American Ford Motor Co. and its Chinese partner corporation – according to the Wall Street Journal – plan to invest 6.6 billion yuan to purchase and revamp a struggling Chinese car factory. This ties directly into our class discussions about the automobile industry in China and suggests that domestic Chinese car makers still lag behind foreign competitors.
Excited by the prospect of finally creating and having wealth, most developing nations inevitably fall back into some consumerist tendencies, placing greater weight on foreign goods. The fashion industry’s overwhelming success in China testifies to the prevalence of this cultural predilection in China. However, the question becomes do Chinese people prefer foreign cars because they are better or because they are a status symbol? Of course, these two motivations are by no means mutually exclusive – in the beginning foreign cars certainly attain their cultural weight do to their technological superiority, and this attitude can then persist. Furthermore, Ford seems more of a symbol of America than of success and wealth. So, perhaps Chinese cars still cannot really compete abroad.