Brilliance Auto – New Car Imports From China

Over the past several years, rumors of a pending “invasion” of the US consumer market by cheaply priced (and cheaply made) Chinese cars have surfaced from time to time.

First, it was Chery Automotive, a company sued by General Motors for having a name too close to Chevy, the nickname for GM’s iconic Chevrolet brand. A company set up by Malcolm Bricklin who brought the ill-famed Yugo to our shores in the 1980s was planning to bring these same Chery cars stateside as recently as 2006, but that venture has failed and Mr. Bricklin is in a legal wrangle with his Chinese partners.

Next, it was Brilliance Auto who talked about shipping their cars to the US only to be publicly embarrassed when their flagship Brilliance BS6 (I kid you not, that is the name of this model) failed an important European crash test. Results of that test were posted to YouTube and and can still be found there today. Yes, that is the car’s windshield that worked its way loose and went flying…get out of the way!

Lastly, just about every other manufacturer of Chinese cars has also promised to import their cars to the US including several with unpronounceable and clearly unforgettable names. Great Wall Motor (GWM) is one of the easier names to remember, but their cars were kicked out of Italy recently after a judge ruled that one of its models was a replica of the Fiat Panda, a charge that GWM denies.

Brilliance Auto At The 2009 NAIAS

This year’s auto show in Detroit (North American International Auto Show or NAIAS) featured a handful of models from select Chinese companies, but none have promised what Brilliance Auto plans to do in 2009: put their cars on display and start selling them the same year in the US.

Brilliance has announced that they will ship their BS6 midsize sedan, BS4 compact car, BC3 sport coupe, and FRV hatchback to Detroit for the 2009 NAIAS and begin selling their cars in America later in 2009. Moreover, company officials promise that by this December each featured model will pass stringent US safety and emissions testing.

Advice For Brilliance

Though I certainly commend Brilliance for their persistence, I can offer some advice to the company before they show up in Detroit this January:

Change the name of your models – In the US, BS doesn’t mean Brilliance Sedan – it wouldn’t be proper etiquette to explain exactly what these two letters stand for, but it has something to do with cattle excrement.

Build better quality – The federal government will require your cars to pass US tests otherwise no Brilliance model will be allowed to enter US ports. Once you get that down, you need to make sure that your cars can stand the test of time. American drivers are picky and expect their vehicles to last without bumpers falling off, side panels rotting, or windshield panes breaking.

Hire a US PR firm – Work with a US public relations firm who understands the domestic automotive market and be ready to listen to their advice. Some of what they have to say will frustrate you, but be ready to make changes as needed. Hire a crack writing team who can properly translate documents from Mandarin to English flawlessly. American consumers will only laugh at your poorly translated documentation.

Will Brilliance succeed stateside? That depends – their cars have to be of decent quality, priced to sell, and be backed by a generous warranty. You can bet that the first time a Brilliance model is in an accident, news crews will descend to see how it withstood the crash and what damage was realized. If things get ugly, YouTube could become the worst PR nightmare for the fledging Chinese auto industry.

(Source: The Auto Writer)

Auto Salvage Yards – Better Than Spurious Parts

Buying new auto parts for your vehicle can be expensive. There are a couple of options to help reduce costs. Most people go for the spurious parts option, believing this is the best way forward in an effort to save money. But is it? Can you local auto wrecking yard or auto salvage yard be a better alternative?

Spurious parts are cheaper and offer brand new unused parts at very competitive prices. While they seem to be as good as the original OEM parts, they never are, they are just copies and never are as good or the fit as perfect as the original.

Spurious body parts are notorious for not fitting 100% correctly and so many times you will hear stories about the slight modifications that have had to be made, to make the auto body part fit correctly. Be it new holes to be drilled, a few taps of the hammer or a slight cut with the angle grinder. The stories are out there by the thousands.

While spurious are a great option, there is a better one. Take a visit to your local auto salvage yard. Getting parts here could not be easier. Most of the times they are available of the shelf for the more common auto models, if not you can either search the wrecking yard yourself or an employee will retrieve the part that you require.

There are two huge advantages to getting your parts from your local auto wrecking yard. First and foremost in these recessionary days is the cost, purchasing here will reduce your outlay significantly. Used parts from the auto salvage yard are even cheaper than spurious parts. So there are some good savings to be made.

The second reason to look at is, is that the parts you are getting are OEM parts, which means they will fit first time, every time. As they are original parts they have been designed by the manufacturer to fit and work perfectly. There are many auto wrecking yards around and are easily found in your local area’s.

So the question is why would you choose spurious parts over used OEM parts? OEM over so much more and a big factor for new model cars is that by utilising used OEM parts you safeguard your warranty as all parts are manufacturer approved (well they have to be approved for use, since they put them on their cars).

The Hobby Of Auto Classic Collecting

Every year, auto companies make new models of their cars. Every year, the older models, in general, increase in value. Along with that, the auto classic models like the Chevrolet Impala, or the Buick 8, also go up in value. The auto classic models are considered some of the best cars ever made. They are often seen as having captured the spirit of the era they were first produced and possessed a charm that other models after them have failed to possess. Most of these models also have gone past their expected service life and the casual driver finds them too costly to maintain in good enough condition to drive on a regular basis. However, an enthusiast is likely to accept such problems and live with them in exchange for having what some would call a mobile piece of art.

Generally, an auto classic has been around for 25 years or more, which is a large margin when one considers the usual lifespan of an automobile — around 10 to 15 years. Most cars don’t even make it past the five-year mark, so any model that makes it long enough to be considered a classic is one of those tried and true survivors. The classic car can be difficult to maintain since the parts will likely be impossible to get through the common auto-parts dealerships and, in most cases, have totally ceased to be produced by manufacturers. However, for a true collector, a classic car represents something that modern automobile manufacturers, with their SUVs and focus on utility, fail to grasp: over-the-top style. Hardcore car collectors will casually mention that more modern cars don’t have the same feel, that same undefined quality that older cars, like the legendary Chevrolet Impala or the 1948 Delahaye, seem to possess in bundles.

Despite that, some people still get a very strong sense of personal satisfaction at having fixed up a machine to the point that it meets the original specifications of the manufacturer. Like restoring a priceless work of art, there is a feeling of having done something worthwhile about restoring an auto classic its glory days, when it was first manufactured. It is similar to having preserved some piece of the past for nostalgic reasons, to be enjoyed by future generations. Aside from the personal gratification, however, there also exists a potential market for these cars that one can take advantage of, if one has the patience.

Make no mistake, the auto classic models do have a market out there. Some people are willing to buy them, even at the most exorbitant prices, if they want it badly enough. Naturally, the car has to be in good physical condition but whether or not it can actually be driven regularly is usually not considered. The rarer and older the car is, the more likely the price will go up annually. Though serious classic car enthusiasts, like art collectors, will tell you that the way the prices fluctuate cannot be predicted and, as such, no particular manufacturer, model, or year really stands out as a perfect investment. In simple terms, you collect these cars because you enjoy having them and maintaining them, not because you’re expecting a huge return investment in a few years’ time.

To sum it all up, auto classic collectors are, much like art collectors, very passionate about their collections and aren’t just in it for the money. Some, on occasion, will sell a part of their collection but for the most part, these auto classic lovers prefer to keep them safe in their garages, maintained with a devotion and care that you rarely see outside of the art world. It may seem ridiculous to some, since the cost of maintaining and storing them is quite disturbing, but in the end, you can’t put a dollar value on art. For the serious collector, these cars are just that: art.

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