It’s no secret that China is by far the most important automotive market in the world. It is not only the largest in terms of units produced and sold, but also a major center for research and development, and a place where affordable electric cars can be found.
While the United States, Europe, Japan and Korea are mature underdeveloped markets, China is still an important source of growth and profit for most automakers worldwide.
Its strength is the huge internal demand that allows many brands to sell many models to all types of customers. There is opportunity for anyone if there is a clear product plan, and if the car satisfies the user in terms of design and size. For example, consumers in China are not interested in small cars, sports cars and vans. Instead, they love all kinds of SUVs, compact and large sedans, and even pickups.
Then they got strong government support. The auto industry and its global expansion are part of the economic growth plan laid out by the Communist Party. China’s auto development is at the heart of the economy. As a result, the progress made by local producers has been considerable. But what is the latest? made in China car equivalent to European, American, Korean and Japanese cars?
When it comes to design, the answer is obvious Yes. The latest models introduced have very attractive shapes which make them modern, fresh and lively with lots of personality. Chinese cars are no longer old “copies”.
Design may be a subjective matter, but it is true that Western designers are behind many of the new cars produced by China. In fact, many companies in the country have design centers in Europe and the United States. The appearance of a car is one of the first things a new brand has to work on, especially if it is not well known overseas.
There are many examples: SUVs and sedans from NIO, BYD Han, and Tang. There’s the recently revealed Chery Arrizo 8 and other SUVs like the Changan SL03, UNI-V, UNI-K, and UNI-T. Avatar 11 is also one of the most beautiful. The square and attractive GAC GS8 and Haval Big Dog, Cool Dog, and H-DOG are also competitors.
In the premium segment, the Hongqi brand does not disappoint with the H9 and E-HS9. Geely, one of the greatest, shines with Xingyue L and Foreword. Its sister brand ZEEKR offers the 001 as a modern large sedan.
The entire Lynk & Co range is also very interesting and original. Li Auto has the ONE and L9, as two modern and beautiful SUVs. MG has just launched the MG7, which could easily rival the Kia Stinger. The Hozon Neta S is a stunning large sedan with a very unique design. The Tank 500 is also a very large SUV. The Xpeng, available in Europe, has the G9, a large SUV.
Quality And Technology Improvement
Behind the eye-catching design, the Chinese are working hard to improve the quality of their cars. The materials used and the way the cars are made barely show any difference from their western rivals. The same is found with the technology used, with very attractive navigation, communications and software solutions that are in many cases above average overseas.
Lack of Awareness, Reputation and Inheritance
Three elements are missing to see Chinese cars dominate on world roads: awareness, reputation and heritage. The first two can be solved by introducing more attractive and high-quality cars. Consumers around the world will start learning more about Chinese cars once they enter their market with competitive cars. This will soon help improve the bad image of Chinese products in many parts of the world. Japan and Korea can share their experiences.
Inheritance is a little more complicated. China doesn’t have a long history in car manufacturing and this is proving quite challenging for brands competing in the premium segment.
However, there is still a long way to go. By 2021, there will be more than 125 Chinese brands selling cars with a total of 13.2 million units worldwide. That’s 21 percent more than the total sold in 2020, in contrast to the 6 percent growth recorded by global markets.
Of this total, units sold overseas totaled about 885,000 units, less than 7 percent. However, overseas sales increased 113 percent compared to 2020.
The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is JATO dynamics Automotive Industry Specialist.