Many of the most common household brand names in America are not American companies, and that’s been true for decades. When it comes to technological innovation especially — from cars to phones and every appliance in between — we’ve become used to huge numbers of goods coming from countries in Asia.
So many of the everyday items that we use are now made in China, from our underpants to our computer monitors, but one thing that companies hadn’t yet exported from China to the United States were cars. Yet. A Chinese automaker is entering the U.S. car market, but as an existing familiar brand. Volvo will export 1,500 Inscription sedans made in China. [More]
Ford has reached a deal to sell Volvo to Zhejiang Geely, a Chinese company that first started making cars just 11 years ago. The terms of the deal weren’t announced, but Ford’s take is estimated to be about $2 billion, a far cry from the $6 billion the company paid to buy Volvo in 1999.
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.