We are pleased that after that a period of light involvement in China through an initial relationship with the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and consultancy projects for individual clients, we now have an active research programme in China. This is being managed directly by our European team, in particular by our Chairman, Eric le Gendre, and Managing Director, Steve Young, both of whom have industry experience in China, prior to ICDP. The research is being conducted by local partners with a specialist knowledge in the automotive sector.
Some might feel that the timing is unfortunate as the Chinese market slows and financial performance comes under pressure for both OEMs and dealers. However, this is exactly the time when anyone exposed to the Chinese market needs to think about their business model, their route to market, their offer and their partners. It is also the point when Chinese domestic brands may feel that in a market with lower growth opportunities, the time has come to take export to global markets more seriously.
Our China research programme kicked off with studying consumer behaviour in both sales and aftersales, the results have been reported back to ICDP China Members. Chinese customers do more online research than their European or US equivalents, but as in the US, they go to third party sites first. Many dealers do not have their own websites, and end up focusing on handling leads from the third party sites such as BitAuto, as a good performance here drives up ratings and referrals from those sites. Customers are much more loyal to franchised dealers for aftersales than in Europe or the US, but dealers do not appear to be turning this into profit in the way that you would expect. For used cars, independent channels dominate, but the used car buyer is only looking for basic assurances such as a warranty, a fair price and a trader that you can trust, when picking their seller. Despite this, the role of franchised dealers in the used car market has declined significantly in the last two years, even as the used car market has grown. The independent aftersales market is highly unstructured, consumers do not trust the repairers themselves or the parts they use. As profitability falls and the market becomes more competitive in all sectors, it is more important than ever to have objective insights into market trends and how businesses can improve and mature in the Chinese environment.
Please download our Introduction and Overview (June 2016) by following this link.
ICDP China Publications Catalogue is available via this link.