While consumers in North America are still waiting for -- or dreading -- the day Chinese vehicles show up on our shores, at least one model is ready to go on sale in Europe.
A Dutch distributor says he already has imported more than 100 Chinese-built Landwind SUVs.
As with new product entries in many segments, there is an issue with the quality and whether it's good enough for sophisticated Western tastes. Anyone who saw the Landwind up close at the Frankfurt auto show knows the fit and finish can leave a lot to be desired.
But there may be a more serious snag.
Now there's a question about whether the Landwind can be made to meet European safety standards because it badly failed a crash test conducted by the German auto club ADAC, according to Automotive News Europe, a sister publication to Automotive News.
The distributor says the problem can be fixed, but at least one member of the European Parliament from France wants the Landwind banned from European Union roads. Some of that bluster may be genuine concern for EU consumers and some may be a parochial concern to keep Chinese vehicles away as long as possible.
Here's the catch: The EU doesn't plan to test the Landwind because of technicalities in the way the vehicle is registered in Europe.
The whole matter is likely to end up being settled in court, not at the dealership or on the road, which may be just as well for consumers.
This flap also means that vehicles built by other Chinese automakers will receive a lot more scrutiny when they eventually show up in Europe and the United States.
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