While most of the journalists at today's Changfeng press conference didn't really understand Li Jianxin, the company's chairperson, during his presentation (his English was so broken Wheels columnist Lorraine Sommerfeld thought he was repeatedly announcing free lobster if you made it through to the end). But now it's clear the Chinese automaker doesn't understand its intended North American audience either.
A friend was milling about the display this afternoon, checking out the Liebao CS7 (see photo) when he was approached by a Changfeng representative. "Can you get in the car?" asked the rep, again in broken English.
He then explained that he was the vehicle's designer and that he hadn't considered "big people" (think linebacker) when designing his cars.
He invited the 6-foot-3 guy to sit in each of Changfeng's cars and SUVs, snapping enough photos to fill a 1-gig memory card. "Maybe I could make the seat wider," he said. "If I moved the pillar back 100 mm, would you fit?"
If Chinese automakers really want to break into the North American auto market next year -- that was the suggestion at last year's show -- they better hire North American fit models to make sure "big guys" can fit into their vehicles.