Chinese Take Out…

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It’s funny – or sad, depending on your point of view.

America car companies are downsizing and U-hauling operations to China as fast as they can . . . at the same time that Chinese car companies are preparing to launch a kind of vehicular Operation Overload directed at the mainland United States.

Two Chinese car companies – Zotye and GAC, which sells cars under the Trumpchi label (no reference to the Orange Man, it translates as “passing into happiness”) have announced they will begin selling cars here just a few months from now.

There will be “landings” in a dozen states, including Virginia, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma and Maryland.

GAC has met with 80 potential distributors, according to the trade publication, Automotive News. Zotye has reportedly signed non-disclosure agreements with at least 120 prospective U.S. dealers.

And that’s probably just for openers.

The Chinese car industry is a state-sponsored industrial juggernaut that already outproduces the American car industry in terms of total volume – in excess of 23 million vehicles manufactured annually vs. about 17.2 million in the U.S.

This is analogous to what happened in the United States around 100 years ago, when Henry Ford began cranking out the Model T in numbers.

Just smaller numbers, over a much longer period of time . . .  vs. the Chinese.

From 1909 to 1927 – a production run of almost 20 years – Ford built just under 15 million cars.

The Chinese built almost twice as many cars  . . . last year.

That stat is giving nightmares, surely, to every round-eyed executive in Detroit. Better brush up on that Mandarin.

And – like the Japanese first and the Koreans second – the Chinese can make cars a whole lot cheaper.

About 20 percent cheaper, according to Zotye’s North American CEO Duke Hale, who says the company’s compact, mid-sized and full-size line of Traum (as in dream) crossover SUVs, which go on sale here in 2020, will undercut the existing competition by at least that much.

If so, it tells you – elliptically- just how much it costs to make cars here.

The Chinese can make a car there, then ship it halfway around the world on a fuel-guzzling container ship, absorb all the costs associated with the loading and unloading – and it still costs them 20 percent less than it does to make an equivalent car in Detroit.

The usual line of objection is that this is the dark fruit of coolie slave labor, or at least of labor arbitrage – the leveraging of China’s toiling proletariat in the service of corporate oligarchies. Which was once true. But the Chinese middle class is indisputably rising; one metric of this is the fact that there are already more licensed drivers in China than in America.

A “proletariat” that can afford to buy new cars equipped with air conditioning, power windows and Bluetooth’d stereos  – and which drives on roads that are in better shape than our roads – isn’t very proletarian.

China has become, by more than one measure, a nicer/cleaner/more generally prosperous place – and for the average person – than America is for the average American, the flag-humping fatuities about “the greatest nation on Earth” notwithstanding.

See, for example, the People of Wal Mart – including the 60-plus-year-old men and women manning the cash registers for $8 per hour, who aren’t driving brand-new anything.

Many of these used to work for American car companies like GM.

China is “communist” to the same degree that America is a “republic.” Both are in function if not name corporatist oligarchies – with the difference being the Chinese oligarchs seem determined to make everything and lots of it – allowing the Chinese people to partake of this, to a degree analogous to the America of the 1950s… while the American oligarchs seem just as determined to do everything they can think of to make it impossible to make anything . . . and create thereby a vast sea of government-dependent serfs tapping away at their Obamaphones while waiting for their EBT cards to reload.

One is an oligarchy on the rise; the other in past-due terminal decline, its wilting car industry being Exhibit A.

American car companies are reducing their model lineups while the Chinese are expanding them; shuttering manufacturing plants – as the Chinese build them. Instead of figuring out how to lower the cost of what they sell – which might result in more sales – American car companies are hellbent on increasing the cost of what they plan to sell (i.e., electric cars).

Because what America needs above all at a time when most Americans could not come up with enough cash to pay a $500 emergency plumbing bill is an electric car that costs 40 percent more than an otherwise equivalent non-electric car. This is a measure of the brain-rot which cripples the country.

Meanwhile, Zotye offers a sub-$10,000 car – the five-door Z100.

It’s actually sub-$9,000.

This car – which has AC, power windows and locks – stickers for about $8,800 in the export markets where it’s already available. It costs about $5,200 less than the least expensive equivalent cars you can buy right now – models like the just under $14k Mitsubishi Mirage (reviewed here).

In China, the Z100 is available for less than $5,000 – about a third the cost of the Mirage.

It could change everything – if the Chinese can get it past Uncle.

. . .

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66 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Eric, do you think these Chinese manufacturers will ever get to manufacturing say sleek high performance muscle cars, at a relatively low price as well? Imagine if they did a proper affordable performance car….. something like the Kia Stinger GT. Infact any idea how that is doing sales wise? Has it caught on?

    Personally I think they will improve quick. Given that all American manufacturers are now in China, very soon the chinese companies will start getting the employees from these American manufactures to improve their own quality.

    I mean I’ve been in a Kia from the early 90s, and compare it to a Kia today – you really cant imagine its the same company….

    • Hi Nasir,

      I see no reason why not – except perhaps that the 35 and younger demographic has been so browbeaten by post-modern PC claptrap that many regard muscle cars with fear and loathing, as despoilers of the Earf. But perhaps that would change, if they had the opportunity to buy a car like the new Mustang, but for 20 percent less.

      I hope we get the chance to find out!

  2. One can probably estimate how these Chinese cars will do in the U.S. by looking back at the motorcycle market from 2000 to 2010.
    To preface this estimation, one must be aware that when the Japanese went balls-out on motorcycles for the U.S. market, they managed to quickly meet all regulatory requirements and started to ship so many units that the British and U.S. bike sales took a massive nose-dive over a 2 year period in the 1980’s.
    It was the mid 1990’s when the Chinese were looking to get 2-wheeled products mainstreamed into the U.S. market. The initial push was for scooters and mopeds, but full motorcycles came in right behind them.
    At first various U.S. regulatory bodies tried to interfere, but with the scooters and mopeds there were few existing rules and even our corrupted oligarchy couldn’t come up with any legitimate reason the scooters were not worthy of U.S. roads.
    The places in the U.S. that sold scooters were not having it though. At first one could not get a scooter because most stores had consigned inventory from the major manufacturers (the Japanese and the U.S.). Like has been done with Tesla, it was the scooter dealers that would not take on Chinese machines for a while, so no one could get one.
    There was a period of 3 years in the early 2000’s where a few hundred small companies were setup to sell Chinese scooters wholesale, with the expectation that the U.S. market would absorb the little machines as fast as they could make them.
    By 2005, most of those companies were gone and there were still only a few places you could find a Chinese scooter – usually at an independent motorcycle dealer who was not beholden to anyone.
    Right around the end for the wholesale scooter companies a number of larger companies from China were trying to make inroads to the U.S. motorcycle market. They realized the motto ‘if you make scooters, the U.S. will buy them’ was not realistic, so they created corporations and new companies with a U.S. presence and rolled out products from the likes of Kymco and other manufacturers.
    Well, if you try to buy a Chinese motorcycle you will find it is both difficult and disappointing.
    Most bikes are still sold by independent dealers, of which there are very few. When you find one, you will notice that it is usually under 650cc – usually at or under 500cc most of the time.
    In the U.S., motorcycle insurance has tiers based on the motor size, and 650cc is the cut-off in most states between rates for a motorcycle and rates for a motorcycle with a big engine.
    Also, if you are a Real Biker you know that the real Fun happens at 750cc or more!
    Oddly, the safety or emissions of the Chinese motorcycles is not an issue. The U.S. established motorcycle brands won’t recognize the Chinese brands, so very few are actually for sale. If you can find one, it will be a smaller engine due to the insurance companies, and you will likely pay more insurance for a Chinese 500cc than a Japanese one. And you can blame that on fire.
    Look at the REAL data from an insurance monolith (I worked for Texas Department of Insurance long ago) and you will see they can convinced themselves that all Chinese vehicles are prone to fires and have to be rated as such.
    To be fair, some of the Chinese models did indeed have fire issues, but this was much after the insurance companies had made up their minds.

  3. The american car companies will be doing an about face on tariffs. Last year they screamed no tariffs on aluminium and steel because it raises our costs to please impose tariffs now because Chinese made imports are kicking our asses.

    • Hi Allen,

      I’d be curious to know what the relative cost of Uncle – government regulations – is in China vs. here. I don’t mean safety/emissions compliance costs (the Chinese have to meet the same standards as any other car seller) but rather the costs imposed at the manufacturing level, such as OSHA and EPA regs as applied to assembly plants and so on.

      I bet the difference is substantial.

      • Nothing like OSHA and the EPA even exists in China. I hear, from several reliable sources, that China’s manufacturing plants are state of the art. Robots build all of the cars, equipment, etc. Their biggest problem are the workers with the education/ability to fix the robots when there is a malfunction. There is a labor crisis in China in that aspect. Menial tasks like repeating the exact same weld every day, all day, is for robots. Perfect weld, every single time. It’s why American and even Japanese companies move to China. They can have state of the art facilities, state of the art equipment and build products exactly like they build here.

        Caterpillar and Hitachi excavators are two of many examples. Both currently build all of their North American market excavators in Japan. They build excavators in China, but only for the Chinese market–for now. They build some accessories in China for the US market now. The union mentality guys will claim, “I don’t want any of that Chinese shit”, exactly like their grandfathers said about “Jap shit” 40-50 years ago. The thing is, if something is built to specific specifications, it doesn’t matter where it’s built. I have Cat buckets for my excavators built in the US and China. You can’t tell the difference outside of the made in China tab or made in USA tabs.

        The Communists here are the reason that the Communists abroad are starting to take control of the market. The only way to alleviate the problem is to free the markets. But who are we kidding expecting something like that?

      • It was the unions here in Australia and their pursuit of inefficiency that drove the local makers offshore. As for the quality of the Chinese shit, it is not very good. We updated our fridge and freezer which we had for 23 years, and were told the new ones would only last 7 years max, despite being 3 times the cost, and no availability of spare parts. Don’t know what US is like, but here it is impossible to get spares for chinese manufactures, so if a thermal relay goes out (a $3 part) the whole fridge becomes worthless because that relay is made specifically for that fridge and no other. The chinese also lie readily in order to get goods out of the factory. I used to have to work with these people so I can vouch for their dishonesty.

  4. Brain-rot is exactly what it is in the west… if ever the saying Nero fiddles while Rome burnt can be applied…. The Chinese will absolutely destroy the likes of GM with economically sensible cars, while the management of western auto companies is concerned about how many LGBTQXYZ people are employed, or how many electric cars (that nobody can afford) are being made. Its like this class of people really has no clue… at work amongst the people I work with in London, a very common view is that car companies are struggling because they dont make enough electric cars that people like! they really dont see that most people that can’t buy a 40K car (well even they probably cant BUY a 40k car, but they will happily lease or finance it because that’s what society has programmed them to do)…

  5. “The Chinese can make a car there, then ship it halfway around the world on a fuel-guzzling container ship, absorb all the costs associated with the loading and unloading”

    My understanding is that once anything is loaded onto a container ship, the cost per mile in transit is negligible. The big cost is paying for loading and unloading it.

    That’s why a container ship full of stuff from the other side of the world, produced with cheaper local labor, can cost less than something grown or manufactured right by the retail stores it is sold at.

  6. Since we’ve been slowly (and overtly) trading capitalism for socialism for at least the last 40 years, why WOULDN’T we be making it impossible for our domestic auto industry to produce and sell competitively while essentially subsidizing the foreign competition (especially competition from an ostensibly “Communist” country)?

  7. There are several reasons why the Chinese are taking over auto manufacturing…and believe me, the Japanese have far more to worry about than even our once-“Big” Three (Generous Mother, Furd, and Fiat/Chlyser, is the latter even “Murican” anymore?)…a lot of it is that indeed the Chicom regime has cooperated with not only its manufacturing base, the epitome of “Crony Capitalism”, but it’s drawn huge FOREIGN investment since “only Nixon could go to China”, as the Vulcans say.

    Meanwhile, in the US, just about EVERYTHING been’s done to discourage industrial capital investment and heap on cost with social insurance, pensions, and medical coverage that have priced the American worker beyond even his record-setting productivity. Again, get Uncle Sam involved in making things “affordable” or “efficient”, and the OPPOSITE will inevitably result!

  8. My thoughts are simple. If you are 50+, the old USA is gone. I believe the future USA looks bleak.
    I wonder about the future for my young adults and my only message is, be better than your peers.
    Pick your place/career/spouse/etc.. wisely, it will really matter.

    I said 10-20 years ago that the Asian’s were going to crush our Auto manufacturing. Took longer than I expected though.

    It is not just a car manuf. issue either. Same thing is happening in most industrial manuf., and I am sad for the future of the the once great USA.

    My only hope is that I can influence the companies I represent to build manuf. plants in the USA. I have built enough clout in my career to at least get listened too. It matters for me and my employees when times get tough. And they will. I believe that whoever ‘invests’ in manuf. in the USA will win (or just gain significant market share) the USA market (in my industry) when times get bad.

  9. “See, for example, the People of Wal Mart – including the 60-plus-year-old men and women manning the cash registers for $8 per hour, who aren’t driving brand-new anything”

    America’s labor rates are astounding. Yes many people earn only $8 to $17 but some are earning some incredible rates. Have you checked the auto repair rates lately? The rates at dealerships is about $150 an hour while at private repair garages its about $80 to $110 an hour.
    I had a dealer install a cabin filter and I was charged about $70 dollars. $30 for the part and $30 for labor. Next time I did it myself and it took me only 2 min.

    • SHHHHHH….(don’t let this get out…)

      Next thing you know, the goddamed cabin filter housing will be secured with Dzus fasteners and you’ll have to drill them out, or give up and pay $130 for “labor” at the STEALER (I mean “Dealer”) service department, as no independent garage will touch the damn thing.

      There’s a story of a little birdie, flying in freezing weather, and miserable, tires out and falls to earth, and lands in a steaming warm pile of shit. The bird gets warmed up by the shit, and after a few minutes, comes back to life and begins signing..then a cat hears it, and before the birdie can get the shit wiped out its feather, the cat gobbles it up! Lessons to be taken: (1) falling into shit isn’t always a BAD thing (2) not everyone that pulls you out of the shit does so with YOUR interests in mind, and (3) if you’re in a “world of shit” but warm and happy, STFU!

    • Yes, repair shops charge big money, but that doesn’t mean the mechanic is earning high wages unless things have changed in the past couple of decades. I was a mechanic until the year 2000 when I got tired of all the crap. The Volvo/Mack dealership shop was charging $100 per hour back then, but the top mechanic was only earning $15 per hour. An entry level mechanic there only made $8-$9 per hour. If you factor in the cost of tools, the pay wasn’t very good at all.

      • That would explain why most “mechanics” don’t seem to know crap about what they are doing. The high shop rates are bad enough without paying for on the job training.

        • ANON, Far be it for a maggot like you to learn to repair your own machinery/property. Ownership should bear that responsibility, but you just want to bitch about how much you have to pay for knowledge and experience you don’t even possess, hypocrite. Maybe, if the underachievers of society were not simply funneled into the auto repair industry in the first place, this wouldn’t be an issue. The lack of value you place on other people’s services is the root cause of your woes. Stop blaming others and make a difference by practicing what your preach, instead of being a spoiled crybaby consumer.

          • You don’t know what the hell you are talking about. I’ve repaired my own stuff for years, rebuilt both gas and diesel engines. But I don’t have a lift and I’m getting too old to crawl around in the dirt anymore. I also worked for a dealer and a service station many decades ago, so I’ve seen both quality and shoddy work from the other side. When I had to do some head scratching or backtracking on a job, I would adjust the time downwards to reflect what it should have taken.
            Clover
            I don’t mind paying for quality work for the things that I don’t want to tackle anymore, but some of the things I’ve been quoted for I ended up doing myself in less time just piddling around and taking lots of coffee breaks, without a lift and power wrenches. So if I was in a well equipped shop and doing it every day then it wouldn’t take much time at all.

            So take your name calling and shove it up your fokking ass. I was probably repairing my own machinery before you were even born.

            • You may be exactly right, but in that case, you also know that no amount of training makes a competent mechanic. Perhaps if you would care to sign in as something other than “anonymous”, your opinion would hold some weight. Your “drive-by” comments are no more deserving of respect than my name-calling, just thought you might respond to something on your own level.

            • Well then, Anon, You probably worked during the time when mechanics were well paid. The old-timers I once knew told me that mechanics used to rent a bay to work in, and could make big money by doing more than one thing at a time depending upon the tasks. That all changed as shops began hiring employees instead of renting bays out. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the State caused all of that to happen, but upon learning about that; I saw it as big(ish) business/ dealerships seizing more profit for themselves by strategically driving down mechanic pay.
              You are wrong about the paid training. That didn’t exits aside from perhaps an hour or two class once a year or so. Actually, dealership mechanics in SW Missouri during the time I worked as a mechanic got paid a percentage of the book rate time that some desk jockey conjured up as the time it takes to do X. They never admitted to that, but the results were obvious. They told use that they timed how long it took for a factory worker to do X, and that became the book rate time. Oh yeah? Why does replacing both steer axle shocks take the same time as replacing just one? But even if they were telling the truth, they were combining apples and oranges. The cab and the hood are not in the way on an assembly line. The bolts aren’t rusty. The assembler doesn’t have to go outside, find the truck, start it up, build up air pressure, drive it into the shop, walk to the parts counter and tell the parts person what you need, wait for him to find it, install the part, pull the truck out of a bay and return it to a parking space, put his tools away, and clean up the bay. The factory assembly line has the right parts already there, and he is doing the same task repeatedly with the exact same tools, very much unlike the mechanic.
              Further, our shop allowed certain brown-nosers to pick which jobs they wanted, and the rest of us got what was left. Some jobs, like A/C work, had a generous book rate time allotted for the task and another task could be accomplished while the A/C was being recharged. Those types of jobs would get snatched by the brown-nosers.
              I would get crap jobs like clutch replacement. I replaced a whole lot of them! They are a pain in the ass because on Mack’s and Volvo’s, the weight of the rear of the engine is supported by the transmission mounts; therefore the rear of the engine has to be jacked up high enough for the transmission to be rolled backward on a transmission jack far enough to clear the transmission mount saddles.
              I was a damned good mechanic who almost never had a vehicle return for re-repair. I ended that career for several reasons.
              1. I got tired of seeing mechanics who do a shoddy job getting paid better than I was. Remember book rate time? When servicing a vehicle, the shoddy mechanics would skip greasing the zirks that the driver couldn’t see without crawling under the truck, skip inspecting the vehicle for potentially needed repairs, and skip checking the gear oil levels. Thus, the shoddy mechanic made more money than I did because I performed all those tasks, and he could get more services done in a day.
              2. I have never brown-nosed anyone, nor will I ever! If merit doesn’t matter, then I am in the wrong career!
              3. Health concerns. I was worried that my exposure to brake and clutch dust, various types of oils, and other chemicals may be detrimental to my health as I age. The chemical composition of many of those things have changed over the years, and I suspected that the long term health effects of breathing in non-asbestos dust and skin contact with new chemicals were unknown.

              • I was just a flunkie during my time at the Chevy dealer. The line mechanics got paid “flat rate” and most of them made a killing on it because they really did know what they were doing, and did the work in less time that what they were paid for. And yes, it was obvious that the “dispatcher” (exact title escapes me now) favored some mechanics over others.

                When I worked at the service station (remember those?!) there was a guy who made a killing selling folks stuff that they didn’t need. Of course he was the star employee according to the manager. But I’m the one that tightened the fan belt for them for free the day after he sold them a NEW battery, and the car still wouldn’t start the next morning! I made the customers happy but the bosses not so much. This was back in the days when you had regular customers who bought all their gas and tires and service work from this one station. But the SIL ran the place into the ground.

                By “paid training” I mean ME paying the shop rate for somebody to learn how to fix (or maybe not!) my vehicle. I don’t mind paying the shop rate for a reasonable time to do something that I don’t want to do or maybe not sure that I can do correctly. If I have to make three 50 mile round trips to the parts store, then it might be as cheap to just pay for it to be done.

        • BTW, most large volume shops have high rates to pay the upper managers, shareholders, insurance, and the endless litany of govt mandates strangling the industry itself. Add that to a consumer mentality of hiring the lowest bidder, and you get what you’ve got. Apparently the “customer is always right” mentality hasn’t worked out so well in the long run, has it?

  10. The problem is, the US is using black and Latino labour, largely in their factories. The Chinese are using
    Chinese. The Japanese, Japanese. The Koreans, Koreans. The work ethics are diametrically opposed. When we were in our hay day, our factories were filled with European immigrants with…. Work ethic. This is a hard pill to swallow, and I hate to admit it… But avoiding it has brought us to where we are. Loss of national pride. Trump’s the boy with his finger in the file.

    • The problem with US manufacturing and the US worker in general is that we have a fake money regime. We pay people in money with rapidly decreasing buying power, with the net effect being that people work and don’t get paid. In the Soviet Union there was a saying which said “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us” The same is happening here. China and Russia on the other hand are stockpiling massive amounts of gold, and China is talking about a gold backed Yuan. We have a system of infinitely expandable money which benefits the financier at the expense (literally) of everyone else.

      • Unpc but true. I’ve worked in manufacturing for the last 6 years and the majority of guys who last are white, asian, or latino. The Latinos have the language barrier so they dont get in as much. The asians will all follow each other so one shift will be 90% asian. The white guys just show up, work hard, complain that they wanna quit, but then come back the next day over and over again. The black guys usually have attendance issues they have a lot of family problems from having a bunch of kids with different women or so many ex’s that they always have some dramatic family problem and they miss work because of it. Our location is in a black neighborhood and we get 90% black temp to hire workers. only 5% get hired on because of bad attendance followed 2nd by a lack of work ethic. I’m up front about our expectations. The black guys we have are all appreciated as everyone we hire has to have the same work ethic that we all expect. If you hired solely based on skin color and had a shift of all the temp people that came through it’d be a mess. I’m asian btw so i’m somewhat shielded from the racist accusations.

        • Unless you’re in college, in which case being the “model minority” works AGAINST you. That’s the bastion of libtard-dom fer ya…punish for ACHIEVEMENT, and single out the groups that tend to perform above average.

          Same reason that so many libards have it in for “Walley World” (Wal-Mart). When you get right down to it, Walley World doesn’t treat their rank and file any different than any other mass market retailer; retail is HELL. Yet because Sam’s Walton’s bastard child is SUCCESSFUL, that’s why the liberals use it as their “Whipping Boy” when they rail against the Capitalist system and FREE Enterprise!

          • My brother worked for Target (liberals favorite box store), Kmart and Wal-Mart in the past. Wal-Mart was the best of the three to work at. Pay was a bit better, they treated him better, got promotions etc. The GM of a Walmart does take home over 100k a year, but they work you hard for it, 90-100 hour week minimum. He knew he couldn’t do those hours and got out of retail.

  11. Would another low priced Chinese subcompact sedan be such a bad thing? It sucks that children build them, because children are bad at most things, but the Chinese have been snapping together plastic parts for generations now. Besides, this car looks pretty cool.

  12. The good thing about the Chinese is most manufactures use the same parts in all their products kinda like the zf transmissions. So i think parts will be affordable and easily accessible as well. Chinese quality is based on what you pay. Apple and Sony products are made in China and high quality. However you will pay for the quality and those companies are managed from outside of China with a different culture. They do have a different culture from that of Japan for quality and excellence. The chinese have a saying that is basically “it’s good enough” so they rather rush and complete a project or product than delay it. So i think quality will be lower than Japan maybe as good as GM and FCA considering Buick and GM are doing well there despite the quality problems.

  13. Sounds as if the main difference between the Chinese and American systems is that the Chinese aim to level UP, whereas the USA aims to level DOWN.

    Ironic, eh?

  14. The Chinese have adult taste in style unlike the Japanese. Most all Japanese cars look like they were styled by 12 year old girls. General MacArthur claimed Japan was a nation of 12 year olds…He was probably right.

    I think I would rather have a Mitsubishi Mirage until 5 year proven.

  15. i see two things wrong with this article.
    zoyte is not an automobile. it is a symbiotic organism brought to the planet earth from some planet somewhere. i saw it in one of those stargate episodes back whenever.
    and it is not chinese take out. it is takee outee. it’s two miles west and one mile north of, here. darn good and inexpensive as well. typical.
    the only thing i really want to here out of the chinese is for them to talk about their poritical “elections”.

    • my comment was too short so this is an attempt to edit and get it posted to make the correction so i will use enough text to make the correction that i saw after i posted.
      there.
      zotye.

        • Hi Paul,

          Actually, it’s the reverse! These are the electric cars which make some sense. Inexpensive, not even trying to be other than short-range/low-speed conveyances… gold carts, basically. EVs are good for that. And so long as they’re not mandated or subsidized, I have no problem with them whatsoever.

        • Make them 4×4 and cheap enough and I will be all over it!

          Also, needs an enclosed cab and some heat. But will those batteries even charge in an unheated below zero garage? If they will, it can’t be any worse than running a block heater all night and most of the day. We have to drive 30+ miles round trip just to get gas.

          • I have always looked at block heaters as saving everything else. I know I may be the only person in Texas to use a block heater on such other than diesel but the wear on bearings alone is a plus in my book.

            You save a lot of fuel too when you don’t have to go back to the house and wait for equipment to warm.

            I’ve never known anyone but myself to use a block heater on a tractor. Everyone else gets a brace of pickups around a big tractor with all those booster cables and makes the starter smoke till it fires up after using a can of starter fluid. It’s been my experience that big diesel starters are damned expensive.

            Go ahead, toast that starter on a 3406 Cat and find out what it costs. You’ll lose a couple days work for a rebuild rather than buying a new one…..unless you’re under contract to be there every day and then you’ll write that great big 4 digit check and feel that big pain in the ass.

            I don’t care what the negligible bill is for electricity. Paying the electric bill ain’t what keeps me up at night but sweating that check opposed to what I make with that piece of equipment will damned sure make me lose sleep. YMMV……but my mind was made up decades ago.

            I’ve taken enough industry letters over the years to understand 80 to 90 percent of bearing wear occurs on cold startup.

            I’ve worked on engines that require 3 stories to house and the common thing with them is never turning them off. They’re designed to have the oil and filters changed while running.

            This is also the reason I have always taken small block starters and changed them for big block starters, a very easy thing to do with GM vehicles.

            All my life I’ve heard Ford owners cry big tears over starter replacement. OTOH, I don’t sweat anything but the battery on extended cranking since the big block starters were overbuilt and will easily start a small block engine in gear.

            In my 69 years I’ve picked up a lot of “stuff”. I just got off the phone where I learned my using a mirror to see all the way from the front inspection cover to the cab of a road grader has been replaced by a tool that plugs into your smartphone that does the same thing only better. Live and learn compadres,live and learn.

            • We have in the winter perhaps the worst usage of a vehicle ever: starting in the cold to drive 1/4 mile over to the barn with one or two jugs of hot water to take care of the horses. So the block heater electricity is cheaper than the gas to let it idle to recharge the battery plus being easier on the engine, and I don’t have to drive 16 miles one way just to buy electricity. I plug in all night if the low is going to be less than +10, or an hour in the morning between +10 and +20.

              This morning was -18 F and I did let it idle for the 15 minutes or so we were at the barn. So much for global warming …

  16. Americans think that the US must be a police state now because the USA was always a police state, but Americans don’t realize that the US used to have freedom and lost it.

    • the US, while not ever a democracy, but a constitutional republic, has never had freedom, nor has ever been free. we did have liberty once upon a time. in the words of benny franky it was essential liberty.

  17. Be looking for shipments of Chinese electric utility vehicles arriving on-shore. They claim they’ll be built to pass NHTSA standards (aka federalized), but since they run with ordinary lead-acid batteries and have a top speed of around 28 mph, the two phrases that come to mind are “Golf cart” and “Mobile chicane”.

      • On of my footwear suppliers from Spain stopped coming to the U.S. to do business because 1.) getting into and doing business in the U.S. became such a crap shoot-hassle with Customs and our plethora of restrictive laws, 2.) the market for high quality, through pricey, shoes had declined precipitously in the U.S., 3.) China was easier to get into, easier to do business with, and had a growing market for people who liked nice things.
        That was 10 years ago. I can only imagine what it is like today. Actually, Fred Reed went there recently and reported back on how Chinese infrastructure (like roads and airports) made the U.S. look like a third world country.

        • Hi Ron,

          Yup. I know Fred some; his reports are – or ought to be – canaries in the American coal mine. Especially his point about China spending money on infrastructure rather than “defense.”

          But is anyone paying attention?

          • The Chinese have enough nuclear production capability with their fast breeder reactors to eclipse us in weapon production IF they chose to do so. However, the Federation of American Scientists, the foremost body on commentary on nuclear and related military technologies, estimates the current stockpile of strategic nuclear weapons of the “People’s Liberation Army” of China at about 260, with a total “throw-weight” of less than 300 megatons. This compared to the USA, with about 7,000 warheads in the stockpile, with about 2,000 deployed, and that considerably down from a peak of 32,000 warheads in the inventory in 1967! Yes, in THEORY the “Chicoms” COULD “slap us around” with what they’ve got…however, in reality, their arsenal is intended to keep the RUSSIANS honest.

            China knows best how to provide its defense needs, and I don’t see a whole lot of PLA personnel outside THEIR borders. Indeed, their best defense is sheer SIZE and NUMBERS. As it was put in the first “Red Dawn”, when a down USAF pilot tells the kids about what happened, and is asked “who’s on OUR side?”. When LtCol. Andrew Tanner, USAF, in his Texas drawl, explains that “Europe figured that two wars in one century, is sitting this one out, ‘cept Britain, and they won’t last long” (presumably subjected to a latter-day “Operation Sea Lion”, which indeed might have been spearheaded by the National Volksarmee of the then-DDR), and “Six Hundred Million ‘screamin’ China-Men”. One of the kids remarks, “Last I heard, there were over a BILLION ‘screamin’ China-men”. Tanner throw the last of his whiskey from his canteen cup into the fire, and it briefly flares up, as he says, “There…WERE!”.

        • Always enjoy reading Fred’s missives.
          Another reason is that they always piss off certain people who need to have their cages rattled every so often.

  18. If it wasn’t for the barriers erected to keep them out, the Chinese car companies probably would have arrived 15 years ago already.

    Guessing the largest market share they take here is from GM. It will be especially bad if people don’t mind the quality of the Chinese cars. Guessing these companies will not have the quality problems that Hyundai had at the beginning of its US run.

  19. “…if the Chinese can get it past Uncle.”

    They will if they want to. Remember, the Chinese are holding a ton of Fed debt. If they decide to dump it the fiscal Merry Go Round, i.e. QEWhatever, is toast. They’ve got leverage on Rome-on-the-Potomac. Which may cause some domestic pushback on the insane regs coming from the EPA & NHTSA.

    Then we’ll have to see if it becomes a case of “supporting the enemy” if you buy one. It could be a more severe situation than we saw in the late 60’s early 70’s where if you bought a car made “by those Japs that attacked Pearl Harbor and tried to kill me” you face some rather unpleasant scrutiny at times.

    • Funny you mention that. A local vet who was part of the bataan death March told me how he once pulled a guy out of his Toyota at a red light and beat him down back in the day.

      I think those days are long gone. Only get beat for wearing a maga hat these days.

      • I recall an article about a new Japanese sports car by a Car and Driver tester and journalist pulling into his dad’s drive and showing him the new car. It was back in the 80s when the new paint debuted on bikes and then cars that was very impressive, like the paint on my Zuk that appeared to be many colors depending on surrounding light. His dad looked into it and said “All I can see is my dead buddies faces”. No matter what the truth of that holocaust may be, I can understand how living through that hell would affect your view.

      • Had a fellow Aussie worker visit Pearl Harbour, the Arizona Memorial, back in the early 90s he noticed that the jap tourists were kept separate from the Caucasian tourists. Being inquisitive, he asked why this was so. Turned out that during a moment of silence to honour the fallen, the japs kept yakking on and some vets there started tossing the japs into the water.

    • The FED will buy the FED debt. It’s good to have the monopoly on money counterfeiting with 150M willing slaves to pay debt service.

      • Jewish fellow and famed pitchman (“Sham-Wow” and “Slap Chop”) Vince Offer, in promoting the former, mentioned that it’s made in “Goimany”, and “Da Goimans make good stuff!”.

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