Chinese manufacturers have been known to counterfeit everything from Gucci to Pepsi. But as an article in this week's Economist points out, counterfeit cars, produced by manufacturers like Shuanghuan Automobile and Chery, must be the most difficult. (Above, BMW's X5 and the Shuanghuan CEO. Below, a Toyota dashboard and a Shuanghuan dashboard).
With nearly 6,000 parts in the average car, not to mention the teams of people needed to fit them together in such a way that the car is actually driveable, no one can figure out how the Chinese still manage a profit. A running automobile requires a materials cost that simply cannot be offset by cheap labor alone. As the Economist puts it:
That they can sell these cars for half the price of the originals suggests that something odd is going on. They either do not know their own costs (a distinct possibility), have revolutionised carmaking (highly unlikely) or are being subsidised in some way. For the time being, no one knows.
Until someone figures it out, you can get your Shuanghuan pimped out in Shanghai on the cheap.