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http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1497157.cms
What works : Aluminium wheel. Cheap due to a government subsidy in form of cheap fixed aluminium and electricity price.

What doesn't work : Steel. Steel is an unsubsidized free-market commodity. While Chinese steels are cheap, their quality is not good enough for use in GM vehicles and China->US shipping wipes out cost difference.

So there you have it. Chinese parts are competitive only if they are government subsidized. Free-market items aren't.
 

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aluminium and electricity are neither cheap nor subsidised in china. how many companies producing aluminium parts have you personally run? if 2 or more, you are ahead of me, otherwise I would suggest you know nothing.

having said that, cast aluminium components including those that are also precision machined are cheap in china. because of low labour cost, lower overheads, much lower tooling costs. I think you will find there are a lot more than the wheels made in china.

on steel, I know GM has a couple of issues on some parts. on the other hand, when VW first set up in Shanghai they introduced all the German automotive steel specs to one of the shanghai steel companies and you will find over 90% localisation on many of the VW cars made in china. there is a slight issue that some of these steels are only made available to the SAIC vehicle production although this of course includes GM.

china is one of the biggest producers of steel in the world, it may even be the biggest by now. there are a some special grades they don't have yet, but it won't take long, be it by foreign investment or by domestic companies.
 

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another thing, as Chinese cars move more and more upmarket, the savings will increase. for example top notch cars like FERRARI use a lot of carbon fiber components. these are typically laid up by hand, very labour intensive, and that is why the FERRARI is so expensive.

but now that chinese cars are targetting FERRARI levels of performance, they will need more carbon fibre parts. if a chinese saloon is 30% cheaper than a foreign saloon, the saving on a chinese sports car could be much more.
 

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not yet, and far away...

("but now that chinese cars are targetting FERRARI levels of performance,...")
though China has cheap labour, China also is short of skilled engineers,
I think auto engineering is not a lot about science, but about know-how,
it will take Chinese some time to learn.
 

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fightingtorque said:
but now that chinese cars are targetting FERRARI levels of performance, they will need more carbon fibre parts. if a chinese saloon is 30% cheaper than a foreign saloon, the saving on a chinese sports car could be much more.
Hmm, well now that Nanjing have bought the MG SV which has a body made entirely of cabon fibre composite materials you may be correct.

Although with the handling of the SV, I doubt you would be able to keep up with that!

One I saw last Sunday:
 

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it's a shame, it could have been developed into a great british sportscar. still, maybe Nanjing will run with it. I'll try to get myself hired as a test driver. (mainly on the basis that if I can't break something, nobody can).
 
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