China’s Growing Global Influence on Auto Industry Shows in Costa Rica
They say that traveling opens the mind. That should at least give a little perspective. On a recent trip to Costa Rica, I was faced with a different take on the mild Cold War between the United States and China, particularly on the transportation and mobility front in Latin America.
I was amazed at the variety of brands I saw on the roads of San JosÃ© and in the countryside. Lots of Hyundai, Toyota and Nissan, of course. But also some long-standing American models, such as a Geo Metro and a Chevy Tracker. There were some unusual European models on the streets of North America, including a CitroÃ«n C3 and a Fiat Palio.
It seemed strange to see so many Suzuki and sometimes SsangYongs. But what was most shocking to me about the Midwest was all of the Chinese cars.
A Chery Tiggo, a small BYD, a JAC work truck – it would have been hard to miss China’s presence in the market.
As do many travelers, I have often taken Ubers to get around, although I’m told the company doesn’t exactly have the legal status to operate. (Some corporate traditions, it seems, cross national borders well.)
One of the last – and nicest – Ubers I rode in was a Geely. (Sorry, I don’t know the model: the only badge I saw was SRS, but I think it’s an airbag, not a vehicle.)
Not that the car was impressive by North American standards – any reviewer would blow up its hard, plastic interior. But compared to other rides for hire, this interior turned out to be clean, durable, and stylish.