The China Car: The Untold Story of a World-Changing Vehicle

The China Car: The Untold Story of a World-Changing Vehicle

16.02.2021: "The China Car," the untold story of a world-changing vehicle as told by Chrysler's François Castaing, is available from David Bull Publishing.

The Untold Story of a World-Changing Vehicle: Chrysler's François Castaing Tells All in "The China Car" from David Bull Publishing

In a 20-year career with American Motors and Chrysler, French-born engineer François Castaing became an auto industry icon for developing the earliest Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), designing space-efficient minivans, and implementing work processes that brought cars to market more quickly.

But one critical episode in Castaing's history has remained largely unknown—until now. In "The China Car," Castaing tells the inside story of how he led a group of free-spirited Chrysler engineers on a project to design and build the ultimate low-cost vehicle, one aimed at millions of potential buyers in developing markets.

Title: "The China Car"

Subtitle: "How motivated Chrysler engineers with their suppliers/partners created an affordable automobile for the world’s poor using recycled plastic—and why the project was killed."

Author: François Castaing

Format: Softcover, 6” by 9”, 120 pages

Photos: 22 color and 5 black-and-white illustrations

Retail Price: $24.95

ISBN-13: 978 1 935007 30 2

Starting work in the early 1990s, the team soon discovered that molding large parts of the new vehicle in recycled plastic might be the only way to achieve their goal. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is the same material that most plastic bottles are made of. PET is safe, reusable, and inexpensive, but largely goes unrecycled in markets like the United States, where billions of bottles are discarded every year.

"The China Car" closely examines the challenges of producing plastic car bodywork and other key components at an acceptable cost. But, along with these technical and financial issues, Castaing documents the difficulties he faced in selling the car inside the company as well as to potential consumers. He also explains why such a ground-breaking project was ultimately canceled, and delivers an unflinching look at how decisions were made at Chrysler.

Today, more than two decades after the project's demise, the lessons and insights offered up in "The China Car" are still relevant—especially as once-developing markets such as China and India are more powerful, prosperous, and integrated within the global economy. Automotive historians, engineering enthusiasts and general business readers will find the book a fascinating "what if" story of a car that might have changed the world.

"Chrysler, in the early 1990s, had rediscovered the thrills of innovation and reinvention. Among the many projects we tackled during my tenure, the China Car was one of the  smaller ones, but also, simultaneously, one of the most rewarding and frustrating."

—François Castaing


"The China Car" is available through, specialty automotive booksellers, independent bookstores, and directly from the publisher at visit To order by telephone please call 425-460-2516.

For orders in the United Kingdom please contact Chris Lloyd Sales & Marketing Services, which distributes David Bull Publishing books, at (0) 1202 649930.

David Bull, photo Bull Publishing


16.02.2021 / MaP

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