For Americans, Chinese cars can be as hard to figure out as China itself. The nation has been through a lot of evolutionary changes in the last century, from monarchy to communist regime to pseudo-communist capitalist oligarchy. It's been grindingly impoverished and obscenely rich. China's been brutally oppressed, starved, and finally exposed to the hope of a better life.
China's been a lot of places in the last century, and its taste in automobiles reflects that. The Chinese auto market can be a funhouse mirror for the country as a whole. Remember, up until pretty recently, private vehicle ownership was actually forbidden in the People's Republic. Technically, it still is. That's put a heavy focus on practicality and ingenuity. Cars that do the job they're supposed to do and no more. It's also allowed China to develop a breed of lightweight, electric people-movers that seems almost prophetic by today's standards. And some of its home-built cars are almost heartbreakingly beautiful as statements of aspiration and purpose.But all that stuff aside, most of the strange Chinese cars on this list aren't exactly pleasing to the eye. And can someone please explain the Chinese obsession with putting shopping cart wheels on everything?