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Auto Shanghai 2019: Recap
In April 2019, the 18th Shanghai International Automotive Industry Exhibition arrived on schedule. The exhibition was held at the Hongqiao National Convention and Exhibition Center. More than 100 domestic and foreign OEMs participated in the exhibition, where about 150 press conferences were run and almost 1,400 models were exhibited, including over 100 world’s first releases, reminding people of its significance as an annual event of the Chinese automotive industry.
Regarding the Auto Show, Strategy Engineers summarised the following opinions and trends:
- Stunning local manufacturing: independent brands take a step further in reputation and brand enhancement
- From concept to production is the key: another carnival for new car-building forces
- Strategy adjustment: OEMs respond proactively in the face of market decline
Stunning local manufacturing: local brands took a step further in reputation and brand enhancement
In recent years, more and more domestic independent OEMs have demonstrated their confidence in both products and brands, which not only won a considerable reputation, but also achieved a comprehensive display of successful brand culture, design elements and new product launches.
Geely Geometry A
Geely brought the latest release of the Geometry Brand, its first car Geometry A, showing a noble and splendid design and meanwhile reaching an amazing ultra-low wind resistance performance of Cd0.237. On the other hand, for Lynk & Co, its unique combination of technology, fashion, dynamic elements and lively colors is gradually gaining acknowledgement from the young generation. As shown in the CCTV documentary “The Pillars of a Great Power”, the universal modular development platform, the craftsmanship upon product quality and details, as well as the product shift towards high-end have all come together and managed to jointly elevate the overall brand image of Geely.
Great Wall Motors WEY-X Concept
Great Wall Motors’ WEY brand positioning luxury SUV also shows the OEM’s determination to lift its brand upwards. After a year of hard work, WEY began to reveal its brand influence, which is a powerful attempt by a local OEM to impact high-end tier. For this year’s exhibition, WEY showcased the new WEY-X concept car, highlighting the design direction of the future flagship SUV model. It features B-pillar-free design, intelligent projection headlights, suspension seats, and a wealth of intelligent driving features.
Zotye brought its two core models, A16 and B21 with brand new sporty Zotye-family-style design, which will be launched in the 2nd half of the year. "Chi Mei Chinese Car" indicates that Zotye Automobile is entering the new period of its "3.0 Plan". Since 2018, the overall sales volume of the Chinese passenger car has fallen, meanwhile we can see that sales of models with prices above 120,000 RMB are still growing.
Confronting the sales decline, independent brands are facing their greatest stress, which also prompts them to continue to transform, beginning to enrich their portfolio by including high-end products and enhance brand influence.
Geely's Lynk & Co has already released the Lynk & Co 01, 02, and 03, covering Sedan and SUV, which has become the focus of consumers. In 2018, the total sales volume of the Lynk & Co. models exceeded 120,000. Meanwhile, the Great Wall's WEY brand has also released mid-end and high-end models which are VV5/V7/P8. Since the birth of the brand, the cumulative sales have exceeded 250,000. These brands have formed a certain degree of competitiveness for joint ventures and are representative of the elevation of Chinese independent OEMs.
Brand elevating and product competitiveness enhancing are the only path for independent OEMs to grow, whose works in this exhibition have brought the Chinese market confidence.
From concept to production is the key: another carnival for new car-building forces
This year's Auto Exhibition is a big party for mass production models. In addition to the traditional OEMs such as Volkswagen and BMW bringing all the product series and upgraded models, the new car-building forces were also prepared to shout out to the world.
Obviously, these new car-building forces pay more attention to production models than concepts. NIO has delivered more than 10,000 ES8, with ES6 and ET7 on their way to come. XPENG, ENOVATE, LEADING IDEAL and AIWAYS have also opened pre-order portal for their production models.
NIO ET Preview
LEADING IDEAL ONE
Streamlined shape, ample space, large screen and abundant functions, these are the mainstream standard now for the newly designed electric vehicle platforms. Most manufacturers choose not to go for fancy concept ideas, but from the perspective of mass production instead, whether it is product design elements, consumer experience, system function logic, or every practical configuration, their actual mass production targets were reflected as much as possible, which are on the other hand attracting consumers the most. Undoubtedly, the new car-building forces are constantly showing their mass production capability to investors, peers and consumers.
Strategy adjustment: OEMs respond proactively in the face of market decline
In the last year, multiple changes in the Chinese market has brought great pressure upon OEMs such as decline of total sales volume, transformation of consumption concepts and rapid increase of new energy market share. OEMs adjusted their strategies to adapt themselves to the new changes.
Brand strategy: Volkswagen launched a new brand Jetta for the Chinese market, to further crack open the Chinese market and increase sales by emphasizing cheaper models. Jetta brought VA3, VS5, VS7, reflecting Volkswagen’s determination with this new sales programme. Meanwhile, Great Wall brought its new energy car brand "ORA" and Baojun also released its new Baojun brand, whose first model - the new Baojun RS-5 officially hit the market.
Electrification strategy: In response to the electrification trend in China and the global market, although the profitability of electrification remains unclear, OEMs have been sparing no effort to promote the implementation of their electrification strategy. For example, Volkswagen will officially launch the MEB platform at the end of 2019. In addition to the first production model ID series electric car, Audi also launched the e-tron series on the MEB platform. At the same time, Japanese OEMs such as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan developed their own electrification strategy, in which they plan to launch hybrid and pure electric vehicles in the next few years.
Audi e-tron 55 quattro
Others have also launched new brands to cope with the trend of electrification and the challenges of new car-building forces, such as Volvo's Polestar, Geely's Geometry, BAIC's Arcfox and so on.
In addition, we see that OEMs began to adopt new marketing strategies and retail methods to further enhance the user's car buying experience. To cut down on cost, Tesla reduced its local 4S stores and switched its focus to online sales, bringing a retail revolution. NIO is completely sticking to its user-centered rule of designing products. They managed to bring an entire NIO house into their exhibition stage, which demonstrates that NIO’s user-centered idea has been extended to the outside of car. Lynk & Co used a different cross-border style to showcase the uniqueness of its products, which to some extent revealed its brand-new product marketing strategy.
Digitalisation appears to be the center of competition among various companies as well. Huawei made its debut as an exhibitor, highlighting its internet technology and targeting the incremental market of telematics and electronics. It’s rather obvious that one of the future digital trends is that high-tech enterprises complement each other with their own technological advantages and promote the rapid integration of the automotive industry and intelligent interconnection.