]

Re:The difference is obvious (1)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about 4 months ago | (#47255709)

The American car companies would move their manufacturing to cheaper countries, and voilà! They're no longer American cars.

A Ford made in Mexico is more "American" (2)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#47255931)

Until you start talking to fanboys in my extended family who claim that so long as the headquarters is on U.S. soil, it's a desirable "American car", and if the headquarters is elsewhere, it's an undesirable "foreign car". They think a Ford made in Mexico is more desirably "American" than a Toyota or Honda made in their home state. The excuse is that "the money goes back to Americans", but fanboys can't specify what "the money" means. Wages go to the economy of the state where the factory is located, and profits go to shareholders who may live around the world. How should I get through to them?

Re:The difference is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255833)

Like BMW [bmwusfactory.com] and Mercedes [mbusi.com] ?

Re:The difference is obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255903)

Depends on the car maker. For the big 2, it helps Mexico and China.
For Tesla, it helps America and Japan.
In 3 years time, buying a tesla will improve America.

It's about Design Specs, I Would Think (2)

fortfive (1582005) | about 4 months ago | (#47255491)

Most of my apple kit is manufactured in China, and is as good a build quality of any electronics I own, as far as I can tell.

It seems that the quality is determined by the design; that is, the Chinese manufactures build it as awesomely or as cheaply as you tell them to.

The fear is that unscrupulous manufacturers will substitute inferior inputs, I suppose, but it appears that, at least for premium brands like Apple and Lenovo, that is not happening. As for labor inputs and standards, well, scruples seem to be lax everywhere but Germany. Personally, I try to be aware of the social impacts of the products I buy, but when I have purchased stuff produced under questionable social conditions, said stuff has never seemed to have suffered any performance degradation. Rather, unfortunately, the opposite is sometimes the case.

Re:It's about Design Specs, I Would Think (2)

sribe (304414) | about 4 months ago | (#47255695)

The fear is that unscrupulous manufacturers will substitute inferior inputs...

They absolutely do that every chance they get. The key is that the big experienced companies don't give them any chance.

Re:It's about Design Specs, I Would Think (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#47255735)

>the Chinese manufactures build it as awesomely or as cheaply as you tell them to.

This.

But manufacturers don't go to China because it's more expensive.
It's either:
1) They have many customers in China.
2) China does manufacturing for less money at any quality level.

Good Capitalism (1)

AutodidactLabrat (3506801) | about 4 months ago | (#47255533)

Never ever tolerate good wages and working conditions, security for workers or solutions to social problems.
ALWAYS find the cheapest labor without actually shooting strikers yourself.
Get a friendly government to make slaves for you and then underpay THEM too
Remember, the only Real Creators are Management and Capital
Everyone else is a leech, demanding payment for making products, how disgusting can they be?
That's the Capitalist WAY, after all!

USA. is only tightening the rope around its neck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255587)

China is playing USA quite well and the debt keeps going up. The time will come when China will impose conditions and/or demand payment and the shit will hit the fan.

Endgame scenarios (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 4 months ago | (#47255797)

I'm afraid you haven't thought that entirely through yet. CURRENTLY, China's economy depends upon endless American consumption, so tanking the USA's economy by demanding payment would be as bad for China as it would for the USA.

It's kind of like how Donald Trump works -- if you borrow $10k from a bank, and you can't pay it back, you're in trouble. but if you're like Trump and you borrow $100 million from a bank and can't pay it back, the bank is in trouble, so the bank will continue to lend you more and more until you're out of trouble. And allow you to pay it back over decades. Otherwise the bank itself becomes insolvent.

Anyhow; let's assume that China no longer needs a healthy US economy -- they have a large enough middle class that they can afford to consume their own crap, and become a self-sustaining economy no longer dependent upon world trade, like the USA was in the 50's/60's.

So, China demands repayment, even if it destroys the US economy. The US still has a few options, because they are a nuclear power, which can even involve wiping out their debt by wiping out the creditor -- essentially starting world war 3 in order to get out of debt.

But there are other options: For example, when the Chinese middle class reaches the 500 million mark, China may be too expensive to afford itself and will seek to export/offshore manufacturing by that time. Ironically, the USA may be affordable by then, with a large, well-educated, working class in desperate need of jobs.

The Chinese will own the factories, but the stuff will get built in the USA. Which, also ironically, will boost the US's economy and help the USA pay back China. Slowly, over decades, like Trump.

Who buys volvos? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 4 months ago | (#47255599)

I'm not sure who really buys them. They have a legacy of being ugly boxes that are really safe to drive. That's not a market segment I'm familiar with, but as long as they are still ugly and still safe, I guess they'll be okay?

I still kind of get them confused with saabs. Do they have the same stigma? Sabb drivers were upper middle class new englanders, so went the steriotype. Would they buy chinese? I don't know anyof them.

Re:Who buys volvos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255781)

Saab has been done for a long time, which is sad, they were very interesting cars mostly seen in the NE.

Volvos used to be incredible cars. They were economical (my 240s from the 80s used to regularly get 30mpg on the highway), reliable (I haven't ditched a single Volvo with less than 200K milles, and they were all still running when I got rid of them), and yes safe.

Ford bought them and decided to make them more like Fords (read gas guzzling cars) but upscale, pretty much ridding the company of any cars that could be bought for less than $30K. Then the US economy went into the toilet, and Ford sold Volvo to a Chinese company. That was it for me.

My 94 850 Turbo wagon was supposed to be my last Volvo, as I was too depressed to think of giving an of money to this new company. It has almost 300K miles on it, and it just won't die. I want it to keel over so I can get a new car, but it won't. It just keeps on running. We bought used 2007 XC70, because we live in northern NE winters, and its great in the snow and will go up any hill in any condition. It was the last model of Volvo designed and built entirely by Swedes, and it shows. Its a great car, gets pretty good gas mileage for what it is, and its a tank. Most of the new Volvos look like cheap Jaguar/BMW wannabe ripoffs, and most of the people I know who have them aren't happy with them.

I used to buy volvos, but lots of people like me aren't buying them anymore because of Ford and Geely.

It's not about ability it about contract standards (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 4 months ago | (#47255607)

Companies like Apple source from China but they have extremely rigorous specifications and quality control processes. They can afford to reject batches of output that don't meet their standards. Chinese companies aren't beholden to OTHER PEOPLE's requirements so they are free to churn out cars of any quality they like. Whereas their Chinese customers may be happy to be able to purchase a crummy car that looks nice and falls apart, that might not fly in the US. It could, if they want to displace GM but they can only do that but undercutting massively the price. Moreover EVERY car company has understood for decades that they have to make cars WHERE they sell them if they plan on making large numbers of cars. Volvo has always been a small company. So again, they can afford to make a small number of units and ship them.

It's the service, parts and dealership network that will matter. If they fall apart it's one thing, if they fall apart and you can't get them repaired for 6 months because there's no parts, that's another.

I guess China is Japan 2.0? (4, Insightful)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about 4 months ago | (#47255639)

Growing up in the mid-late 80s, I vaguely remember the US having a total freak-out session about the Japanese taking over. I was a kid, but I've also been told that things like MBA programs did anything they could to jump on the Japan bandwagon, training people in Japanese management techniques, manufacturing processes, etc. People were absolutely convinced that there was some magic that the Japanese people and economy had that absolutely had to be emulated. Even before the 80s, having the Japanese car companies come in and encroach on the Big Three's turf was a huge mind-shift.

I wonder if China is going to succeed where Japan failed sometimes, but I also know we've been down this road. There's no real secret to their success in manufacturing:
- They have a huge population, and most of them are not averse to factory work. (We've taught 2 or 3 generations now in the US that manufacturing is a dead end job.)
- A strong, authoritarian central government in China has control over the people and key industries, and can make instant decisions to bolster growth with zero debate. They can also crush dissent -- can you imagine how much easier life would be in the US without the president having to fight Congress over everything?
- As we've seen, environmental laws aren't enforced the way they are here. Even the most laissez-faire among us can recognize that China has pollution problems.

The one thing I see that's different from the 80s is that people in general in the US aren't as well off as they were. Even back then, there were still a few industries that provided lifetime employment at good wages. Same thing goes for retirement -- pensions were still available to some people, so they didn't have to be paranoid about retirement. Now, everyone needs cheaper and cheaper stuff. China is the home of cheap manufacturing and will continue to be for quite some time. Until people feel more confident and can spend actual income rather than incurring more debt, convincing people to pay more for a higher-quality product is going to be a tough sell. And that's where I think China might have an opening -- what Japan did for high end manufacturing in the 70s/80s, China is doing to the low end to some extent.

I own a European made Volvo (I think it was made in Belgium.) It's almost 10 years old and has 120K miles on it. The engine will run forever, and the car is fine except for the things you would expect to start wearing out around the 10 year mark (belts, bearings, engine mounts, etc.) Volvos are (were?) designed for extremely long service life, kind of like Toyota Land Cruisers. It'll be interesting to see if the new owners keep the quality the same.

One thing's for sure - the next 10 years will be very interesting. I come from the Rust Belt, and being a Rust Belt 80s kid was no fun. Now the god of almighty free market efficiency is coming for the last decent manufacturing jobs. Even more worrisome is the loss of white collar employment, you know, the stuff we studied for so we didn't have to work in a factory. Unless the economy does a complete shift of some kind, we're going to have to get used to extremely high sustained levels of unemployment.

Slippery slope (1)

xfizik (3491039) | about 4 months ago | (#47255641)

Consumers can tell the difference between VW made in Mexico and VW made in Germany, and VW is not owned by Chinese. Whoever thinks that Volvos made in China would be (in the near future) as good as Volvos made in Sweden is just delusional. Although, they'd still likely be much better than American cars (GM, Crysler, Ford).

Volvos are crap (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 4 months ago | (#47255651)

I can't see how moving manufacturing to China will reduce quality. I think it may enhance it actually. Sure a lot of socialist swedes will be out of work but I won't ever own or lease a volvo again after my 2001 T70, defects, engineering issues (turbo falling out) and electrical problems all over. No thanks.

Re:Volvos are crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47255939)

I like my V60 very much. It's a good car, very solidly built out of good quality materials, I happen to think the styling is pretty good too. No complaints so far in about a year and 17000km.

Hopefully emissions standards will be maintained (1)

bi$hop (878253) | about 4 months ago | (#47255667)

...otherwise we will notice the difference [wikipedia.org] .

that should be easy (1)

sribe (304414) | about 4 months ago | (#47255671)

...if it manages to convince buyers that its cars built in China are just as good as those currently built in Europe...

Talk about a low bar!

Don't buy Chinese (if you can) (3, Insightful)

wisebabo (638845) | about 4 months ago | (#47255673)

About 5 years ago I stopped investing in Chinese companies. Why? Because I didn't want to support even indirectly a regime that, without apology, oppressed Tibet and supported the despotic regime of North Korea. I hold them largely responsible for sacrificing millions of my long-separated brothers (yes, I'm ethnic Korean) through starvation and torture simply to keep a "buffer state" in between them and the "capitalist" (ha ha, what irony) South Korea and U.S.

My stance was only hardened by their support, for purely geopolitical/economic considerations (OIL), of Syria and Iran (and, I think Libya). They and Russia have kept those regimes propped up and have made the tragedies in the Middle East even worse (of course America started it but at least we know now that most of us were idiots to be led by one). That's not to mention the authoritarian and despotic regimes that China is supporting in Africa purely for their resources.

Look, I know the West (and especially the U.S.) have done a LOT of bad things but the Chinese don't even make a pretense of things like human rights, even in their own country. As I've said, they've been willing to sacrifice millions for a modicum of security (they could've asked the U.S. and S. Korea if, in return for not letting the Kims return to North Korea from one of their trips to China, we would promise not to put American troops north of the 38th parallel. As if S. Korea would even want American troops on the peninsula once the threat was gone). Now, living in S.E. Asia, I see firsthand how China with its growing power is throwing away treaties and agreements it has signed in order to bully the Vietnamese and Philippines with their ridiculous "cow tongue" shaped demarcation of the seas. They are returning to 19th century "gunboat" diplomacy in the 21 century world.

I fear that as China grows ever stronger, they will continue to discard previous commitments to peace and will literally force their will upon the world. Is that what you want to support? I'm a realist, and I love my gadgets and my improved standard of living brought on by the flood of low-cost Chinese products (often produced with stolen patents and technologies but that's another story) and I'm not quite ready to live without. However, when there's a choice, when you can purchase something that is identical (hopefully) in every way including price to another but one is made in China and one was made in Sweden(?), I hope you'll make the same choice I do.

If China, not the U.S. had the power the NSA has; would any of us have any protection at all? Think of what kind of world that would be to live in. (That's what 1.2 billion people ARE living in).

No difference...until an hour after they drive. (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 4 months ago | (#47255711)

>> will Chinese-built cars be just as good as European-built cars, and will consumers be able to tell the difference?

Initially, they will feel the same, but about an hour after they drive the Chinese model they will be hungry for an all-European experience instead.

GM = Made in China (1)

HoleShot (1884318) | about 4 months ago | (#47255725)

General Motors has had a major presence in China for years. Curious thing though, the Chinese only allow them to sell cars there that are made there. What a concept! We all have a choice on what car we drive. I for one want to know where its made. I will not drive a Chinese car. Maybe a Tesla if its made here. At least my Harley is mostly made here.

Not that strange considering (2)

azav (469988) | about 4 months ago | (#47255743)

That 1984 US VW Passats that were made in Mexico are now the Volkswagen Santana, that is made and sold in China.

The factories in Mexico were packed up and moved to China and the model remanufactured under the label of VW Santana.

Every cab in Shanghai is essentially a brand new 1984 VW Passat.

hearing this rumor for 20 years (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 4 months ago | (#47255745)

Then either they dont come or pass US import standards.

Designed and tested by? (1)

robmv (855035) | about 4 months ago | (#47255855)

Who built it isn't more important to who designed and tested it. In Venezuela, the state has partenrships with Chinese manufacturers, I have no plan to buy a Chinese mede car here because we don't have a certification or testing infraestructure, we don't have verified dummy tests like USA and Europe has. Why a Chinese made vehicle that pass USA certifications and tests be any different in quality than one make in Europe, if they are different in quality and both passes the tests, the tests are the problem

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