All of the talk about Chinese vehicles eventually coming to the United States makes you wonder whose lunch the Chinese automakers are going to eat.
To some, it's a foregone conclusion that General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler group will be the hapless victims of yet another Asian invasion, like sick moose stalked by a pack of wolves.
But that's not necessarily true, according to a fresh survey by CNW Marketing Research Inc., of Bandon, Ore.
CNW measured consumer willingness to consider a Chinese vehicle based on several variables, including vehicle type, size, quality and whether the shopper intended to buy a North American nameplate or an Asian nameplate.
Assuming comparable quality, 20 percent of consumers who intend to buy a GM, Ford or Chrysler small car said they would consider a Chinese vehicle, while 51 percent of consumers who plan to buy a Japanese- or Korean-brand small car might go for Chinese instead.
In general, consumers were more willing to consider a Chinese vehicle when it was assumed quality would be on a par with other cars and trucks. Likewise, the smaller and less expensive a vehicle the consumer intended to buy, the more likely he or she was to consider a Chinese alternative.
There was one anomaly: Though less than 1 percent of those who said they intended to buy a Big 3 pickup would consider a Chinese alternative, 38 percent of those looking at Asian pickups would shop Chinese trucks, too. That was a higher percentage than any segment except small cars.
This is one instance where brand nationality could work against Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and other Asian producers.
As CNW President Art Spinella puts it, Americans aren't real sure where China starts and Japan or Thailand or Korea ends.
Spinella says Japan showed that Asians build good cars and the Koreans proved it. So, logically, the Chinese also will build good stuff. After all, that toaster on the counter was made in China and it doesn't burn the bread.
Maybe the wolves don't have a taste for moose after all.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at