When A Rookie Auto Executive Arrives In China – Forbes

Posted: Friday, December 30, 2016

Giant portrait of Mao Zedong at the gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing, September, 2016. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images.

Veteran China Car Guy: Oh, that’s sure kind of you, thanks for the beer. Welcome to the Middle Kingdom. Feel like you know our way around yet?

Rookie Foreign Exec: Three weeks in. Yeah, pretty straightforward. I’m selling high quality axles into the world’s largest vehicle industry. I caught a nice break, huh? I’ll start by winning with our traditional customers, GM and Ford.  I can sell to those guys in my sleep.

Veteran: You mean Shanghai-GM and Changan-Ford, right?

Rookie That’s what I said.

Veteran: What’s your plan for selling to the private Chinese, like BYD, Geely and Great Wall?

Rookie: As soon as they understand that quality is really important, more than price,  then we’ll have them as a regular customer, too.  It could take them some time. But they’ll get there.

Veteran: How many Chinese carmakers do you know?

Rookie: It’s like the 1920s in America. They have not gone through consolidation like we did in America. I heard there are more than a hundred spread all over the country. Just a mess. Funny names like Lifan and Zotye and Avics.  That’s why my main customers will be Ford, GM and FCA.

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