Commentary: Electric cars pile up at European ports as Chinese firms struggle to find buyers

Commentary: Electric cars pile up at European ports as Chinese firms struggle to find buyers


Similar movements were made by Japan in the 1960s and 1970s by China’s development program for the automotive industry. At that time, the merchandise coming from Japan was admirable but lacked the elegance, style and longevity of their European rivals. Japanese automobiles were viewed as thin, inadequate, prone to rusting, and very generic in comparison to the refined European models.

Memories of Japan’s involvement in World War II were also fresh in ( particularly American ) buyer’s minds, who were slow to forgive a nation that launched the Pearl Harbour attacks. But, by continually focusing on a reliable, relatively inexpensive and extremely fashionable product, Japan gently turned this around to become the mechanical powerhouse of the 1990s and 2000s.

Several Westerners are suspicious of China, and its automakers are also hampered by their recent tendency to produce both endorsed and illegal copies of European vehicles. However, Chinese cars are quickly improving to meet and surpass current models thanks to the lessons the Japanese can draw.

Brands like Volvo, Lotus, and MG have been strategically purchased, which has also elevated China’s already well-known and, more important, has the world’s best architectural knowledge.

However, Chinese manufacturers have proven incapable of gaining customer loyalty from brands like Ford, Porsche, Ferrari, and BMW, yet after purchasing Western brands. Chinese manufacturers, like the Japanese, will need to develop their own story of the brand in terms of known stability and perhaps success in sports.

It was Ford traders who, in the 1960s, coined the phrase:” Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday”. The proverb serves as an example of how to convince people to purchase a vehicle when they see one win a competition.

Customers have personally verified the stability of the products they are currently producing, which greatly increases brand loyalty. Add to this the absence of a well-established seller community outside of China, and you can see how Taiwanese manufacturers fight off the established rivals.