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Global car brands need to catch up, says expert

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-04-24 13:17

Xu Changming, an expert at the State Information Center, gives a speech at the seminar organized by Auto Star Works on April 23, 2024. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

International carmakers need to make "major changes" to stay competitive in China, the world's largest vehicle market, said Xu Changming, an expert at the State Information Center.

Xu made the remarks at a seminar organized by Star Auto Works on Tuesday in Beijing.

Global brands are having a difficult time in China as they are losing ground to local Chinese marques especially in the booming new energy vehicle sector.

Statistics show that Chinese carmakers combined seized a 49.8 percent of the country's passenger car market in 2023, up from 33.3 percent in 2020, primarily because of the rise of such giants as BYD and Geely.

"Despite the difficulties, those global brands still have a considerable customer base," said Xu. Last year, their combined sales stood at over 11 million units in the country, he added.

Also, the State Information Center's survey show that those who drive gasoline vehicles of international brands expect to try their electric vehicles.

Xu said the Chinese vehicle market will continue its growth and those international brands will have their opportunities if they can cut their prices of their gasoline models to woo customers back and then come up with vehicles that meet the demands of local Chinese customers.

"For brands like Volkswagen, it works if you cut prices. So cut the price before it is too late," said Xu.

He said global brands need to speed up to launch their electric models. Last year, out of over 100 electric models only seven came from global marques, according to the State Information Center.

Volkswagen has been the fastest to introduce EVs. It has also partnered with Chinese startup Xpeng to develop models for the Chinese market.

Changan Mazda, a joint venture, is to unveil its first electric model based on a dedicated platform at the Beijing auto show that will start on Thursday.

Last week, Honda unveiled an all-new EV series it will introduce into the Chinese vehicle market later this year.

The Ye Series will be built on a dedicated EV platform developed in China and they will feature electrification technologies Honda has amassed over many years.

Honda will launch a total of six Ye models in China by 2027. The first two models, which are the Ye P7 and the Ye S7, are scheduled to go on sale later this year.

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