This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," October 27, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: What if I told you that American-made vehicles are so yesterday?
My next guest plans to be the first to import and sell Chinese cars in North America and predicts that, within five years, Americans will be buying one million Chinese-made cars from his dealers.
With us now is Malcolm Bricklin. He is the founder and the CEO of Visionary Vehicles.
MALCOLM BRICKLIN, CEO, VISIONARY VEHICLES LLC: Really, Neil.
CAVUTO: What's doing it?
BRICKLIN: Well, what's doing is, they have decided to come into the automobile business.
And when the Chinese decide they want to go into a market, what they do is study all of the case studies of, who are the best people? And they picked Toyota (TM) and Lexus. And they said, we want to copy them, except we want to sell more than both of them.
CAVUTO: Yes. But there's always a learning curve, right?
CAVUTO: When the first Japanese cars came into this country, they were crap. The first Korean cars that came into this country, they were junk, too. And then, they got better, obviously, much better. Who would want to be the American to be the first to buy these Chinese cars?
BRICKLIN: Well, the Japanese cars, when they came in with Toyota and Datsun first, they had to recover and do something better.
When I came in with Subaru in 1968, they were there. From the day Subarus came in, they were top quality. And they remain top quality. What you need to do to have top quality is get great designers, get great equipment, put a lot of money into the thing, and have the determination to do it.
CAVUTO: And it is going to be much cheaper, right, much cheaper than...
BRICKLIN: Well, we are going to go after cars like BMW and Mercedes and be 30, 40 percent cheaper than them.
CAVUTO: All right. But I tell you, a BMW or Mercedes buyer isn't going to buy a Chinese car.
BRICKLIN: I agree 100 percent. We're not after them.
BRICKLIN: We want to build a car that will be equal to in every way, shape or form, except it — and feels rich, and sell to people who can afford to buy Toyotas and Nissans and Hondas (HMC).
CAVUTO: Are they going to want it?
BRICKLIN: Well, we think they're going to, because they're designed by Pininfarina and Bertone, engines by AVL, and interiors that are going to be knocked out. So, we are going to...
CAVUTO: Usually, when you're combining those type of people altogether it's a disaster.
BRICKLIN: Yes, it could be. It could be. But, then, once again, they read all the history. They had all the benefits to see what was wrong and what was good.
BRICKLIN: And they're picking the good. And they're listening big time.
CAVUTO: You're a very smart businessman. But would you as a consumer buy the first off the lot?
BRICKLIN: Well, somebody just did a study in "Automotive News." I just read it yesterday, as a matter — Ed Lapham, I believe, is the one that did it. And he said that they polled people from Asian models. And they asked if they would buy Chinese cars if they thought they would be at the same quality. And 51 percent said yes.
CAVUTO: But, now, the issue would be price, right?
The only thing that compelled Americans to originally buy Japanese cars is, by comparison, they were so cheap.
CAVUTO: Even when the quality was shoddy.
Now we know, in retrospect, the quality quickly caught up and then surpassed American carmakers. The same with Hyundai (HYMTF), I guess, in Korea, when they originally were junk. They have gotten much better.
Who wants to wait through a learning curve with Chinese cars?
BRICKLIN: Then I don't think they are going to have to.
The learning curve they have been doing is the last five years. They have been learning how to really build good cars. And now they're bringing the very best of the best with us and others from around the world.
CAVUTO: So, you're an American manufacturer. What is going through your head?
BRICKLIN: It's going to be a problem. But the American manufacturers have more problems just than just the Chinese, because they have problems now. And the Chinese aren't here.
CAVUTO: And the Chinese are cheap labor, right?
BRICKLIN: Yes. Absolutely. It is going to be a very, very serious realignment of the way the world is.
CAVUTO: All right.
All right. Malcolm Bricklin, thank you very much, with Visionary Vehicles. He's the founder and the CEO.
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