Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quality Fade

A week after I complained about my IKEA "Made in China" lamps, Chinese car companies got busted for using asbestos in cars exported to Australia.

Wall Street Journal
Some mistakes are understandable. Others seem to defy explanation.

Earlier this week, two leading Chinese car companies, Great Wall Motor and Chery Automobile, confirmed they are recalling 23,000 cars and trucks they’ve sold in Australia because asbestos was discovered in their engine and exhaust gaskets.

This is a genuine setback for the companies and yet another blow to the image of Made in China.

After first reading the story headline, my reaction was puzzlement. Leading executives at Great Wall and Chery take product quality seriously, spending millions of dollars every year for better results. Improved vehicle reliability at Chery and Great Wall helped to ignite a 50% jump in exports to markets like Australia, Russia and Brazil last year.

How could these two proud Chinese car companies permit such a senseless error, one that is certain to damage their brand names?

The article also mentions the same book, Poorly Made in China, to explain the apparent lapse in quality. I also don't believe that this was an innocent mistake but a strategy: enter a market with a quality low price product, bankrupt other competitors, then cut costs/increase profit by secretly reducing quality. OF course this backfires in the long run but I don't think Chinese manufacturers care. They're either in it for the short term profit or to steal technology/IP.

Never is a very long time but I will never buy a Chinese car.

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