Will we all be driving Chinese cars in the future?
We're told far too often that we will all soon be speaking Chinese. We already know how much power the People's Republic wields over most of the World. But will we really all be driving Chinese cars in the next decade?
Let's keep it simple, no we won't. There are several reasons for this, chief among which is the quality of their cars has got a long way to go before Europeans consider investing.
It is entirely possible to break into the Western market with little or no heritage. Kia have proven this and are a great success story. However the key difference between them and Chinese attempts such as Great Wall is quality.
Kias and Hyundais are good value for money. They undercut rivals without compromising too much on quality. This is a killer combination and has helped the two Asian manufactures grow so much in a short period of time.
Just because something is cheap doesn't mean people won't expect it to be made to a high level. And this is where I think China will struggle, especially as the country has been synonymous with cheap consumables and cheap labour for decades.
With the odd exception, producing quality cars, at least by Western standards, takes a relatively long time. Take America, they arguably still don't make world-beating cars after a century of trying.
Even once you have a reliable and sensible motor, you then have to focus more on the 'intangibles' like handling, driver satisfaction and more importantly, the ability to make people want one!
I'm in no doubt that Chinese makers will make billions through domestic sales, but a Great Wall or an illegally-copied BMW on all our drives in 2023? I don't think so.
Image courtesy of Geely Motors