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Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year 431

Posted by timothy
from the but-will-they-be-reliable-like-american-cars dept.
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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Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

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  • Bets, anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:46PM (#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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:48PM (#47255303)
    So.... the same quality standards as US made (GM) cars then?
  • Whelp... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by whargoul (932206) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:49PM (#47255313) Homepage
    ...that scratches Volvo off the list of cars I'd purchase.
  • Buyer beware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:01PM (#47255439) Homepage

    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.

  • by AutodidactLabrat (3506801) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:16PM (#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.
  • by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:17PM (#47255593) Journal

    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.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:21PM (#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.

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:24PM (#47255673) Journal

    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).

  • Re:Bets, anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Algae_94 (2017070) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:33PM (#47256403) Journal

    Most Ford, GM and Chrysler's are made of parts manufactured overseas and shipped into the US where they are then assembled into the final product. Source, my dad worked at a GM assembly plant where most of the parts were shipped in from either Canada or Mexico.

    So your source that most parts are manufactured overseas is that they came from Canada or Mexico?

  • Re:Bets, anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @02:55PM (#47256665)

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

    That's why I only buy solid American cars like Toyota. My Camry is 80% value added in the US, and my wife's Sienna is 85%. That's total value added, not just assembly, so most of the parts are US made. They're a lot more American than most so-called American cars. I'm quite happy having the engines and trannies built in WV, and having the car assembled in Kentucky.

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