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You can't make money on 10,000 units built in China for the US if you're not sharing that platform with production volumes hundreds of thousands of units.
See above. If you mean hundreds of thousands a year, you are wrong. Look at Subaru, they sell less than that total for all models. Look at Suzuki, low mubers, Kia and Hyundai, higher but not 100s of thousands. I was talking about a range of models sharing 1-2 platforms.

How many MODERN vehicles are being produced in China today with volumes of under 20,000 units a year?
How many Modern vehicles are produced in china at all? None. Every vehicle shares parts or has copied parts. on the other hand, how many modern Parts are produced in china today, a hell of a lot. So they have the capacity, but not the direction.
 

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Hey Hudson,

I went to look up Hudson and Colvindesign on Google and came up with this,

http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/t57314.html

Look at the dates. Funny to run into the same person after 4 years.

Seriously, you and I know the difference between a new vehicle developed with RWD vs one developed with FWD in China, going for a sporty feel, would be close. They make cheap cars in China. If someone went over there with the right direction, they could make cheap sporty cars, and sell them here for a half decent price. Anyone who would think that they can bring over any Chinese car made today and sell 150k of them, is nuts. So you understand you have to make low volume, and you work around that. Aiming for 150k and selling 30,000 units is just dumb, aiming for 10,000 units and selling 20,000 units, is brilliant.

Sorry if I offended you in any way, and if I get overboard, but I am not a conventional thinker. I don't accept whatever is shoved down my throat, especially when I can see reason to believe something else. After pricing things out from the manufacturer (regardless of country) that I have bought, or priced here, I have questioned everything regarding cost. But honestly the one thing that gets me going is when people just say "you are wrong" and don't back it up. Or when people use "conventional wisdom" to disprove me. Like I said before, people also knew at one time that the world was flat. They didn't think it, they knew it.

A RWD car developed in China could be cheaper than a FWD car developed in US, yes or no?

China is where cars can be made cheap. Next it will be India, then who knows....
 

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Colvindesign said:
See above. If you mean hundreds of thousands a year, you are wrong. Look at Subaru, they sell less than that total for all models. Look at Suzuki, low mubers, Kia and Hyundai, higher but not 100s of thousands. I was talking about a range of models sharing 1-2 platforms.
Subaru? The Legacy, Impreza, Forester, and Tribeca share a platform. That's well over 500,000 units. Suzuki is one of the world's largest car manufacturers building three platforms in the hundreds of thousands a year. Kia...Hyundai...same thing.

Colvindesign said:
How many Modern vehicles are produced in china at all? None.
Really? None? Toyota Camry, Toyota Crown, Nissan Bluebird Sylphy, Mazda6, Volkswagen Sagitur, Audi A6, Audi A4...all currently produced in China.

Colvindesign said:
I went to look up Hudson and Colvindesign on Google and came up with this...
It took you long enough.

Colvindesign said:
...Sorry if I offended you in any way, and if I get overboard, but I am not a conventional thinker. I don't accept whatever is shoved down my throat, especially when I can see reason to believe something else. After pricing things out from the manufacturer (regardless of country) that I have bought, or priced here, I have questioned everything regarding cost. But honestly the one thing that gets me going is when people just say "you are wrong" and don't back it up. Or when people use "conventional wisdom" to disprove me. Like I said before, people also knew at one time that the world was flat. They didn't think it, they knew it.

A RWD car developed in China could be cheaper than a FWD car developed in US, yes or no?

China is where cars can be made cheap. Next it will be India, then who knows....
I have not problem with unconventional thinking. I have a problem when you miss obvious problems in your unconventional thinking. Good luck on your ideas.
 

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ok, I'll give you Subaru, whose total units are under 480k, for all subaru models. Including the Subcompacts not sold in US.

What about companies like Saab ? Before GM bought saab, they sold about 100k units annually.

I didn't consider cars being built in china by other manufacturers, because they have not even released manufacturing and QC techniques to their Chinese "partners".

Took me long enough for what? To look up (and never find) where you stated you "picked apart" my business plan and design? You see, unlike you, I don't feel threatened enough by you that I need to do research on my oponent. I will freely admit when I am wrong.

You have a problem with "obvious flaws" in my thinking? Ohhh, sorry about that. But you have proved jack sh!t to disprove any of my "obvious flaws". You have routinely skipped over parts of my argument which were valid points and therefore avoided disproving anything.

Let's face it, a medium level solid axle rwd vehicle can be developed and built for less money than similar size/powered FWD car in the US. Oh wait I forgot you will not reply to that statement because it is true, and you can't think of anyway to disprove it.
 

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virtual chinese specialist/component car.

Colvin/ Hudson.

Evidently you are both in usa. I believe USA regs are very prohibitive to small volume car production. I am from UK where there is a fairly straightforward process to get special vehicles approved for road use - you can build your own car as a one off even.

The specialist and kit car market in UK appears to be booming. I believe there may be an angle to getting kits or cars made in china in the lines of the Caterham/Lotus 7 etc. It's just a thought in the back of my mind.

I spent nearly 8 years in the auto component industry in china. I either know, or can find out, where to get any of the parts and what they should cost, how to assess the quality of the production operation etc.

I also know how to build and run a factory in china.

I also have links into likely suppliers of complete engine - Brilliance, Chery etc.

I don't know how to design and build the car or sell it yet. (Although I'm not a total idiot when it comes to inderstanding car assembly either). Note that it would definitely be RWD (it isn't for those 90% to go shopping in).

You two might know how to do this. Unfortunately since you already hate each other we are not off to a good start.

I have not yet assessed the actual market value of the uk or global market for specialist/ component cars yet. Not sure if there is any published data.


Anyway, perhaps ADMIN would like to start a forum subdivision for the virtual chinese sports car, see where it goes. I haven't given up my day job yet.
 

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The sports car market in the US is a tough one to crack. A RWD, high powered car at a reasonable price would probably have the best chance, but there are so few examples of this that I can provide no proof. Nissan's Datsun 240Z in 1970, Mazda's RX7 in 1978, Toyota's Celica Supra in 1979, Mitsubishi's Starion in the early 1980s, and Mazda's MX5 Miata in 1990 are among the few that have worked. Each of them was a relative bargain when they were introduced and were relatively high quality.

Companies like Lotus have found ways to sell in low production but they have come at a high price.

Importing a car into the US is expensive. All modern (within the past couple decades) are expected to pass all safety and emissions laws. This means bumper and airbag and side impact and safety glass and lighting regulations need to be met. And then there's OBD-II engine monitoring and strict emissions levels and fuel economy standards. It is taxing on a small automaker.

In the past quarter century, TWO automakers (Hyundai and Kia, plus truck maker Land Rover) have entered the US market and prospered. It's a tough market to crack.
 

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I think that the Chinese makers shouldn't get too ambitious, and trying to make supercars for supercheap prices. In many markets, brand is everything, and many would rather drive a lesser version of a brand they know and trust than a fully-specced unknown brand.

I think that the best way for the Chinese to get in the Western markets is to do the same as the Koreans did 20 years ago or so, and the Japanese 40 or so years ago, start from the bottom, and don't be too ambitious, building up a brand name and image takes time.

In many peoples' eyes here, the Korean cars are still rubbish, despite the fact that many of the newer ones (particularly the Hyundais) are excellent.

Hence, I think the first car should be something small and extremely cheap (cheap and cheerful), perhaps something similar to the Chery QQ. It'd need cute styling, plenty of room, and a fairly strong engine.
 

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Deano:

I agree, in theory. Building a brand absolutely takes time, but there are exceptions. Lexus came out of nowhere and became a world-class brand with no history (aside from the hidden Toyota parentage).

Any brand needs something...a "hook" of some sort...to differentiate itself from the pack. Daewoo didn't have that in the US and Daihatsu didn't have that either..and they both failed in the US market. Lexus had extremely high quality and relatively low prices...and became the top-selling luxury brand in just over a decade.

If a Chinese brand could establish themselves as having BMW qualities (sportiness, performance, build quality) at a lower price, they might have something. You'll never get the BMW fans who buy BMWs for the Roundel on the hood, but you might get a number of buyers who enjoy driving but don't enjoy paying what BMW charges.

If you could sell a mid-sized sedan with the qualities of a Lexus at the prices of a Camry (or less), you might have a hit. There's always going to be a trade-off when the brand is the unknown.
 

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Here's what I want Chinese to come up with in US.

A Toyota Hiace-like van, with many body options,
including a "down low" floor design. With engines
that are currently in use in US, like Toyota 4Y-EC
and diesel engine as an option (no smog tests are
required for diesels, odd but it is true).

Availability of a very basic model - no A/C, no P/S,
etc., just the van. Easily changeable trim panels -
no proprietary clips, just bolts and nuts.

In short, I think Chinese could be successful with
a commercial 1ton van, due to several reasons:

1. There are no foreign cargo vans in US, except
for Mercedes Sprinter sold as Dodge for mad $35k!

2. Vans can compete with pick-up trucks as small
business vehicle. The only reason they are not as
popular as in Europe is because domestic vans are
grossly uncompetitive, and there is nothing else to
choose from.

3. The demand is so high, that within 1984-1989
Toyota DOUBLED the price of it's Van (TownAce
in Japan) which was available in cargo version.

Unfortunately Toyota left this market segment and
that makes me thinks US government has imposed
some kind of a ban for imported vans as a measure
of protection for domestic pick-up truck producers.
This means the Chinese would have to deal with it.
 

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Dmitry said:
Here's what I want Chinese to come up with in US.

A Toyota Hiace-like van, with many body options,
including a "down low" floor design. With engines
that are currently in use in US, like Toyota 4Y-EC
and diesel engine as an option (no smog tests are
required for diesels, odd but it is true).
There are, however, federal and California guidelines for diesel emissions. Because these regulations are so tough to meet, there are very few light-duty diesels offered in the US. The only light-duty diesels offered in the 2006 model year were produced by Volkswagen or DaimlerChrysler...and volumes were limited.

Dmitry said:
1. There are no foreign cargo vans in US, except
for Mercedes Sprinter sold as Dodge for mad $35k!
Imported trucks (of which these would be considered) are subject to a 25% tariff in the US, which is the main reason why almost all pickups and vans are produced in the US. DaimlerChrysler actually assembles quite a few Sprinters in South Carolina so that they will not be subject to the tariff. Imported cars, by the way, are subject to a 2.5% tariff.

Dmitry said:
2. Vans can compete with pick-up trucks as small
business vehicle. The only reason they are not as
popular as in Europe is because domestic vans are
grossly uncompetitive, and there is nothing else to
choose from.
Vans in the US are "uncompetitive?" The reason why pickups sell so much better is that gas prices in the US are relatively cheap and the buying public absorbs a huge amount of pickups. The van market in the US has been flat for decades and the vans offered by GM and Ford are hardly "uncompetitive." If the market existed for smaller vans, the "Big3" would be selling more cargo versions of minivans.

Dmitry said:
3. The demand is so high, that within 1984-1989
Toyota DOUBLED the price of it's Van (TownAce
in Japan) which was available in cargo version.
Actually, the price went up to for it to make money...not because they sold so well...which they didn't.

Dmitry said:
Unfortunately Toyota left this market segment and
that makes me thinks US government has imposed
some kind of a ban for imported vans as a measure
of protection for domestic pick-up truck producers.
This means the Chinese would have to deal with it.
No. The "chicken tax" (the 25% tariff on imported trucks) has been in place since the early 1960s. There have been no changes to the regulations for imported trucks. The Japanese manufacturers, however, decided to build their trucks in North America. The Toyota Sienna minivan was developed for the US buyer in particular, which is one of the reasons why it is the third most popular minivan in the US.
 

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I am a fan of big cars such as the volvo S80, Chrysler 300C and new Ford Mustang. The Chinese should make vehicles that standout. Something that looks solid, powerful and sturdy like an American car from the 1940s. Say a big RWD coupe with similar proportions and body surfacing as a 49 Mercury coupe (pictured below) with a nice V8 engine featuring 'displacement on demand' cylinder deactivation technology. Market it as neo-retro and give it a clean, minimalist, chop-top, shaved look on the outside while inside being generously appointed. I don't know about you but a car like that would really, really appeal to me, but maybe im just crazy... Oh and I was a big fan of the Honqi RedFlag concept limo, so it kinda shows you were I am coming from.

 

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AXLE said:
I am a fan of big cars such as the volvo S80, Chrysler 300C and new Ford Mustang. The Chinese should make vehicles that standout. Something that looks solid, powerful and sturdy like an American car from the 1940s. Say a big RWD coupe with similar proportions and body surfacing as a 49 Mercury coupe (pictured below) with a nice V8 engine featuring 'displacement on demand' cylinder deactivation technology. Market it as neo-retro and give it a clean, minimalist, chop-top, shaved look on the outside while inside being generously appointed. I don't know about you but a car like that would really, really appeal to me, but maybe im just crazy... Oh and I was a big fan of the Honqi RedFlag concept limo, so it kinda shows you were I am coming from.
i dont think that would work, because chinese cars are not american rite. those cars are american style cars, not chinese style. ppl would jsut say they are copying or something. i think chinese cars should enter in with their own personal identity. yea i agree the hongqi would work, but i dont think it would ever happen since hongqi wants to be like Rolls Royce and Bently type.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 · (Edited)
How about this for a first car?

A basic, robust, no frills, 4 door LARGE car, FWD, big 4 cylinder engine (2.6L), and 5 spd auto, with a Hyundai like warranty program. Starting price of $9999.

Add all the power accessories, convenience items, and extra safety features, and sell for $11999.

Remember, this car should be the size of Avalon's and Azera's. I think it would really take off in the States! (Imagine simply super-sizing a sub-compact, the cost to mfg it should not be that much more, just extra steel.)

Being a legitimate LARGE car, it would avoid the stigma associated with sub-compacts (unsafe, cheap, unreliable, cramped, etc. etc.) and the profit margin is much better.
 

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To Hudson:

Surely, there are difficulties, like a conforming diesel, or the tax
that you mention. However, it is all a very fine line - just import
an engine from say Toyota and install a few seats in the van so
it is no longer a "truck".

I think there is a gap in US market - small to medium size cargo
vans. The American vans are poorly designed (only V6 and V8s,
no inline 4) poorly built (transmissions die by 150k) and come in
limited body styles. As a result, they have low gas milage, and
are too expensive for what they are, a piece of shit.

This is why people prefer pick-up trucks, which are available in
various sizes and with various engines. There is simply nothing
else available. Given a choice, I think people could prefer vans.

And regarding Toyota Van, do you mean they raised the price
because the van was not popular? It seems counterintuitive -
it's like I sell apples and no one is buying them, so I raise the
price 2 times, hoping to cover my expenses. Do you have any
references about that?
 

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Dmitry said:
To Hudson:

Surely, there are difficulties, like a conforming diesel, or the tax
that you mention. However, it is all a very fine line - just import
an engine from say Toyota and install a few seats in the van so
it is no longer a "truck".

I think there is a gap in US market - small to medium size cargo
vans. The American vans are poorly designed (only V6 and V8s,
no inline 4) poorly built (transmissions die by 150k) and come in
limited body styles. As a result, they have low gas milage, and
are too expensive for what they are, a piece of shit.

This is why people prefer pick-up trucks, which are available in
various sizes and with various engines. There is simply nothing
else available. Given a choice, I think people could prefer vans.

And regarding Toyota Van, do you mean they raised the price
because the van was not popular? It seems counterintuitive -
it's like I sell apples and no one is buying them, so I raise the
price 2 times, hoping to cover my expenses. Do you have any
references about that?
It's a great theory. The problem is that people don't like vans. Minivans (the ones you claim to have "transmissions die by 150k") are relatively popular and the cargo versions have been poorly received. Chrysler makes four-cylinder cargo versions of the Dodge Caravan...and I've seen ONE in the past five years. There's very little demand.

Full-sized vans, however, have a steady market of about 400,000-500,000 a year. The smallest engine in them is 2.7L and is classified as a medium-duty (over 8,500lbs GVWR) truck.

I would love to see fleets of small panel vans running around, but there's only a tiny market for them. Standard minivans are inexpensive, economical, powerful, and easy to obtain and service.

Given the choice, people want SUVs and crossovers. Vans are not on their list unless it's a minivan...and they have a family or a small business. The Chevrolet Astro van was a small commercial van which was inexpensive and sold in relatively low numbers. You're not going to find a van that you can import, install Toyota engine in it, add some seats to it and sell it to people currently buying minivans. Today, anyone can buy a Dodge Caravan (or a Mazda5) with a four-cylinder engine for under $20,000. They can be serviced at the local dealer and come with a four or five year warranty from a major corporation.

Nobody in the US has wanted a van (aside from the aforementioned minivan market) since the 1970s.
 

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To Hudson:

I agree the van segment is not well developed, and that's
precisely my point because there is a lot of potential there.

I used to work as a delivery driver at a small bakery here in
California. We had a brand new GMC Safari (same as Astro).
I personally kept track of gas/milage and it was 20-21 mpg
on the highway. My 1989 Toyota Van with 282k is doing at
least 27 with the same amount of cargo space and GVWR.
When I asked the boss why he bought it, and he is french,
he told me "There is nothing else". In fact he was seriously
considering buying a Previa and flushing the interior.

Americans, unlike Europeans and Asians do not realize how
wonderful a van can be, especially if it is a Forward Control
design, like Toyota Hiace. American vans are unreliable and
this is why consumers don't like vans in general. If Toyota
sold its Hiace, you would immediately see a lot of them.

Unfortunately Chinese still have to prove reliability, if any,
and this is why I do not realistically expect them to come
up with a van, unless via a joint venture with Japan. Plus
Forward Control design seems to be a thing of the past -
at least for developed contries, I guess due to increased
safety requirements.

What is the 2.7L medium size van you are referring to? The
Safari was 4.3L V6. And it was burning front tires like crazy.
My boss blaimed me, and nevertheless took it for alignment
at least once in 3 months, and no, I didn't "hit curbs".

You should go to Russia or Africa to really appreciate what
a good van is - extreme temperatures, always overloaded,
do it yourself maintenance - they still run and run and run.
Maybe Americans just don't want a car that runs forever.
 

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I've studied cars and trucks around the world. American trucks are well-equipped for the US market. There isn't much call for the smaller vans you're talking about. If there were a market for vehicles like your Toyota cargo van (which were sold by Toyota, Nissan, and Mitsubishi back in the 1980s), don't you think they'd still be on the market today? These little lightweight trucks don't do anything more than the Dodge Caravan cargo can do. And, again, the Caravan cargo isn't selling in big numbers.

The Dodge Sprinter van has the 2.7L engine. The 2.4L engine in the Caravan makes it quite economical and yet they sell precious few of them. I think you're looking for a market that doesn't exist.
 

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To Hudson:

Dodge Sprinter is a Mercedes, it has nothing to do with American vans.
You won't find a medium size American van with less than 4.3L V6. Sure,
this market does not exist, yet, because US kicked foreign manufacturers
out by prohibitive "safety" regulations. Why would Toyota switch to Previa,
which has no cargo version, thus loosing this segment? I say because US
government realized foreign vans are a threat to US puck-up truck makers
and got rid of them.

"American trucks are well-equipped for the US market" as long as gas is
cheap. In US a liter of gasoline is cheaper than a liter of bottled water.
But believe it or not, oil is running out. This is why the vans will come,
maybe Japanese vans with American brand names, just like Sprinter.

As for Dodge Caravan cargo vs. Toyota Van, Dodge has shorter interior
(because engine is up front), it's a front wheel drive (more problems), it
is less economical (2.4L vs 2.2), it has no manual transmission option, it
is not available in 4wd, and it has poor American quality of parts. Given
that Toyota Van was discontinued in 1989, there is at least 10 years of
difference between these models, and still Toyota wins.

You say you studied cars all over the world, well, what country except
for Canada and Israel is using US vans? None. How about Toyota Hiace?
 
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