The $10k Car: Should We Feel Bad for Buying a Geely?

Next year’s Yugo is set to be the Chinese-made Geely 7151 CK—pronounced “JEE-lee,” as in “fra-gi-le.” The mid-sized sedan will be hitting our shores for around $10,000, making it by far the cheapest car in its class. But can you, in good conscience, purchase it?

Geely’s average cost for workers in China is $3.50 an hour. That compares with hourly labor costs of $73.73 for GM.

Considering the quality of cars coming out of GM over the last ten years, we think you most certainly can. Japanese and Korean cars started out as bargain-basement alternatives to Detroit steel, and even at current prices, tend to offer a much better car for the money. If the Geely ends up being a quality product, we welcome the destruction of one of America’s primary exports.

Are we bastards? Should we be lamenting the poor working conditions of Geely’s employees? Or is it okay for foreign manufacturers to pay less than their American counterparts as long as the product they sell is quality?


Edit Your Comment

  1. DeeJayQueue says:

    Well, i’m on the fence since the last auto China tried to import scored a whopping ZERO stars in crash testing… We’ll see how this one goes, OR I’ll just get a Nerf outfit.

  2. jYopp says:

    This is so arrogant and judgemental of Americans. We think that because our economy operates at a certain level, everyone who makes less money is being exploited. Here’s the thing:

    In China, general goods (excluding high-tech durable goods) cost

    China also has a problem with a VERY high unemployment rate, close to 20%. Figure in all the unnecessary subsistence farming that goes on, and probably 40-50% of the workforce are praying for better jobs like this.

    Average salary for a factory worker in China is ¥2,000 per month (~US$243.00). People fight tooth and nail for these jobs, because there aren’t enough to go around. Someone working for a small business, like a grocery market or hair salon, etc. is likely to make less than US$1.25 per day. At 40 hours per week, these workers will make US$560.00 each month. Paying more than this is irresponsible and disruptive to the local economy. Until China as a whole develops a lot further, they will have a very dramatic competitive advantage in manual-labor jobs.

    Let the jobs go, and learn something more useful. Stop crusading for economic exploitation under the guise of foreign workers’ rights; Most people would sell an eye for this job, and if the pay were much higher they’d probably resort to stabbing a friend in order to take this job from them (at least in Beijing, they would). Nobody in China will be worse off if you buy this car, and if the Union Laborers in the US suffer, it’s from laziness and resistance to change. It’s not because you bought a car.

  3. jsmith says:

    Wow, where have you been for the past 10 years? American cars have come a long way, JD Power found in a resent survey based on actual number of repairs that GM vehicles are MORE reliable than Japanese vehicles (as opposed to the consumer reports “perceived reliability surveys” which pretty much say nothing of actual reliability). hell, just type “Buick and Lexis” into yahoo and you’ll see the critics take.

    Don’t worry about the pay difference, all people need to be happy is a cardboard box and some hamburgers, who cares if they can afford to drive the car they are building! If the workers don’t organize to bargain for higher wages, it’s their foolish and lazy decision not to do so! Viva Reganomics! Viva la Revolution!