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Small Chinese EV called Seagull rattles U.S. auto industry

46 Comments
By TOM KRISHER and KEN MORITSUGU

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The US will probably try to stop the import on "security grounds" the usual claim when they cannot compete economically with China.... Huawei, Tic Tok....

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Since they will never make it into the US, I wonder what the goal is is manufacturing them in such large numbers. Keeping Chinese hands busy so they don't revolt?

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

To have any chance at all of a green transition to EVs, the West is going to need to be swamped by those, just as it was by waves of European, JP and SK cars. Block them, and you block the green transition. Game over. Refurbished ICE vehicles will become the default.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

 I wonder what the goal is is manufacturing them in such large numbers.

They get good reviews, they look good and they're very low priced. I imagine the high production numbers are to meet demand.

The Seagull reminds us that China - which describes itself as a "Marxist-Leninist state" - will be the world's dominant industrial and economic force. I imagine Ronald Reagan and Adam Smith are looking down saying, "We were wrong all along!"

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Well, it's not really surprising, is it? For years, US companies like Apple have taken advantage of the cheap labour in China to make huge profits.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

My current auto needs are simple as I have a relatively short commute (16 km) and only have to go onsite to work 2 times a day. This would be a great option for me to replace my aging Mazda but alas, Biden sanctions strike again.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Outside of China, EVs are often pricey, aimed at higher-income buyers. But Chinese brands offer affordable options for the masses *

Whaaat, affordable options for the masses ? Can't have that.

The US will probably try to stop the import on "security grounds" the usual claim when they cannot compete economically with China.... Huawei, Tic Tok....

That's right. Lets champion free trade for all - but only when it benefits us.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Chinese craftsmanship that rivals the US

Even though US craftsmanship is totally pathetic, I doubt the Chinese are matching it.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Ramsey's KitchenToday 08:37 am JST

The US will probably try to stop the import on "security grounds" the usual claim when they cannot compete economically with China.... Huawei, Tic Tok....

That's right. Lets champion free trade for all - but only when it benefits us.

China has never practiced free trade in its life. Bans at this point are just leveling the playing field.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

@JeffLee China may describe itself as Marxist-Leninist, or in more illuminating moments as "Communism with a Chinese face", but that hides the reality of economic life in China. BYD is a good example of modern China. It is part-owned by Chinese investors and part-owned by Western venture capital funds. BYD shares are listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges. There is no Marxism in the history of this company! The reality of China is more accurately a single-party mixed-economy with a very healthy dose of free-market capitalism.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

this is how american "market economy" looks like :)

afraid of cheaper competition?so yes will look for "reasons" how to stop them?

very "american"...

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Gareth MylesToday 09:00 am JST

The reality of China is more accurately a single-party mixed-economy with a very healthy dose of free-market capitalism.

There is nothing healthy about a single party state.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Well done China. Go forward..

Take the foreign markets..

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Instead, Woychowski said the entire car, which can go 252 miles (405 kilometers) per charge, is “an exercise in efficiency.”

And in forced labor and environmental ruin. Don't forget that.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

https://insideevs.com/news/696789/toyota-byd-ev-partnership-manufacturing-interview/

Here’s How BYD Rocked Toyota’s Manufacturing World

Once a leader in manufacturing efficiency, Toyota learned a lot from Chinese automaker BYD.

According to a Toyota Times interview with the Japanese company’s newly established BEV Factory’s president, Takero Kato, he was shocked during a business trip to China.

“For the first time, I came face to face with the competitiveness of Chinese components,” Kato said. “In China, they were not simply learning and applying technologies, but also rapidly transforming manufacturing.”

“Laying eyes on equipment that I had never seen in Japan and their state-of-the-art manufacturing, I was struck by a sense of crisis – ’We’re in trouble!’ At the same time, I began to think that I would like to spend the rest of my career in China,” he added.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Cheap cars only in China it seems.

BYD sells the Seagull, also called the Dolphin Mini, in four Latin American countries for about $21,000. The higher price includes transportation and reflects higher profits possible in less cutthroat markets than China.

Push up prices for more profits to subsidise costs at home in the domestic market. A factory building these cars in Mexico will cost thousands more than in China. They will still be hit with tariffs as the parts are made in China at BYD factories.

BYD also makes many of its own parts, including electric motors, dashboards, and bodies, using its huge scale.

Extra safety requirements for the US market pushing the cost up even further mean it will cost close to $30k in the US. The American makers of EV's will learn to cut costs and compete through longer range cars make the playing field about level.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Gareth

There is no Marxism in the history of this company!

That's pretty funny. The founder and president is a member of the Communist Party and a delegate to the National People's Congress.

Most of China's automakers are state-owned, (communist owned), and are part of the world's biggest auto market and make the People's Republic of China the world's biggest auto exporter.

a very healthy dose of free-market capitalism

"Healthy"? Evergrande and Country Garden were the held up as examples of the thriving capitalism -- until both collapsed spectacularly.

Most of China's total market capitalization, 60%, is from state enterprises, a ratio the Xi administration is keen to increase. Communism is the future.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The Alliance for American Manufacturing says in a paper that government subsidized Chinese EVs “could end up being an extinction-level event for the U.S. auto sector.”

It wasn't that long ago that they were saying the opposite. Now that the Chinese market is essentially shut to all outsiders except for a few German/Chinese JV.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Electric-cars-in-China/China-vows-to-pull-out-all-the-stops-for-EV-supply-chain-buildup

This is not about competing, it's about survival against a state owned ecosystem because the CCP funds resource extraction, refining, R&D, manufacturing and even down to marketing for the state owned EV makers. Could Brussels or Washington ever market EVs commercially?

Just lock them out already. Tariffs, certification for NO government interference and anything else that is impossible to reciprocate. Trade with friends, no foes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Not sure I would want to be in any sort of accident in this shoddy "Seagull".

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

And in forced labor and environmental ruin. Don't forget that.

Cool, how many western companies produce and source goods in China, remind us again?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Chinese craftsmanship that rivals the US

Even though US craftsmanship is totally pathetic, I doubt the Chinese are matching it.

Do you have many problems with your made in China smartphone, laptop, TV, fridge etc...? Mine are fine as are all my friends.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Quite a balanced report from CNBC, Why American Automakers Are Failing In China https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiamzUP6rjo

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

. A shorter-range version costs under $10,000.

Budget version of a budget car lol

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Chinese craftsmanship that rivals the US

> Even though US craftsmanship is totally pathetic, I doubt the Chinese are matching it.

Matching it at a third of the cost.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Can't wait to buy one. China is now the undisputed dominant force in EV manufacturing for many reasons.

All US/EU can do is tariff. This is just a lie because it will essentially rob consumers of choice and the best product and protect shoddy manufacturers.

Secondly there is the hypocrisy: Western countries always have a double standard here. When China puts on tariffs they go black and blue and call it every name under the sun.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Lock it out of the market altogether to force consumers to buy the expensive ones.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Western countries pretend they have never had subsidies for the EV sector and try to hold a straight face.

Tesla benefited from enormous subsidies - as does the automotive sector in general in US/EU.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Can't wait to buy one.

Regrettable that your budget will only run to the limit of a $10K BYD. Just pray that the battery holds out.

Some of us are more than happy to drive Toyotas.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I assume $12,000 USD. in China ? which will sell for how much in Japan? high $18,000 without any import tax I assume ? I am sure you can still pick up a Jet or Sabar K car ute/van for under $10,000 USD in Japan. All this depends on what the hell the article is quoting in $ terms. If. they could offer it in a ute and install charge station next to Pachinko parlours they sell for sure.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This mirrors the criticism once hurled at Japanese cars in 80s - what an irony.

Certain quarters are attacking it just because it's Chinese and there is a strong whiff of xenophobia in some of it.

Look at the facts and not the jingoistic balderdash. This would make an excellent first new car, entry level purchase to urban drivers for a very reasonable price. Not everyone is captain-money-bags to waste on shoddy Japanese products with airbags that kill.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BYD_Seagull

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Ramsey's KitchenToday 12:55 pm JST

Cool, how many western companies produce and source goods in China, remind us again?

Still too many, unfortunately. But thankfully the West is now decoupling from China.

JJEToday 01:52 pm JST

This would make an excellent first new car

Perhaps for those that support forced labor, environmental ruin, and 24/7 CCP spying.

Personally, I'll pass.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

"BYD, has NO plans to enter the United States auto market" BYD Executive Vice President and CEO of BYD Americas Stella Li. February 27, 2024

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well done China. Go forward.. 

Take the foreign markets..

With less than 2% of the automaker, doubt it. I would just never buy that garbage.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I’m just hoping when Trump gets back in we will finally have a choice again, like he said, we should all have a choice, you want an EV then that is what you should get, if you want a gas combustible engine, then that should your option as well. EVs are not for everyone. I’ll buy an EV if all of the swamp elite give up their own gas guzzling cars, bikes and planes, all of them including the President. These people want us to change then they should lead the way.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

This has been coming for a while. America refuses or just can't make an economical car or even a decent standard car like the Toyota Corolla for that matter.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

bass4funkToday 03:07 pm JST

I’m just hoping when Trump gets back in we will finally have a choice again, like he said, we should all have a choice, you want an EV then that is what you should get, if you want a gas combustible engine, then that should your option as well. EVs are not for everyone.

You literally have a choice in Texas forever. Is this more of your desiring to make changes in California despite not living there anymore?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

so many chinese EV "experts" here... LOL

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

And how much would it cost without Chinese government support, and artificially low labor costs?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The way unfair competition works is that with the Chinese government subsidizing the manufacturing, their EVs can be made for far less than they would be otherwise. If they are allowed to put the foreign competition out of business, with their unfairly low prices, they can then raise their prices, knowing that the consumers no longer have any choices.

The article also says that the cars made in China do not have the safety features that are mandated in the States, saving thousands of dollars for Chinese buyers who are fortunate enough not to get into an accident.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

You literally have a choice in Texas forever.

Yes.

Is this more of your desiring to make changes in California despite not living there anymore?

I won’t have to, at the rate Newsom is destroying my old state, so many people will have left, the majority of people won’t buy them, certainly not the celebs. So Gavin is just putting another nail in that states coffin, sad.

so many chinese EV "experts" here... LOL

You don’t have to be a geologist to see when you’re headed for a cliff.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Company President Terry Woychowski, a former chief engineer on General Motors' pickup trucks, said the car is a “clarion call” for the U.S. industry, which is years behind China in designing low-cost EVs.

So, quality is good,better than a western or Japanese vehicle costing much more.

I want one!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

The US has safety standards and actually expects the manufacturers to meet them. Payoffs won't change the standards.

When I think of Chinese manufacturing, I think of humans being treated like sardines, sleeping in 12-high bunk beds with just 12 inches (~25cm) of personal space, using community toilets, fed in company canteens, with little time to enjoy life.

From what we've all seen, Chinese automakers their vehicles aren't safe, EVs tend to catch fire, even when just sitting parked, and don't have warranty protections that Americans are used to having in their vehicles. All that stuff requires new vehicles to cost more than $12K. A single recall can destroy a company. Nobody in America buys a Fiat for example. Same for Renault. We used to have both types of vehicles here. They failed.

Biden just added 100% tariffs to Chinese made EVs yesterday. Even if finally assembly happens in Mexico, the regulations will catch it. https://arstechnica.com/cars/2024/05/biden-set-to-levy-100-tariffs-on-chinese-evs-this-week/

BTW, it is hard to compete with automakers who house their low-paid employees in dorms, force them to work 12+ hours a day and pay for quantity rather than build quality into every aspect of the vehicles. Japan learned this lesson in the early 1970s. Before then, "Made in Japan" meant it (whatever it was) might work a few times before falling apart. A few Japanese companies were known for high quality almost always - Nikon, Seiko for example. Definitely not most. In the 1970s, SONY got a reputation for making the best TVs. That lasted for a few decades.

Today, "Made in China" in America is synonymous for "cheap" and may last only a few uses. For people in the tech industry, it also means "stolen from somewhere else" for textiles, it often means "made with forced labor".

China needs to fix those branding issue before they can be successful in the US.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

China needs to fix those branding issue before they can be successful in the US.

I agree, but to your last point, I doubt they will do so because as you have said, it is all about quantifying for the Chinese and I don't see them changing anytime soon. There are so many problems with EVs, most people don't even address these problems, not just with the batteries, but also in manufacturing them, it would cause more environmental damage building these things in the long run.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Gareth MylesMay 14  09:00 am JST

@JeffLee China may describe itself as Marxist-Leninist, or in more illuminating moments as "Communism with a Chinese face", but that hides the reality of economic life in China. BYD is a good example of modern China. It is part-owned by Chinese investors and part-owned by Western venture capital funds. BYD shares are listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges. There is no Marxism in the history of this company! The reality of China is more accurately a single-party mixed-economy with a very healthy dose of free-market capitalism.

As long as it's controlled by the government. Any foreign company can come do business in China or any Communist nation as long as it's controlled by the government. That's how it was for Siemen's Electronics Corp. based in West Germany, they had ops in Communist East Germany too but once again, it was controlled by the government. The GDR, which is now extinct.

And so it is with China and its CCP. GM actually (sneakily) introduced a 'special' model of car actually made in Chinese factories a few years ago. It was a total bust and was discontinued the following year. Of course, as of 'Marxism', if Marx were to see a Communist nation he wouldn't recognize it. It's all an illusion, a Big Lie. Marx's theories and ideas have never really come to being but 'Leninism' sure has! It's the latter half of that term that makes 'Marxist-Leninism' as rotten as it is. And it is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So, quality is good,better than a western or Japanese vehicle costing much more.

I want one!

This ^^^ is the reason why the rest of the world must put up robust barriers against all CCP business. You are ignoring systematic dismantling of a competitive, fair, freemarket. You are ignoring opaque, downright exploitative labor practices (and this is being kind), you are ignoring security of sovereign supply chain.

In one statement, you are saying, politically controlled, by the worse politics the world has ever known, should get a free ride into the world economic system unchallenged.

What then when the CCP says no parts to fix your car because you criticise them?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What then when the CCP says no parts to fix your car because you criticise them?

I won’t waste time being critical of anyone!

I’ll just buy the newer improved model-no worries!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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