It's finally happening folks. Thats's right, the Chinese cars are coming. Starting next year BYD Automotive will start selling cars in North America (Click the link to see the their lineup of "beautiful" cars and crossovers http://www.byd-auto.net/ ). Isn't it great? Now Mitsubishi's cars look over styled! But seriously, this marks a huge change in the auto industry. With BYD coming at some point next year, other Chinese brands will eventually follow. The thing is, Chinese cars aren't that great in terms of quality. They also aren't that safe. The only Chinese car to pass the European NCAP test is the Qoros 3 Sedan, built by Chinese startup brand Qoros. That car is on sale in Europe, so expect that brand to eventually enter the U.S. market.
But this all begs the question, "How will this affect the domestic auto industry?" Chinese cars will either be as successful as Toyota is in this market, or they could be as successful as Mitsubishi (and it wouldn't surprise me to see that brand soon exit the U.S. market). Well, if you looked at the BYD website, you might have noticed a lot of rebadged models. The problem with the Chinese brands is that they have no concept of design. If they try to make a good looking car, it usually ends up as a badged engineering job. Its hard to see how these will sell well in the U.S. When the Japanese brands came, they were successful because they were small and fuel efficient, while American cars were too damn big during the oil embargo. Japanese cars were also more reliable than most Chinese cars are now. Granted some cars have improved, but still not all. With the domestic brands back on track, the resurgence of the Korean brands, and the continued success of the Japanese and German brands, its hard to see Chinese cars being really big players in the U.S. automobile industry.
And on top of that, the Chinese brands potentially aren't the only car brands entering or re-entering the U.S. market. Another Korean car company, Ssangyong, is looking to enter the U.S. market by the end of the decade (although given how small their lineup is, its kind of hard to think of them being a major player when they arrive). But, there is another car company that could be making a U.S. return. PSA (Peugeot and Citroen) are looking to make a U.S. return by the end of the decade. I really think that these two french car brands will do pretty good in this market, although I don't think they'll have astronomical sales. People do love European cars, however, and that should help boost demand. Whenever people hear that something European is coming to America, they say, "Oh shit I have to check that product out, I have to get that! European stuff is the bomb. It's elite, its high end, I need that european product, I need it!!!"
With that said, its clear that the U.S. will be buzzing with new car brands, starting with Alfa Romeo this year. But when the Chinese arrive, it will be interesting to see if consumers welcome them with open arms or look down upon them as nothing more than cheap, lackluster, crappy cars. If they do sell well they will most likely hurt the sales of Japanese and Korean brands. At any rate, we'll just have to wait and see. Feel free to voice your opinions in the "comments"section below. Ladies and gentlemen, it's the start of a new era. It's the era where Chinese cars will be sold in the United States. Have a good week.
(Image credited to BYD)