Two Chinese automakers are considering making a foray into the Canadian market by 2020, reports The Globe and Mail.
Guangzhou Automobile Group Motor Co. Ltd. is set to enter the U.S. market in 2019, and general manager Yu Jun says the automaker may be able to start selling cars north of the border in the same time frame.
“We hope we can enter the Canadian market by the same time,” said Jun while discussing the brand’s entry into the U.S.
SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd. is also interested in selling cars in the Canadian market after it saw sales figures explode locally in the quickly expanding Chinese marketplace.
“We are trying to understand your market,” said John Shi, senior manager of business development for SAIC USA Inc. in an interview with The Globe and Mail June 28 at the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association annual convention held in Windsor, Ontario.
Understanding the Canadian market is one thing, but getting Canadians to understand a Chinese automaker’s vision and relevance in a competitive market is another entirely.
It’s thought that, given the widely held notion Chinese-made products are of inferior quality to those of Japanese, Korean, or German origin, it will be difficult for Chinese automakers to break into Western markets with any meaningful sales figures.
But consumers haven’t held back from purchasing other consumer goods manufactured in China, particularly when the price undercuts other Asian, Western or European competition.
Furthermore, the Chinese have proven the stigma surrounding the quality of their products is largely hot air, and more correlated to price than manufacturing prowess.
Take the iPhone, for example, which is manufactured to exacting quality standards in China; or consider the Chinese space program, which has demonstrated world-class Chinese technological know-how and quality control management.
Still, it may be a psychological leap for consumers to open their wallet for Chinese-made automobiles, in addition to their Chinese-made electronic goods, housewares, and appliances.
Time will tell, and we may get a better picture of the potential success of Chinese automakers in the Canadian market by 2020.
It should be noted China already has a foot-hold in the North American automotive market by way of Volvo, which is now owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., and is selling well regardless of its new ownership; and that Honda has sold Chinese-made Fit compact cars in Canada since 2011.
Should the Chinese break into the Canadian market, they are likely to bring large six- and seven-passenger SUVs to our shores, as well as autonomous cars once the requisite technologies have been perfected.
It’s thought buyers will be less likely to snub Chinese-made autonomous cars since driver interaction and thus emotional connection to the car will be very limited in comparison with that of conventional cars.
(via The Globe and Mail)