Friday, November 26th, 2010...4:50 pm

Ford Motors China

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Ford is looking to expand into China to tap in their market and compensate for slow domestic growth.  I think the focus on the Chinese and Indian markets could create some interesting shifts in the auto industry.  For example, car makers may start designing new models to suit the Eastern consumer rather than the Western consumer.  It may also mean that Chinese auto makers will grow to challenge American and Japanese companies, so that in the future all of our cars will be made in China (along with everything else).

However, those notions are challenged by the article “Creating a Car Culture in China,” which is listed on the syllabus.  From reading that article, it seems that Chinese drivers and American drivers have very similar tastes in cars.  They are both interested in freedom and status.  They both even love SUVs.  Chinese consumers also seem very fond of foreign made cars, as attested to by their love of Audis and Ford’s ability to expand so rapidly.  I think these trends come up a lot in China, where foreign companies try to create a more Western consumer culture in China so that they can sell the same products there that they sell here.  I think I’ve heard of it happening with diamond wedding rings and sports equipment as well.  It seems to me that some of the status that comes with goods such as cars comes directly from their association with the West and with modernity.  Or maybe it’s just novelty.  Or maybe the similarities in car culture just comes from the first wave of Chinese consumers.  It makes sense that the first people to buy cars in China will be those who are most easily sold by the current sales pitches, which are aimed at Western consumers.  Maybe once more and more people buy cars they will start to impose their own preferences as a consumer group.

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