For years, American consumers have been wondering just when they would witness the arrival of ultra-low-priced Chinese cars.
Turns out, maybe never.
Chinese automakers aim to compete in America -- but not on price as the Japanese and Koreans did. Instead, they will market quality vehicles with above-average stickers.
"We don't have the patience of the Japanese and Koreans," a supply chain director at a Chinese start-up automaker told me. "They took too long [to build their reputation] in the U.S."
First among these Chinese challengers will be Lynk & CO. The 6-month-old company plans to enter the U.S. market in 2018, starting in California.
Lynk & CO aims to succeed in America by acting like a global mobility company.
Consumers will have the option to order Lynk & CO cars through a subscription model, and they can share the vehicle with others by using an app on a smartphone. Lynk & CO products will be sold directly online and through company-owned stores.
But wait, not so fast, where did Lynk & CO come from? What about product quality? And how about that name?
Let's go back to 2010. China's Geely Automotive buys Volvo and quickly sets up a tech center in Gothenberg, Sweden. Some 1,700 European and Chinese engineers swear allegiance to a secret mission: Build a vehicle that blends Volvo design strengths with highly competitive Chinese engineering costs.