Today in Crazy Car Production Days of Guangdong (CCPDoG™): Guangzhou Yancheng Automobile Factory, a company based in the great city of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province. They produced a series of small buses, vans, and pickup trucks under the Yancheng brand name, using the designation YC.
In addition to that they also ‘made’ at least two cars for the infamous Guangdong scheme. Read all the details about it here. Under this scheme Guangzhou Yancheng would be approached by a third-party company to ‘manufacture’ cars, using Yancheng’s car-making license.
These cars weren’t really manufactured. Companies would send a shipment of cars to China. The cars would miss some crucial parts like the wheels, mirrors, or door handles. This was enough to classify these cars as car parts, avoiding the import taxes.
Companies would then send the missing parts in another container. Both containers would end up in a shed in Guangdong were they would be reunited into a working car and could be sold as a China-made vehicle, netting huge profits for everybody involved.
Usually, there would be a Guangdong company which did the assembly, a Hong Kong company that took care of the money, another Hong Kong company that orchestrated the whole thing, and a trader or car company that delivered the original vehicles.
The trader could be a completely independent entity, working without any backing or even knowledge by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
But manufacturers were involved too, using a web of shell companies to get their cars into China. Most notorious were Japanese and Taiwanese auto makers, operating on a thin edge between legal and illegal.
The biggest obstacle for the whole scheme was that every company that wanted to make cars in China, no matter how much ‘making’ they really did, needed an official car-making license by the central government.
The government however would not give a license to a misty Guangdong business, so the scheming companies had to find an existing car maker with a car-making license to piggy-back on. One of those car makers was Guangzhou Yancheng Automobile Factory, which ‘manufactured’ two Honda’s.
Normally, these semi-illegal deals were never published but this particular deal appears to be better known than others, and it also seems that Honda itself was somehow involved.
At the time Honda was negotiating with Guangzhou Auto Industry Corporation (GAIC) to form an official joint venture, but progress was painfully slow. Honda however wanted to sell cars in China fast.
And this, allegedly, is why the got involved with Guangzhou Yancheng. I am not sure this is true but it is definitely possible.
The two known Guangzhou Yancheng Honda’s are:
1. Honda Accord sedan (CB7).
2. Honda Civic sedan (EK3).
The fourth generation Honda Accord sedan (CB7) was made for only four years, from 1990 until 1993. ‘Production’ at Guangzhou Yancheng lasted from 1992 until 1993, making it one of the earliest Crazy Car Production Days of Guangdong cars.
The Accord was designated YC7130M.
The interior is totally stock. The CB7 Accord sedan was available with various engines, including a 1.8, a 2.0, and a 2.2. Sadly, I don’t know which of these engines powered the YC7130M.
The second car was the sixth generation Honda Civic sedan (EK3). It was manufactured from 1995 until 2000 with a facelift in 1998. The Guangzhou Yancheng car is a pre-facelift variant.
The Civic sedan was designated YC7150.
Since the EK3 debuted only in 1995 ‘production’ at Guangzhou Yancheng can only have started in 1996, at earliest. We know that production of the Accord ended in 1993. That leaves a gap of three years.
Did Guangzhou Yancheng produce another car in between, one that we do not know about? The Accord CD5 is a possibility, it was made by many Guangzhou automakers at the time, but I haven’t seen any prove that is was also made at Guangzhou Yencheng.
And that was Guangzhou Yancheng’s contribution to the Crazy Car Production Days of Guangdong. More on their other cars in a later post. They made some interesting stuff, including a pirated four-door variant of the Peugeot 504 pickup truck.
Honda finally got its joint venture with GAC in 1999, best known today as Guangzhou-Honda. Their first car was the sixth generation Accord (CG).
If you want to research this interesting company; here are a few starting points:
Guangzhou Yangcheng: 广州羊城
Guangzhou Yangcheng Automobile Factory: 广州羊城汽车厂.
If you know any similar ‘Guangdong cars’ from this period please contact us.