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Japanese carmakers hit US shores in force during the fuel-conscious 1970s and South Korean marques have followed in the last 10 to 15 years New foreign competition in the US car market also could come from Asia And the most likely candidate may be a country that already is manufacturing much of what Americans buy-China When you look at their economy and their wages it certainly makes sense that they would begin building their own vehicles says Stephen Roulac CEO of the Roulac Group a consulting company with headquarters in San Francisco and offices in Hong Kong and India Elsewhere in Asia It wouldnt be surprising to see Vietnam coming to the US Mr Roulac says Its a country with a great deal of capacity a strong sense of style and tremendous work ethic Mr Roulac cautions Americans shouldnt expect to be able to purchase a vehicle from China or Vietnam in the near future It may take a decade before it will be feasible to even consider such an option China would have to transform itself much like Japan did a quarter-century ago moving from a producer of low-cost inferior products to premium high-quality offerings Mr Roulac says In Vietnam the government has to open up to become more conducive to an enterprise coming into their country and establishing a presence he says In the nearer term new incursions into the US will come from the same continent that gave us our first car imports-Europe And theyre going to come from carmakers that earlier competed in and abandoned the US market Fiats Alfa Romeo Ferraris Maserati and MG Rover Group are revving up to enter the US market General Motors Corp and Italian carmaker Fiat in 2000 linked in a venture under which GM got a 20 stake in the Fiat Auto arm Fiat said at the time it would look for marketing synergies in the US to bring back its Alfa Romeo cars
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