Comment: China's auto industry to cure foreign dependence quickly


Release time:

2022-08-30

Every time I hear people say that "China is the world's largest automobile market", the image of a big fat man always comes to mind: he looks good when sitting there, and it doesn't seem to feel bad when he touches it. But let him stand up and take two steps, and the impression given is not the same-shaking his legs, staggering, and always falling down. This is a morbid image, puffiness is just the appearance, the real disease is still in the bones. The first obvious disease is foreign dependence.
 
Someone asked: not to say that after so many years of efforts, China's auto parts localization rate has reached more than 90%, how can this say external dependence? This data is generally not wrong, but the problem is that the remaining 10% of the number of imports required, although small, but extremely critical, the value may be to account for the bulk. In fact, even some engine independent research and development projects need to be supported by imported parts, and it is still difficult to escape the technical control and monopoly of foreign companies. Take the 2.0T engine independently developed by Great Wall Motors as an example. If we look at the following list of spare parts, we can see the degree of import dependence: the electronically controlled injection system is Delphi in the United States, the supercharger and chain are BorgWarner in the United States, the variable valve VVT is Enner in Germany, even the valve is Eaton in the United States, the piston and bearing bush are Federal-Mogul in the United States, the water pump belt is Gates in the United States, and the spark plug is Bosch in Germany, the belt tensioner is from Leiden, Canada, and the boost pressure control valve is from Pilberg, Germany... Finally, 2/3 of the spare parts of the entire engine are from foreign companies.
 
Of course, these spare parts are not necessarily purchased through imports, and in fact, some of the above-mentioned foreign companies have set up joint ventures or independent factories in China. However, the price of things imported by domestic automobile manufacturers is not much lower than that of imports, and the technology is basically in the hands of foreign companies. From this point of view, it is right to diagnose domestic automobile enterprises as foreign dependence. Then, what harm does this disease have on earth? The most obvious and noticeable harm is that it is controlled by dependence, lacks pricing power, and takes away the major part of car profits, which leads to the difficulty of lowering car prices and insufficient competitiveness. However, the deepest and deadliest harm is still the deprivation of the right to speak in the market, and domestic auto companies are often in danger of being choked. Two years ago, some parts and components companies in Japan were suspended due to the Fukushima earthquake. Chinese auto companies that relied on them to provide spare parts immediately fell into an inventory crisis, and a large number of cars were parked on the assembly line and could not leave the factory. This incident made domestic auto companies painfully appreciate the pain of being choked. The problem that the "market for technology" strategy, which has been criticized for a long time, has not achieved the desired results has also been revealed again.
 
Domestic auto companies are not unable to feel that they are sick. Some companies are also thinking about self-treatment, but the effect is minimal. In order to break the bottleneck of foreign technology monopoly, in April 2008, under the leadership of the national development and Reform Commission, 12 local automobile enterprises, including SAIC Group, FAW Group and Dongfeng Group, established China Development Union Industrial Co., Ltd., and jointly developed automatic transmission with foreign BorgWarner. The idea is good, but if you do it, there will be problems. On the one hand, foreign investors have no sincerity to bring out the technology at all. It is only wishful thinking for China Development Federation to try to learn technology from others through the cooperation platform. On the other hand, there is also disagreement within the China Development Federation. Several companies are not united, and their appearance is not united. Now they have basically become an investment company. If you can't do anything together, you can't do it alone. Large automobile groups can eat and drink without worry by selling to foreign capital. There is no motivation for the development of core technologies and the localization of technologies that need to take risks. However, it is still difficult for small automobile enterprises and spare parts enterprises to survive, and they do not have excess capital and ability. Naturally, the development of core technology can be delayed and can not be carried out.
 
From this point of view, external dependence is a physical disease, but internal is a psychological problem. To treat the symptoms, the prescription should of course be based on the principle that heart disease should be treated with heart medicine. Since the previous examples and the history of market-for-technology exchange have shown that good technology and real technology cannot be obtained by "learning" and "exchange" in cooperation with foreign capital, then we can only rely on our own independent research and development and independent innovation. This job is not easy to do, but what you do is completely your own, and no one can take it away-the premise is that you have to settle down and do it, one is not afraid of hardship, and the other is not afraid of death.