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China made cars - How do they compete these days?

By CheeJun on 21 Mar 2010

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There seems to be a steady increase in the number of Chinese made cars here in Singapore and I've been starting to wonder why people actually buy them. The safety records are terrible, the engines are far from refined and the quality of the cars are mostly horrible as well. Cheap plastics, body work which looks to be made out of tin foil and if I were sitting or driving in one of them, I'd feel like any small accident would kill me. But now, Chery has released its latest creation. The A3. That changes things a bit.

The earliest local resident Chinese car was introduced by Chery. And the Chery QQ became the beacon of light which China had shone on our shores. However, Geely soon came along and brought in their popular CK model which made some modders relatively happy with its compact shape and body which had 'sporty' potential. The QQ was always looked down upon by many and its safety record wasn't exactly stunning as well. Maybe stunning in the wrong department. If you happen to have a crash in the QQ, expect to die. Basically thats what their safety report shows. And if you thought that buying a cheap China made car would mean that its friendly to your wallet, you'd want to think again. On paper, the QQ is meant to do 24km/l, but most drivers complain that they're only doing 12km/l. So much for the company's integrity as well..

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How do you feel now?

However, things have changed and the Chinese manufacturers have definitely gone back to the drawing board to rethink their ideas and creations. We shouldn't forget than not long ago, Korean cars were still seen as poorly made cars, but look at them now! Hopefully, with Chery's new A3 (definitely a far cry from their 'friends' at Audi, and they should be expecting a lawsuit soon from them), they can turn things around. From the looks of it, thats a plus point to the Chinese. This is by far the nicest looking car that has come from the factories of China. And with good reason too. It was styled by the designers at Pininfarina and that has definitely helped in the styling department. As for the engine and its performance, not so good. It would take roughly 13 seconds to reach a 100km/h and its top speed is a safe 174km/h. Technology and safety wise, there has also been improvement. Here's a quote from their website: "The body structure of Chery A3 hatchback is mostly made of high strength steel sheet (40%), approaching to the level of steel sheet on VOLVO cars". So they say.. And they now have stability control and ABS which is also another improvement. Airbags can now be deployed from the sides too, and that's much better than before.

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I would like to drive this car one day to see how it handles but for now, I think that even though the performance isn't great, this is like Mao's Great Leap Forward. It is a big step that they have made. I am certain that Chinese made cars will be improving in the near future and the A3 is one clear example. Of course they need to settle some issues with the name, and the quality standards, but I think they'll get there one day..

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chery, geely, qq, a3 and 1 more...

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Written by Cheejun
Hi everyone, I’m Chee Jun and cars have always been a passion for me since young and writing about them is one way to express myself in the motoring world.

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Friendstar Mar 21 2010 01:32 PM
it's very simple.

the mindset of chinese businessman is screwed.

they compromise EVERYTHING for profit and market share.

i won't buy a china car ever.

minimum i'll go is a KR
Carmour Mar 21 2010 02:55 PM
I love your 2nd paragraph. "If you happen to have a crash in the QQ, expect to die."

I burst out laughing when I read this statement.
CheeJun Mar 21 2010 11:40 PM
Friendstar: I totally agree with you.. but hopefully someday they can change that mindset of theirs and make proper stuff which wont kill people.

Carmour: thanks! i wont dare sit in one..
Pocus Mar 22 2010 10:10 AM
I remember watching a clip of an china-made car crashing into the barrier during a crash rest. The car was equipped with 2 airbags. The test is a standard 60km/h frontal impact test.

During impact, true enough the front bumper asorbed the impact and the airbags were deploy. But the next few milliseconds shocked me. The frame of the car was no enough to absorb the rest of the impact and the the classis of the car crumpled.

The frontal frame was continuing being push back and the A pillar of the frame wrapped. From this video it seems that the undercarriage also bend and the airbags were off angle and "slipped" away from the crash dummies. The head of the dummies and clear seem to have impacted into the dashboard.

The result as a total mess and the car fail the NCAP test...The airbags were useless for this case. (I know now is NPNT but if you look around in youtube search for "chinese car crash test" I'm sure you have find that clip.

This clip made me lost all hope for china-brand cars.
Carmour Mar 23 2010 10:05 AM
I'm not so sure the NCAP test is accurate.

It could just be a plot to condemn the China cars which are flooding the european and american markets with their low prices.
Thingamajic Mar 25 2010 11:27 AM
Its all about budget isn't it. I mean, sure, if you can afford a Continental car or at least a Japanese one - sure, why not drive one of those. But if you only have so much money but you do need a car, then i say, why not a China car?

You know dude, ultimately, its not the car that matters. Its the driver. And the ones getting the most accidents, crashing and dying, are owners of luxury cars. How are you to blame China-made cars? They are only machines that may not be the most reliable - but the drivers are the ones that matter. So in accidents, blame the driver, not the car.

And i don't think the safety rating is nearly half as bad as claimed. If it is SOOOOOOO bad like ya-ya Singaporeans like to think of it, then why is it still on the roads and selling like hotcakes? Its cheap, it works - deal with it.
Elijahritz Feb 18 2011 03:55 PM
Well, I think it is somehow good that car makers from China are trying to improve the quality parts of their cars. But for me, I still don't think they are not doing their best enough especially in terms of safety measures. A good example is when one of this china car is on a stop then a fast car hits it, passengers of that china car would surely get a major injuries because the material of the body isn't hard or good enough to protect the people inside. I also don't think it's engine, suspension and control arm kit are good enough to make the car stable when driving at high speeds. They should continue to improve their changes and also avoid copying name from other car makers such as this one.
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