China car makers cut corners to success
Ten years ago, no discerning Chinese consumer would have bought China-designed cars. Not only were such vehicles accused of being illegal counterfeits of foreign models, but their quality and safety were also mistrusted.
Now, despite their homely looks, some indigenous models are striking a balance between no-frills affordability and acceptable quality. In China, it is the age of the good-enough car - and that has potentially significant implications for the world auto industry.
Models such as the Panda and the Great Wall Haval H3 are becoming popular not only in China but increasingly so in emerging markets, from Indonesia to Egypt and Ukraine. They are driving China's auto exports to record levels, even as growth in China's auto market slows down.
GETTING TRACTION ABROAD
Exports of Chinese-produced vehicles are forecast by China's auto association to hit one million vehicles this year from 849,500 vehicles last year. Some automotive analysts are predicting a 50 percent increase to 1.25 million vehicles.
Some executives at big foreign manufacturers say China's new model of creating good-enough cars poses a serious challenge to the way the international industry operates.
"This is a warning
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