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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just Like Us, Only Different!

Apex, NC... 9-26-09

The term "made in" is an interesting term. We see it everywhere,from clothes to cars. In fact with the automotive industry, the phrase "Made in Detroit" has changed over time. We now see "Made in Japan" and most recently "Made in China" as very credible partners of the U.S car business.

Being a native Detroiter, I still wish everyone drove a Ford or Chevy. But that is not current reality. Imports are the majority of what we drive in the Triangle. In fact, I was stunned when I was passed the other day, while I drove my HUMMER, by a Toyota Prius with DUAL EXHAUSTS! Times have certainly changed.

I was really reminded of that yesterday at the Final Friday Forum, the always excellent opportunity to network, that is hosted by Dancing Elephants in Cary every month.

The guest speaker, the best I have seen this year, was Gary S. Davis. He is a speaker on business networking and is the author of Networking In The South. He had recently visited China and he spoke to us about the commonality and the differences of the American and the Chinese "world view". It was very cool stuff.

That got me thinking. At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show the Chinese had presence. Believe this, China has about 30 automotive manufacturers. Saab and HUMMER are part of this stable. According to, auto sales are up 36% from last year in China. And they will soon have a big foot print here in the US.

Chery Automobile, Tenyzhong, Geely Automotive, and Beijing Automotive will be here in the near future with good quality products that will sit in neighborhood driveways.

I will still always drive Detroit. It is my "world view". But the Chinese people are indeed just like us only different. We are as Gary Davis said, "wired the same".

Think of this. Although China is thousands of years old, its automotive industry is less than 20 years old. And it is building steam, and with that opportunity.

And if it helps the car business, man I am all over that. I am not afraid to line Beijing up with Tokyo, Stuttgart and Detroit. It is as inevitable as a Toyota with dual exhausts. Because this Chinese variable will make Detroit and Tokyo better. And I want Detroit thriving again. It will always be the Motor City. I love the town!

In fact, the Oakland County Schools, in a plush suburban community north of Detroit, is teaching Manderin Chinese to its students!

We live in a small world with global posture. We need to be a major part of it. Our commonalities must always overcome our differences. It is a message much larger than the Automotive Industry. And it would fix a lot of things beyond cars!

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