Car Shopping… In China

My wife wants to buy a new car.  Our first problem was that I need to get a Chinese driver’s license and that’s a whole post in and of itself!  But we settled on buying a car after the baby is born on October.  So lately she was checking online looking at new and used cars.  She got interested in the Kias because the price is good and they look good.  I was summarily ordered to do research on said vehicles from our former Chinese territory of Hanguo (Korea).  I did all the internet legwork and we decided to go look at them in a showroom.

Little was I to know that my experience was going to be much more enjoyable than in the USA!

In China they put all the car dealerships in one place in a city, you could call it car city in the city.  In Tianjin they literally put them in a giant strip shopping mall complex. It made a much easier to shop around but harder to find the Kia dealership! They whole place was decorated in car stickers, different car brands including many I’ve never heard of Geely, Engrand, Skoda and a whole fleet of Chinese knockoff brands.  Many of the Chinese knockoffs look just like their foreign brothers with only a new logo.  Byd is the most obvious offender having cars that look just like the Toyota Echo, Corolla and others.  At the beginning of this process I told my wife in very certain terms and conditions that we would not be buying ANY Chinese cars until they had safety and reliability ratings comparable to cars made in Japan or Korea.  (That will probably NEVER happen given how Chinese managers run their companies!)

I was rather impressed with the fact that we didn’t get ambushed by any salesman at all.  We had to ask for one from one of the car care girls.  Yes there are girls that just float around the showroom and lot just cleaning the outside of cars!  Now that I type it seems rather logical because Tianjin can get dusty or polluted sometimes so many cars have a film of dirt on them.  Anyway the salesman was very informative and made sure we had the brochure for each of the 4 cars that we liked and basically just answered my wife’s questions and provided other information.  He did not mention price unless we asked and he was not pushy at all.  My wife did talk with him about financing which might be a bit of a problem for us because we use HSBC not a state owned Chinese bank and even then he was pleasant and polite saying that something could be arranged because our downpayment would be at least 50% of the price.

He was really surprised when I spoke some Chinese to him but happily answered back even slowing his words a bit so I could understand him a bit more easily. The whole time I was thinking wow… a Chinese salesperson in China with sales and customer service skills!!!!  So we decided to get a Kia Forte because of the European safety rating, good reliability reviews, and the space.  I’ll let everyone know when we get it in December!


2 thoughts on “Car Shopping… In China

  1. What do you call a KIA with two exhaust pipes? A wheelbarrow.

    What do you call a KIA going up hill?
    A miracle.

    Repeat ad nauseum. All jokes about skoda in the uk, but rebranded. Much like kias.

  2. I enjoyed the Kia’s when we looked as well. Hope all goes well and you are happy with the purchase since it’s a big commitment. I also liked Mazda’s (not sure if they sell them in China) but they were expensive and I was trying to stay around $20k.

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