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China

Shanghai Auto Show

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It’s show time. All the major car makers including domestic players such as Chery and Geely (remind me of Heelys), are putting up a big show in Shanghai new international expo center (is that the venue for 2010 World Expo, just be curious) this week.

At the same time, I noticed the price wars are heating up. VW, the first foreign car maker got into China market (did you see those Santanas taxi on the Shanghai street), but unfortunately lost some edge to GM (Buick), Honda (Accord), and most recently the Toyota (Camry). Among many mishaps, I can see one mistake from the German car maker: the confusion of models. The Jetta made by FAW-VW (Yi Qi Da Shong) is a very old model of Jetta and they kept making it because customer like it and can afford it. Lately they introduced the real Jetta (as the Jetta in the US) and called it Satigar (Su Teng in Chinese). That did not sell very well. That name is just too difficult for Chinese to pronounce. Why can’t they just label it as Jetta 2? or Jetta 8 to please Chinese customers? I am confused by VW’s other models such as Lin Quan (is that another Jetta). How about Touran (Tu An)? A friend told me it’s the stretched version of Jetta Wagon in the US. On the other hand, GM and Totoya seems brand their cars very well. The good old Buick in the States, is a symbol of wealth, success and stability. The Camry, is almost like Lexus in the US (quality, luxury).

How about Chinese car makers? Until now they mean “cheap”, “affordable”, as the Chery QQ, and other domestic cars/SUVs selling at a fraction of the foreign brands. Hope one day they can move up to the Hyundai or Kia’s level…   

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