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The Tang Hua Lineup: Cars for Renowned Environmentalists

We’d like to preface this entry by saying that we know that the Chinese are learning fast, and that we acknowledge that they are definitely coming here in the near future and will be a force to be reckoned with. And honestly, we’re really not trying to add to the wariness surrounding Chinese products these days. Still, the Tang Hua lineup of electric cars – and their auto show display – provided us with just a little too much fodder to resist a few jabs.



Electric Runabouts Have, Um, Eyecatching Style; Demonstrate Unique Naming and Branding Strategies
It wasn’t too clear from the display what these cars are intended for, but we imagine (no, we dearly hope) that they’re probably low-speed runabouts, much like Chrysler’s GEM cars that are only street legal for neighborhood usage. There were three models displayed. The little ovoid one at top is called A Piece of Cloud, while the slightly phallic cab-backward one below it goes by the name of Book of Songs. There was another one, regrettably not pictured, called Detroit Fish that seemed to be a four-place version of A Piece of Cloud, but claimed to be amphibious. Indeed, that one was shod with decorative fins and a flimsy propeller in the back (which we could not verify was functional). Why one would want to take a high voltage electric car into the water is beyond us, but maybe Tang Hua’s onto something we haven’t figured out yet.


Inside all of them, we noticed the brand logo above proudly displayed on the steering wheel. It was an image of a smiling yet slightly ominous Asian man. At first, we thought it might be Chairman Mao, but closer inspection revealed this not to be the case. Is it Big Brother, keeping his protective and watchful eye on you at all times while you motor along? A noted and honorable Party member, perhaps? Colonel Sanders’ long lost Chinese half-brother? Sadly, we’ll probably never know.
Target Buyer Clearly Identified
Most auto show displays, through their décor and audio/visual presentation, send a clear message regarding who their vehicles are targeted at. Tang Hua’s display was rather Spartan and gave no clues about these cars’ intended buyer profile…until we stumbled upon this placard placed in front of the Detroit Fish.

You can forget your hybrids and fuel cells and plug-ins. We can’t think of a more powerful green endorsement than this, from the most renowned environmentalist of them all! Al Gore, eat your heart out.


  • Gordie Young| January 30, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I actually think these are very cool! Although they are a far cry from the Buick Electra 225 I grew up with, which is eulogized here:

  • David Spaulding| January 17, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Sad that this site does not know whose image is on the steering wheel of the Piece of Cloud, Detroit Fish and Book of Song
    It is the designer’s portrait Li Guangming
    So – Be happy – now you know!

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