BEIJING — Many U.S. dealers are eager to start selling Chinese cars, but Chinese automakers are not ready to start shipping them.
Frank Zhao, vice president of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Ltd., says Chinese domestic automakers must craft compelling brands, retain talent and develop their own technology.
In 2006, Geely Chairman Li Shufu said his company aimed to sell cars in the United States by 2008. Geely has since backed away from that target. Zhao said Geely still had plans to export to the United States, but he declined to reveal any details.
At the Automotive News China Conference here last week, Zhao said Chinese automakers have made impressive strides in recent years. But they are still like ants compared to elephants, he said.
"We are still an ant, just a large ant," he said in a candid assessment of the domestic industry. In China, most passenger vehicles are produced by joint-venture companies of global and domestic automakers. The brands of the domestics have about one-quarter of the market.
Chinese brands are growing rapidly and expanding the number of products. Their design and manufacturing have improved rapidly, Zhao said.