Now, Even Toyota Should Feel Threatened

Yin Mingshan spent 22 years in a Chinese communist workcamp and prison as punishment for his political dissent. The NY Times reports today that Yin is now the enormously wealthy president of Lifan, an up and coming Chinese car maker with its sites firmly set on the U.S. market.

“Chairman Mao taught us: if you can win then fight the war, if you cannot win, then run away. I want us to train my army in these smaller markets [Asia, the Mideast, the Caribbean], and when we are ready, we will move on to bigger markets.

The new Lifan 520 sedan with a $9700 price tag includes leather seats, dual air bags, a huge trunk and a DVD system with a video screen facing the front passenger. A car loaded like this would be at least twice as much in the U.S. The secret?

Wages of less than $100 a month. “Mr Yin added, “Americans work five days a week, we in China work seven days…Americans work eight hours a day, we work 16 hours.”