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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hey, That Taxi's a Chevy!

When I was posting about Cairo taxis a few days ago, you might have noticed the Chevrolet emblem on the front of that new checkered taxi:

It certainly caught my eye.  I have seen very few American cars here.  And a friend explains why.  "Spare parts are very very expensive for American cars," he said.  "And after just a few years, they stop making the parts."

I can understand the concern.  Another friend with a 1977 Mercedes has had no trouble coming up with U-joints, doors and other body parts as necessary in the past few years.  I doubt that would be so easy for a '77 Buick.

So what's with all the new Chevy taxis?  Did GM Chairman Obama do a great sales job when he visited here last June?  No, the story is more complicated than that.

These are Chevy Lanos models.  Never heard of it?  Neither had I.  The Lanos is a Korean Daewoo with a Chevrolet insignia on the front.  The Daewoo has a decent reputation here and this is one of the five cars along with Lada, Peugeot, Speranza, and the Hyundai that are eligible for a substantial subsidy and tax break under the Cairo taxi renovation program.

It's not clear to me just how fine a thread that the Lanos is hanging by since Daewoo went bankrupt, GM bought a controlling share of the company in 2002, and raised its ownership share to 70% last year.  So when GM receives U.S. government money, that means...    wow, that's just too complicated for me!

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