We have some time before we can expect to be driving Chinese cars.
Despite growing anxiety that the Chinese would quickly seek to conquer yet another important industry, it now looks as if it will be at least another several years before Chinese automakers start exporting large numbers of cars they both design and make. They had intended to start selling their own brands in the United States as soon as 2007 but have pushed off their plans by a couple of years.
And now, some Chinese auto executives admit, it could be as late as 2020 before they will be ready to take on the world auto market.
That’s not to say that the Chinese will not follow in the footsteps of Japanese automakers, who first sent over chintzy cars that were roundly criticized, only to set new standards for the industry in later years.
Still, despite China’s manufacturing prowess, it is, for now, proving a lot harder than automakers here anticipated to make cars that appeal to Western tastes.
Here’s a story about who these Indian engineers are, or aren’t. Frankly, I was glad to see this article, not for protectionist reasons, but simply to acknowledge that we’ve got dramatically different cultures around work, collaboration, education, success, and everything else, and that’s obviously going to play out in the hiring/working space.
India still produces plenty of engineers, nearly 400,000 a year at last count. But their competence has become the issue.
A study commissioned by a trade group, the National Association of Software and Service Companies, or Nasscom, found only one in four engineering graduates to be employable. The rest were deficient in the required technical skills, fluency in English or ability to work in a team or deliver basic oral presentations.
And finally here’s yet another story about Americans working for Indian firms (I last blogged about it here)
For the job seekers, India represents a new kind of ticket. Katrina Anderson, 22, a math major from Manhattan, Kan., accepted the Infosys offer because, she said, it provided the most extensive training of any company that offered her a job.
An added bonus was the chance to travel halfway around the world. “Some people were scared by the India relocation,” she recalled. “But that pretty much sold it for me.”
When she finishes the training in January, Ms. Anderson, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, will return to the United States, to work in the Infosys office in Phoenix.
For the Americans at Infosys, culture shock combines with surprising discoveries. Mr. Craig and Ms. Anderson admitted to having their stereotypes of India quickly upturned. Mr. Craig expected elephants and crowded sidewalks; Ms. Anderson expected stifling heat and women who covered their heads.
The Infosys training center, with its 300 acres of manicured shrubbery, is a far cry from the poverty of much of this country. There is a bowling alley on campus, a state-of-the-art gym, a swimming pool, tennis courts and an auditorium modeled on the Epcot Center.
Mr. Craig, who still calls home nearly every day, says he has made an effort to teach himself a few things about his new, temporary home. He has learned how to conduct himself properly at a Hindu temple. He makes an extra effort to be more courteous. He has learned to ignore the things that rattle him in India – the habit of cutting in line, for instance, or the ease with which a stranger here can ask what he would consider a deeply personal question.
“I definitely feel like a minority here,” he said, sounding surprised at the very possibility.
Ms. Anderson has tried to ignore what she sees as a penchant for staring, especially by men. She has donned Indian clothes in hopes of deflecting attention, only to realize that it has the opposite effect. She has stopped brooding quietly when someone cuts in line. “I say, ‘Excuse me, there’s a line here.’ “