China's Chery Car: Safe At Any Speed For U.S. Market?
There's a new video on the web that's sure to entertain skeptics of the Chinese auto industry. It's video of a car from China's Chery Automobilefaring poorly in a crash test in Russia. For those who fear the Chinese auto industry hurting the Big 3, this video will give them the ammunition they need to take shots at the Chinese.
But as you watch this video or read about how poorly the car in the test performed, keep in mind we are still a long, long was from seeing Chinese made cars in the U.S. In other words, don't worry.
First of all, the Chinese automakers do not have their models up to the safety standards required in Western Europe and the U.S. This has been pointed out for years, and yet, I'm often stopped by people in Detroit who ask me, "How long until we see Chinese cars on American streets?" Folks, it's not happening anytime soon.
Second, We are a ways from seeing Big 3 branded cars that were built in China actually show up in U.S. Showrooms. Yes, Chrysler is partnering with Chery automobile to build subcompact cars that will ultimately be badge as Dodges or Chryslers and sold in the U.S. But that deal has just been signed, and Chrysler will go to great lengths, to ensure those cars meet U.S. Standards.
Finally, as fast as the Chinese automakers are moving to hire the talent and acquire the knowledge needed to be world class competitors, they still lack the sophistication to compete in the U.S. That means you can take a big grain of salt when someone says Chinese cars will be here soon.
Do I think we will ultimately see Chinese made cars on U.S. streets? You bet. In a few years China will be the largest auto market in the world and it's only a matter of time until either an established automaker or a Chinese automaker sells a car here that was built there. But, when that happens, you can bet the car will meet our safety standards.
Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com