Hard to believe, but if you’re willing to live with just three wheels, and shift a five speed wet clutch manual transmission mated to a 250cc motorcycle-type engine, then a few Chinese manufacturers have a cheap car for you! Legally classified as a motorcycle with the three wheels, several Chinese companies have brand new cars to sell you for just about $2350 FOB, if you’re able to buy just five or six units at one time in a shipping container.
There are some four wheeled cars with a similar look that sell for about $3,000 FOB. But, you’ll have a hard time getting them shipped to the U.S. because of emissions controls, safety and DOT regulations. The motorcycle-like three wheel cars are just much easier to import into the U.S. But, all of the models should offer excellent fuel economy in the 50mpg range or so, with their engines which seem to vary from about 200cc up to 800cc designs.
Quality control might be a whole other issue. Some Chinese products are well made, while some are not. It might depend on which company you buy a car from. Some brands are no doubt better than other brands. But, for less than the price of many used cars, there’s a few brand new cars that don’t look entirely bad for the low price of admission.
At a significantly higher price tag than the $2350, one U.S. importer rebrands some of these Chinese cars as the Snyder st600. One trade secret of buying Chinese made goods is that companies over there are very happy to put whatever brand label that you want on their products just to make the customer happy. So, if you really want your own name on a car or motorcycle brand, then it’s more than easy to get your name on most any Chinese brand that your heart desires. So look for forward to the Fuddrucker SXT-1000 GT to be hitting the pavement of your hometown any day real soon. With a name like Fuddrucker, you know it’s got to be good….