By Peter McKay
The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday December 11 2001
Faking it has become an industry norm across Asia. Now China is producing a "pirated" car. Consumers are excited but VW isn't.
In Asia, copycat products – CDs, new-release movies, software, watches, fashion gear and electrical goods emerge at lightning speed. Now a small car maker in China is producing a sedan that looks alarmingly similar to Volkswagen's Jetta, but at a far more affordable price. It had to happen.
Called Chery, it uses many of the same parts as the popular Jetta and on the inside looks almost identical to the VW.
"At first, people did not accept our cars," a Chery marketing executive told Reuters. But then when consumers realised the Chery and the Jetta shared so many components, he said, consumer resistance crumbled.
More than 16,000 Chery sedans have been sold over the past five months, a record for a Chinese producer. The Chery is yet another sobering example of unforeseen attacks on foreign companies who've invested substantially in China.
China, with its massive population, remains one of the last untapped frontiers of consumerism. Yet it is not without its enormous risks for western investors who spend much money and time fighting piracy and battling a bureaucracy not overly concerned with effective legal protection of copyrights.
Manufacturer SAIC-Chery Automobile Co Ltd is using technology bought from VW, which insists the "pirated" Jetta is no big threat to the original.
Chinese buyers, ever alert for a bargain and quite shrewd, are rushing pirated products because of the savings and, often, no discernible drop in quality.
Beijing has introduced tougher laws on intellectual property rights, but lax enforcement still concerns foreign investors.
Chery seems to have cleverly straddled legitimacy and the customary Chinese enterprise, using VW technology while also sourcing many components, such as the chassis, from the same manufacturers that supply VW with parts for the Jetta.
It would be a waste of resources, Chery says, trying not to sound disingenuous, to go to different component suppliers.
The Chery sells for no more than 115,000 yuan ($26,800), substantially cheaper than the Jetta, which costs 180,000 yuan ($42,000).
Volkswagen China feels that the Jetta's future will not be imperilled because of VW's powerful brand name (it currently has about 50 per cent of the car market there) and well-established dealer network. Industry analysts are not so sure.
VW will soon introduce a new model Jetta, which will look different to the copycat Chery. But VW must be wondering how long it will take before a fresh counterfeit model emerges.
p.s what next humans hehe
oh yeah theyre already trying that
EF GLi Wagon, auto, Kenwood mp3 headunit, Mauritious BLUE