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As more consumers aspire to buy cars and SUVs with some cachet, domestic companies want to shed their reputations as mass-market rides and go upscale with them. Great Wall Motor Co. and Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd are unveiling new premium brands they want drivers to consider in the same league as a Lexus or Genesis.
Car companies in the world’s biggest market are trying to follow the paths of Japanese and Korean competitors that engineered image makeovers. With passenger auto sales in China surging more than 15 per cent, local manufacturers don’t want to cede the higher-end demographic — with its accompanying higher profits — to foreign brands.
“Chinese automakers today are at a stage where they believe it’s necessary to move upmarket,” said Zhou Jincheng, an analyst at Fourin Inc in Nagoya, Japan. “If they don’t try now while the market is growing, it will be even harder to start when the market is stagnant.”
The manufacturers seek to capitalise on an economy that grew by 6.7 per cent in the third quarter, moderate by Chinese standards but outpacing the US’s 2.9 per cent expansion. That’s giving people more money to spend: through September, disposable income per capita rose 6.3 per cent from a year earlier to 17,735.40 yuan.
(Gulf News)