Would a Thirty Percent Discount Persuade You to Buy Chinese?
Experts Predict Similar Price Difference in U.S.-Bound Chinese Cars
We heard y'all loud and clear: You’re not interested in buying a Chinese-made crossover or SUV. But would you change your mind if it meant saving $6,000 or more on the purchase price?
That’s the difference that some industry experts are predicting for the Middle Kingdom’s vehicles when and if they go on sale in the United States. Speaking to Automotive News, Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) Motor Co. General Manager Wu Song suggested that his company’s cars would be priced about 30 percent cheaper than other vehicles in their respective segments.
The company’s first prospective U.S. competitor is the GAC GS4, a small crossover sized like Honda CR-V. If Wu’s predictions are correct, that would mean the GS4 would come in at somewhere around $17,000, far cheaper than the CR-V’s $23,445 price of entry. If GAC’s quality is at least close to that of Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, and Honda, that low price strikes us as a screaming deal.
Chinese automakers have been raising rabble about entering the U.S. market for a few years now. The GAC GS4 even had its world debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, proving that the company was serious about building some goodwill within the American automotive community.
GAC is no stranger to American vehicles, however. The company builds the Dodge Dart-based Fiat Viaggio, a Chinese-market sedan built in partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The company also expects to manufacture Jeep models for Asian markets within the next few years.
Even so, GAC (along with Geely, Chery, Great Wall, and Brilliance, among others) has to fight an uphill battle for mainstream U.S. acceptance. Horrifying crash test videos of Chinese cars from two decades ago have made their rounds in the automotive blogosphere, giving those companies a poor reputation they may not even deserve. Some current Chinese vehicles, like the Quoros 3 sedan, are among the safest in the world, proving that the nation is capable of building sturdy transportation that belies its vehicles’ death-trap reputation.
Other hurdles include building a just-right–size dealer network, large enough to satisfy demand but small enough to prevent overgrowth and stale dealer stock (as has been the case with Fiat’s resurgence). Additionally, GAC must keep American tastes in mind while satisfying U.S. standards for safety, quality, and emissions.
Still, with a bargain-basement price, we’d bet that many shoppers would be willing to saddle up a GAC or other Chinese vehicle. After all, Korean automakers faced many of the same challenges in the 1980s and 1990s, relying on strong value and reasonable quality to overcome their low street cred. We’d bet China’s cars will be capable of the same.
Source: Automotive News