Will Bentley Follow The Success Of Rolls-Royce In The Chinese Market? Or Will More Chinese Luxury Buyers Opt For Rival Brands?
The Bentley Mulsanne includes many features popular in the Chinese market, such as a spacious interior and chauffeur-ready driver's seat
As we’ve pointed out time and time again, with the global doldrums cutting into the vehicle budgets of many luxury consumers in developed markets like North America, Japan and Europe, high-end car companies like Rolls-Royce have increasingly looked to emerging markets like China to get them through the economic crisis and create a new, loyal buyer’s market. As Chinese luxury models become more prevalent (and popular) over time and truly begin to rival the dominant luxury models by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, automakers at the highest end are already starting to plan ahead for a strong China strategy to ensure their brands remain at the top of the heap for years to come.
Following the lead of the 2010 Porsche Panamera, which was unveiled at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, Bentley has taken the lid off of its 2011 Mulsanne, with what is sure to be an eye towards the Chinese market — where the country’s ultra-rich still have no domestic alternative that can match Bentley quality. After making its initial debut in August, the Mulsanne has become the talk of the high-end luxury scene, not least because it is the first all-new Bentley model to roll off the production line since the 1930s. As Motor Authority writes, though this car is most certainly beyond the budgets of most lustful car enthusiasts, it is a sight to behold and has an engine to match:
Posted in Automobile, Business, China, Luxury
Tagged Audi, auto, automotive, bentley, bentley mulsanne, bmw, car, China, chinese, ferrari, mercedes, mulsanne, porsche, rolls-royce, sports, vehicle
Recent Interest By Chinese Automakers In Established Brands Like Volvo, Saab Show Their Global Ambitions; But Will Western Consumers Choose To “Drive Chinese”?
Can BYD crack the American luxury car market? Only time will tell.
With well-known auto brands like Sweden’s Volvo and Saab up for sale, Chinese brands Geely, Beijing Automotive and FAW — relative unknowns in the global car market — have been in the news as possible suitors. It is no secret that Chinese automakers have their sights set on the export market, and want to see their vehicles gain popularity on lucrative markets like North America. Here, though, is the largest opportunity as well as the most significant challenge faced by Chinese car brands, a bit of a catch-22: while China is the world’s largest auto market — owing, naturally, to its vast population — Chinese car companies need to develop their luxury fleets and export more in order to turn a substantial profit, but for higher-priced vehicles, Chinese consumers virtually always choose foreign-made automobiles, and Chinese brands are almost completely unknown by luxury car buyers abroad.
At the same time, Chinese carmakers must come up against biases about the perceived quality of their products — fostered, perhaps in a large proportion, by the fact that Chinese brands have absolutely no brand equity abroad, since:
1.) most of these companies are only a few years old, and
2.) reports about Chinese-made vehicles tend to be on the sensationalist side and focus on a quality gap or on perceived “counterfeiting” of car models. While many of the problems faced by Chinese carmakers abroad boil down to sloppy or simply “bad” PR, it is, in some ways, understandable that non-Chinese car buyers know little about Chinese car companies — because many Chinese car buyers don’t know much about them either. Quite simply, they need to work harder to differentiate themselves, pin down strong brand messaging, and really push hard to ensure they conform to all safety and emissions standards — or exceed them.
Posted in Automobile, Business, China, Investment, Luxury
Tagged america, auto, automotive, Beijing auto, beijing automotive, BYD, China, FAW, geely, honda, hyundai, japan, kia, korea, Luxury, luxury car, north america, saab, toyota, US, USA, volvo, warren buffett
Chongqing-Based Automaker, Building On Additional Visibility Gained During Olympics, Eyes Luxury Segment
Chang'an's luxury concepts build on the CD101 platform unveiled earlier this year at the Shanghai Auto Show
Over the last year, Chinese automakers have made a big push to gain domestic popularity and international pathways for future growth, with high-visibility announcements like Sichuan Tengzhong’s acquisition of Hummer and BYD’s plans to enter the American market as soon as 2010. These Chinese automakers have done a pretty good job of selling their lower-priced models to first-time car buyers throughout the mainland — mainly 20-something middle class workers in urban centers — but what about high end models?
While several Chinese car companies have tried to appeal to this segment in the past — with Red Flag (Hongqi) immediately springing to mind, along with the newly-unveiled Geely GE — their success can be described as mixed, at best. While Red Flag remains the car of choice for China’s government elite, among high-powered businesspeople or the otherwise well-off, the luxury car market in China remains dominated by foreign brands. Even at the highest level, Red Flag doesn’t even make the list, with the Rolls-Royce Phantom, Bentley Arnage, and Maybach making up the top three favored models in China.
According to a new article in China Car Times, however, it looks like Sichuan-based Chang’an is looking to target the domestic luxury car buyer as soon as next year. Will Chang’an have better luck reaching a wider luxury audience? From the looks of the new concept photos on CCT, it looks like they are closer than ever to becoming a true rival to Audi, BMW and Mercedes in the mainland market, at least aesthetically. Now the question, as always, remains, can Chinese carmakers once and for all rid domestic consumers of the notion that foreign car brands are superior?
Posted in Automobile, Business, China, Luxury
Tagged Audi, audo, auto, automotive, bmw, BYD, car, chang'an, China, chinese, concept, luxury car, mercedes
Eighth-Largest Chinese Automaker Rumored To Be In Market For Second JV Partner, After Successful Linkup With BMW
Brilliance Auto is looking to spread its manufacturing base rapidly to compete with larger domestic rivals
The auto blog China Car Times (via China Daily) reports that Brilliance China Auto, China’s eighth-largest automaker, may form a new joint venture focused on commercial vehicles with Mercedes-Benz. China Car times notes that the potential joint venture would have a target production rate of 40,000 vehicles per year.
While the laws surrounding foreign-Chinese joint ventures are somewhat murky — with conflicting reports suggesting that foreign companies are unable to form more than one such venture in China at a time (a potential problem for Daimler, which is already linked with Beijing Auto Works) — China Daily’s report seems relatively optimistic that the Mercedes-Brilliance alliance will move ahead:
The American Automaker Is Enjoying Record Gains In China’s Rapidly-Growing Automotive Market, Despite Difficulties At Home
GM has enjoyed record success in China over the past four years. But will domestic upstarts like BYD woo Chinese car buyers away? Photo © BusinessWeek
With GM’s impending bankruptcy and restructuring in the news over the last week, it is easy to lose sight of the company’s global reach and mixed revenues. Although the company has had unprecedented difficulties in the North American market, brought on by the global economic downturn, in China — where the company has operated (with a roughly 30-year interruption) for decades — GM has been the leading foreign carmaker for the last four years.
Although China’s domestic car makers — spurred by huge foreign and government investment over the past few years — are making great strides, since the formation of the Shanghai GM joint venture in 1997, the company has worked hard to rebrand itself for the China market. All of this work has paid off in China, since as of last year, GM built an estimated market share of 12.1% on sales of nearly to 1.1 million units.
Posted in Automobile, Business, China, Culture, Investment, Luxury
Tagged Automobile, automotive, buick, BYD, cadillac, car, China, chinese, general motors, GM, GM Shanghai, Luxury, PATAC, porsche, shanghai, shanghai auto show
New Luxury Models From Geely, Great Wall Target Evolving Market, Seeking Market Share From Foreign Brands
The Geely GE: Could Geely's first foray into the luxury market pay off? © Geely
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At the Shanghai Auto Show, foreign car executives have been discussing the prospects for their brands in the mainland China market as domestic carmakers begin to move beyond their traditional low price-point and into more high-end, luxury segments.
Posted in Automobile, Business, China, Luxury
Tagged Automobile, automotive, chery, China, geely, GM, great wall, high-end, Luxury, porsche, porsche panamera, shanghai auto show