Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

1/14/2006

Chinese Cars Are Coming

Filed under: General,Society,World — Dangerous Dan @ 5:08 pm

Look out, China is preparing to enter the American auto market. Two Chinese automakers, Geely and Chery, are making plans to introduce cars here in the next several years. Geely even had a booth at this year's Detroit Auto Show where they showed off one of their latest models. The main thing holding them back right now is that their cars don't meet U.S. safety and environmental standards (imagine that). Just one or two more automakers in a crowded field, you might think, but it's expected that the first cars will sell for $10,000 or less, which could make them very popular. China's labor costs are, as you might think, a little less than in most places.

I'm a little ambivalent about this. I don't mind competition and actually quite like it. And though I buy many products made in China (something I noted here), I don't like the idea of forking over so much money to a Chinese corporation. China's politics are oppressive, it's actively working to undermine American interests here and abroad (the Chinese spy network in the U.S. is quite extensive and quite good), and by one trick or another it’s stealing American technology.

Generally, the Chinese government owns a controlling stake in any prominent Chinese corporation (you may recall the state-owned company Haier, which tried to buy out Maytag last year), meaning a large chunk of the profits goes straight into Party coffers, something I don't care to support. Chery admits that it’s straight-out government-owned.

While I can't find much substantive info on Geely, several accounts (all from Geely's CEO or from state news wires) say that the government has no ownership in the company. Considering the sources, I don't know whether to believe that, but I still find it unimportant. Corporations in China simply don't exist without the government's blessing and without government officials or cronies in executive positions, so that any corporation is de facto controlled by the state.

It's bad enough I buy pans and furniture made in China. I don't care to contribute car money to the Chicoms.

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