Wednesday, August 10, 2005

$5,000 minivans in China

Last month we discussed very inexpensive cars that may one day be available at a place like Wal-Mart. Here is the harbinger of that, made by GM and priced at $5,000:

G.M. Thrives in China With Small, Thrifty Vans

From the article: "In this obscure corner of southern China, General Motors seems to have hit on a hot new formula: $5,000 minivans that get 43 miles to the gallon in city driving. That combination of advantages has captivated Chinese buyers, propelling G.M. into the leading spot in this nascent car market."

See Cheap electric cars from China for a description.

The assembly process has only one robot, for sealing windshields, relying mostly on workers earning $60 a month, above average for this impoverished region. That comes after G.M.'s experience in Shanghai, where it installed four dozen robots for its first assembly line only to find them much costlier and less flexible than people; G.M.'s second assembly line there was built with only four robots.

Not for too much longer though, eh Marshall?
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