Chinese Ethics

Chinese cars, don’t you just love ‘em? You don’t, do you?

Yours truly having spent a while in Southern China this summer, I’m aware that the quality of native Chinese carmakers isn’t quite up to par with the cars coming out of Japan, the US and Europe. In all fairness, it’s getting better, but the Chinese car is still pretty much junk on wheels. They seem to rust more, aren’t built properly and their interiors smell funny.

In short, it’s exactly as we Europeans expect. Arrogant perhaps, but still true, and the reason why no Chinese automobile manufacturer has had any luck selling its products in Western Europe. Sure, MG is now Chinese and they’re desperately trying to sell their MT6 in the UK, but so far to not much avail. Others are trying it too from time to time. We’ve had the Landwind SUV, a piece of junk that performed as poor as poor can get in European safety tests, and Great Wall recently introduced the Steed pick-up in the UK, which looks a bit like a fish with puffy eyes. Smart of them to try commercial vehicles first though.

Anyway, they may not have much luck in Europe, other markets are buying significantly more Chinese cars. South America, Russia and Africa are the obvious candidates, but also Australia recently saw a number of Chinese brands land on its shores. Some 23,000 of those are now getting called back to their maker, as the turned out to be stuffed with asbestos. Lovely! And very Chinese too, selling stuff that’s a hazard to public health.

Also very Chinese is the fact that Great Wall, the company responsible, was aware of the asbestos issue for over a month, but didn’t figure it a great idea to respond immediately. I’ll bet my left nut ‘cover-up’ was the first thing going through their mind when they found out.

Anyway, it now appears it’s all just a small production error. Workers accidentally used a batch of components for the Australian cars that they shouldn’t have used as they were intended for cars sold within China. Yep, that’s the type of ethics were dealing with here!

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