Japan's car companies fought against Chinese attitude and decided everything

In the first half of this year, Honda's market share in the Chinese market fell further. The oldest global leader Toyota was still tepid and Nissan, a latecomer, bucked the trend and grew rapidly. After the Japanese automobile entered China 20 years later, it was in the Chinese market. A completely different path began to appear.

Behind different performances, the business model of Japanese auto companies also began to show a clear differentiation: Nissan’s platform opening and scale priority thoughts began to reflect its advantages; Toyota’s endogenous development, frequently encountered bottlenecks; Honda’s revenue priority and scale control The route was gradually abandoned by the rapid growth of the Chinese market.

The three brands have very different performances in China. As a culturally close neighbor, where does the Japanese car go in China? It is a topic that the Chinese auto industry has always paid attention to but has never systematically elaborated. What are the reasons and business logic behind the gains and losses of Japanese cars in the Chinese market? What are the three major brands of Toyota, Honda, and Nissan that will emerge in the next five or ten years in the Chinese market?

On August 25th, in the second issue of the "21st Century Automobile Round Table Salon", members of the "China Auto 30 Think Tank" were invited: Shen Jun, General Manager of Roland Berger (China) Management Consulting Company, and Wang Hua, Professor of Marseille Business School, CEO of Xinhuaxin Co-CEO Lin Lei, CEO of Gasgoo.com Mr. Chen Wenkai, Chief Editor of “China Automotive News” (Chinese version) Zhong Shi, senior industry commentator Li Anding, and CEO of Guanghui Auto Service Co., Ltd. Wang Zhen, gathered in Guangzhou – Japanese car China Base Camp - Discuss the future of Chinese cars in Japan.

Policies and attitudes constrain Toyota's "21st Century": What are the future trends of the three Japanese car makers Toyota, Honda and Nissan in the Chinese market?

Shen Jun: Judging from the current situation, Nissan and Toyota are relatively strong. Honda's market is not as big as it used to be. This may be related to its strategy of focusing all efforts on the development of limited products. In the future, Honda may still not compete for scale.

After reorganizing with Renault, Nissan broke away from the drawbacks of Japanese companies and began to work with a globalized management style, attaching great importance to the international market, especially the Chinese market. This corporate strategy is destined to Nissan will take the lead in the Japanese car companies in China for some time in the future.

Toyota always has a hesitant and wait-and-see mood in developing the Chinese market. It puts marketing at the top of strategy and is not active in the introduction of models. The zero-stock sales method it emphasizes has advantages in a stable market, and once the market fluctuates, sales work is easily affected. So I think if Toyota strengthens the introduction of new models, its follow-up development strength cannot be ignored.

Chen Wenkai: I think the biggest challenge for the Toyota model is its internationalization and the risk of increasing scale. The biggest risk of Toyota's model has not been exposed historically, because his subsidiary is also an upstream company. Because it cannot be matched with other people but only with Toyota, you can only increase the performance of the supporting enterprises because of the increasing scale. Therefore, after the financial crisis, the supporting companies have followed you.

BYD learns Toyota and quickly becomes bigger after the financial crisis in 2008. However, if you do not develop upstream and downstream, there is no way to develop. This is the system requirement. After larger scale, the management requirements of the entire system are getting higher and higher. It turned out that there are 5 million vehicles and it is now 10 million. Do you still have so much energy to do? With human and energetic challenges, the biggest challenge is the regional differences brought about by internationalization.

Li Anding: Toyota’s strategy has a unique feature. Once one of the things is taken for granted, it will persist and will not be changed by the situation. For Toyota, it aims first at the European and American markets and then at China. It waits until the Chinese market matures, and then comes in steadily. Before that, it basically used imported cars and parts to hit the market and branded trees. . After it really entered the Chinese market, we found that Toyota's model sales rose rapidly during the first three years. This is the effect of the previous branding. From this perspective, Toyota's strategy for entering the Chinese market was successful.

"21st Century": In the future, Toyota will choose to follow the strategy, or will it choose to lead the market?

Li Anding: In this short span of two years, the Chinese market has changed rapidly and the market’s perception of Toyota has also changed. As the momentum of VW's powertrain strategy in China has been very successful in recent years, consumers, especially consumers in the North, have surpassed Toyota in recognition of VW models, and Toyota’s hybrid strategy is not going well in the Chinese market.

In the future, unless the government introduces a subsidy policy for hybrid power, Toyota can take the lead to lead the market. On the research and development of traditional internal combustion engines, it is estimated that Toyota will have difficulty surpassing the public. So I think that Toyota's strategy in China in the future is likely to use "hybrid" to "turbocharge."

Zhong Shi: Why did Toyota's hybrid model become a display in China, but it was very popular in the US and Europe markets. The only difference was the policy difference. In European and American markets, subsidies for new energy vehicles are the same, but there are differences in the Chinese market. Without subsidies, hybrid power cannot be marketized. Without marketization, technology is vacant.

Volkswagen has now basically achieved marketization for all vehicle types. Now that GM and Ford are following the technical route of the traditional models of German cars, Toyota’s technical strengths cannot be fully realized in the Chinese market, so there is a gap between Toyota and Volkswagen. The gap is getting bigger and bigger. This is a very gratifying thing for Toyota.

"21st Century": Does this mean that Toyota's explosive growth in the Chinese market again, to wait for the maturity of the policy?

Lei Weifeng (Deputy Customer Service Department, GAC Toyota Sales Department): Toyota's current development in China does encounter policy-level restrictions. First of all, the government's subsidy to the hybrid model will have two meanings: First, it will not recognize the hybrid technology, which will affect the consumer's role in the hybrid; second, it will affect the development of hybrid products. power.

If Toyota wants to continue to expand its development in China, the new energy power will inevitably occupy a large market share, at least in the Chinese market can get better development. Not long ago, the Guangzhou municipal government had specifically visited Japan to communicate with Toyota about the production and entry of new energy vehicles in China. It is still continuing or a breakthrough. It is still in communication.

Zhong Shi: In fact, the solution is nothing more than two efforts, the first is to see whether the local government can start financial subsidies for hybrid models; Second, Toyota to sacrifice some of the benefits, took out some of their own subsidies, training the market, the formation of scale Make up your profits.

Nissan is more like the European company "21st Century": In the future, will the development of Nissan be accompanied by the characteristics of Chinese companies, with strong short-term explosive power, but the driving force for long-term development will be weakened?

Shen Jun: Nissan's achievement of current results is not caused by accidental factors. Behind it is a strong system support, including products, channels, and brands that are very competitive. Therefore, I am very optimistic about the development of Nissan.

Li Anding: Nissan also has the advantage of cost control. Now that many of its parts and components are supplied locally, the actual standards are relatively simple. The cost of purchasing parts and components is basically reduced to that of Korean cars, so Nissan's cars sell well. Cheap, but corporate profits are high.

Zhong Shi: Nissan is actually learning from European and American car companies. For example, it has introduced many types of models to the Chinese market, which are cheap and sales are in the right direction. These factors have made its sales volume high. The quality of market reputation also needs time feedback. Toyota's early investigation of the Chinese market was very deep and its decision-making was targeted, but its compatibility with culture was not enough, and the degree of product competition went down.

In fact, when new generation consumers need brainwashing after their emergence, and brainwashing needs cultural support, cultural innovation must create new models according to local conditions. However, Toyota's current marketing strategy is not much different than it was 10 years ago, and European and American car companies have been adjusted according to market changes.

LEI: In the survey, we found a strange phenomenon. Japanese car companies always have a neutral and conservative valuation for the development trend of the Chinese market. Each time they say the figures are far lower than our assessment. The valuation of US car companies will always be higher, the Korean system is also higher, and the German system is faster.

The different judgments on the development trend of the Chinese market have resulted in the very different design of the respective models, and later on, the sales of their respective models have appeared different levels.

"21st Century": If the car network developed, there may be emerging markets, Japanese car companies will not be properly open in this situation?

Shen Jun: The closed system of Japanese car companies will not change for a long time. This is due to cultural genes. Japan has always had a concept of breaking Asia and entering Europe, emphasizing the establishment of a technological presence and taking a leading position in Asia. Therefore, if it carries out industrial transfer, it will also migrate to Southeast Asia and rarely move to China.

Lei Weifeng: In fact, in terms of market strategy, Toyota has also changed in the past two years. After the recall incident in North America, the US Department of products was developed in China, and there has been a lagging trend between Guangfeng and certain brands. Therefore, we are also actively seeking breakthroughs and we hope to accelerate the pace of product introduction. Toyota's strategy in China will also have a change. Since last year, Toyota proposed to pay attention to listening to customers in the Chinese market and pay more attention to the needs of the Chinese market.

American experience does not shine into China's "21st Century": What changes have Chinese consumers currently experienced in Japanese car models?

Lei: From the perspective of consumers, Japanese cars are now hit harder in the Chinese market. In the beginning, Chinese consumers had a good impression of Japanese cars. This brand foundation also enabled Toyota and Honda to quickly enter the Chinese market to make profits, and saved brand promotion costs.

Subsequently, Volkswagen gradually increased its investment in the Chinese market. During this process, the Volkswagen models were continuously used, embodied, and understood in China, making Chinese consumers begin to have their own knowledge of different models. In addition, Toyota’s recall of the North American market last year has still had a negative impact in the minds of consumers, because consumers do not understand the technical explanations Toyota makes, they do not understand what the problem is with the Toyota car, and it is simply when buying a car. The other models were selected. In addition, Japanese automakers have not aggressively pursued the Chinese market in recent years. They haven't done well in previous years from model planning to listing. Under the superposition of these factors, domestic consumers gradually believe that Japanese models’ product competitiveness is declining. Now.

The rise of Nissan is mainly because it is most willing to take products to the Chinese market. Now that China is a diversified automobile market, it needs multiple models to cover more market segments. Nissan has done a lot of work in this area and achieved remarkable results. However, some Nissan models currently have a loss in the Chinese market, which also shows that its products have begun to change.

Wang Hua: If we look at this issue from the perspective of the Chinese market, I think today's phenomenon is determined by the corporate strategy many years ago. If the division is based on the strategic timeline, Chinese companies are adopting a strategy of near-term attention. European and American car companies are concerned about the medium term. Japanese car companies are concerned about the long term.

Specifically, the strategic focus of Chinese car companies has always been how to sell more cars, introduce more new technologies to develop their own brands, and the ultimate goal of using distribution channels is to find dealers to sell more models. some. The Europeans and Americans are a mid-term layout. In this process, they are concerned about the degree of market change and follow the strategic adjustment. When Japanese car companies do strategic planning, they will firstly conduct detailed collection of market information. Once the strategy is determined, they will stick to it. This method is good on one side, and it is easy to ignore market changes if it is evaluated on the bad side. .

Platform strategy is a trend that the world is chasing. The Chinese are even spoilt consumers. They read numerous cars in the local market. When consumers are tired of traditional models, they will try to try new models. The challenge behind this is It is the common use of platforms and models. There will be a new development between platform strategy and personalization to achieve new integration.

"21st Century": Does consumers' perceptions of Japanese cars change? Does it reflect that Chinese consumers are currently transitioning?

Shen Jun: At present, the major market share of Japanese cars is concentrated in the mid-size car market. However, the current market share of high-end and low-end cars in China has developed fastest. Japanese companies have not grasped these two markets. In the high-end car market, the development of Japanese luxury cars is not good, and the A-class car market is affected by the impact of Korean cars.

After years of development, the Chinese auto market has entered the upgrading of high-end car consumers. When low-end car consumers need personalization and pursuit of taste, the style of the European car just cater to this change, and stick to the strategic Japanese car. Obviously did not capture the changes in China's auto consumption market.

Lei: In the past, Chinese consumers spent money to buy bigger models. Now it is to spend more for smaller models. The best-selling Mercedes-Benz A-Class car reflects the characteristics of such a market. Consumers are pursuing change. Therefore, if the problem of product homogenization is recognized among different brands, then it is related to the entire consumption trend; if the product homogeneity is not recognized, but there is a big difference, then the consumer’s purchase behavior is not Will be guided.

Shen Jun: I will add one more. Many people say that Japanese cars can succeed in the United States and China should succeed. In fact, the Chinese market is not the United States. The United States is a middle-class society. Everyone has a similar standard of living and they do not compare with each other. Hello everybody, everyone is good, so they are all about the same level of driving. China is more like Europe and compares with each other. Europe is a class-oriented society.

Wang Zhen: Chinese consumers have gradually matured from immature in the past five years. In the past, consumers were pursuing styles, and now they value the quality of the car more. In this regard, the influence of European elements on the Chinese is still relatively large. Nowadays, models with a design that favors European style are relatively popular in the market.

In the past, consumers bought a Japanese car to value its interior and quality, but later many car companies spent a lot of energy in these areas, so these selling points of the Japanese car are constantly being weakened, which brings some pressure on the sales of Japanese cars. . However, the service capabilities of Japanese auto companies are still very strong. Their attention to customer satisfaction and satisfaction are still very important. This may have a certain relationship with Japanese local culture.

At present, Japanese automakers are already exploring a relatively lucrative post-service market. In particular, Nissan has increased its sales service to the post-market service market. Its promotion efforts are among the largest among all OEMs. This is also a precautionary measure.

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