The headline on the Detroit News on Monday was big and bold. So bold, it caught my eye as I walked through the lobby of the hotel where I was staying. "China Is Coming" it read.
The message was clear in a city that has watched thousands of jobs and billions of dollars disappear over the last 20 years because of foreign competition. If Michigan automakers thought the growth of Toyota , Honda and Hyundai were scary, they ought to worry about how quickly the Chinese will pick up sales in America. After all, the Detroit 3's market share was down to 53% at the end of last year. How much further might it slip once Chengfang Motor starts selling cars in the U.S.? Perhaps as early as 2010?
I understand the concerns for the Detroit's auto workers. But there are a few things to keep in mind. While Chengfang, Geely, Chery Great Wall and other Chinese automakers want the cache of selling cars in the U.S., they are still years from being ready to so. There are dealerships and distribution networks that need to be set up.