Management: Made in China Label Gets Big Black Eye

Management: Made in China Label Gets Big Black Eye

China has been in the news a lot these days, with reports that a wide range of Chinese products are dangerous, faulty and not fit to be sold in the United States. Everyday products, from pet food, to toothpaste, to tires, to seafood, and now toys for children, have been labeled as unworthy for the U.S. market and have caused a "buyer beware" frenzy with anything bearing the Made in China label. And with good reason.

By Mary DellaValle
Editor
ImportCar Magazine

China has been in the news a lot these days, with reports that a wide range of Chinese products are dangerous, faulty and not fit to be sold in the United States. Everyday products, from pet food, to toothpaste, to tires, to seafood, and now toys for children, have been labeled as unworthy for the U.S. market and have caused a “buyer beware” frenzy with anything bearing the Made in China label. And with good reason.

But why now? Chinese imports have been growing steadily over the past 20 years, and are at an all-time high, with the U.S. importing $288 billion in Chinese products last year — more than double the 2002 figure — with apparel, toys, televisions/VCRs, computers and furniture representing the largest product categories. Supply and demand has been a huge factor here, when you consider that Chinese exports to the U.S. totaled only $4.7 billion in 1986.

A recent USA Today article discussed the current state of affairs with Chinese imports, and questioned if there is a tradeoff in quality for lower production costs.

An executive of a Hong Kong company that audits Chinese factories for many U.S. companies was quoted as saying that it’s a shock to discover how poor the quality processes are in some Chinese factories. His inspectors performed about 25,000 one-day factory checks last year and 23% of the facilities earned failing grades because of poor factory hygiene, inaccurate product manuals, cosmetic blemishes on finished goods and even the installation of the wrong electrical plug.

Unsatisfactory production is being blamed on Western companies’ unending pressure for lower prices from Chinese suppliers that don’t always have the technical expertise to produce to Western quality standards. If that’s the case, why are these Western companies risking their reputation in search of rock-bottom prices? Aren’t the production savings being offset with comebacks and lost sales?

While some U.S. companies operate their own factories in China and use Chinese suppliers, and employ rigorous safeguards to ensure they produce quality products, China has a bruise right now that will take some time to heal. The good news is that since the country joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, it overhauled thousands of laws and regulations to bring itself into conformance with mandates of the global economy. The latest developments will hopefully be an impetus to accelerate these efforts.

And, similar to the skepticism that surrounded the Made in Japan label in the 1960s, raising the bar and increasing quality expectations boosts product quality.

The lesson here is “let the buyer beware.” Safeguard your shop’s reputation by taking extra steps when purchasing parts. Be wary of low prices, for fear of inferior quality, and don’t accept parts you suspect of being inferior. And, as is the case with counterfeit parts, know your suppliers, inspect the packaging and compare the replacement parts against the originals. Don’t settle for anything less than products that emanate high quality.

You May Also Like

PRT Launches 30 New Complete Strut Assemblies

The new items represent more than 10 million vehicles in new coverage, PRT said.

PRT, an ADD Group brand, announced the launch of 30 new complete strut assemblies for light vehicles, SUVs and pickups, which it said represent more than 10 million vehicles in new coverage.

The launches covers a range of vehicle applications, including the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sorento and Acura RDX, in addition to brand-new applications, such as the GMC Acadia 2021, Chevrolet Blazer 2021, and Subaru Outback 2021, among others.

RNR Tire Express Hosts Mother’s Day Giveaway

The eighth-annual event promises $100,000 in prizes, as well as a brand new 2024 Buick Encore for one select nominee.

Brand Refresh for Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus Begins

Logo updates include a single-color tire mark; a logo palette comprised of Tires Plus yellow, black and red; and refined typefaces.

Continental Tire Opens Retread Solutions Center in South Carolina

The company said it hopes to uncover new improvements and technologies to innovate the retread process.

Sun Auto Tire & Service Expands Texas Store Count

The company has acquired Carrollton Complete Automotive, which offers a range of automotive services.

Other Posts

Philips Announces GoPure GP5212 Automotive Air Purifier

It uses a 3-layer filter to deliver cleaner, healthier, fresher air on the go, Lumileds said.

AACF Launches 65th Anniversary Fundraising Initiative

The campaign aims to raise $65,000 through 1,000 donations of $65 each.

Standard Motor Products Announces 123 New Numbers

The release provides new coverage in 53 distinct product categories and 47 part numbers for 2023 and 2024 model-year vehicles.

BendPak Founder Don Henthorn Passes Away

Grew company from small machine shop to global leader in car lifts and garage equipment.