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This year, the global auto market outlook is not optimistic. The global demand for automobiles is less than expected, this includes the Chinese auto market, one of the major auto markets. The industry is facing problems and challenges with the trends that traditional cars are moving towards electrification, automation and  car sharing. Therefore, when talking about auto sales, how to reform to adapt to the changes is an inevitable topic.

OEMs and dealers are under great pressures because of the intensified competition. The change in consumer spending habits, the role of innovation in automobile sales and marketing, and the important role of big data in automobile marketing are all sources of pressure that force the OEMs and dealers to enhance their efficiency of marketing and sales.

 

 

On June 8th, the 8th Global Automotive Forum convened. This session addressed the topic of, “Automotive sales and marketing: a low-growth strategy”, Shu YouXing, the general manager of BYD sales company; Chen Hao, VP of Sales Department, Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Company China, Liao Xionghui, Vice President of Hanteng Autos, General Manager of Hanteng Autos Sales Co., China and Marco Hecker, Automotive leader, Deloitte China discussed how to formulate innovative and effective marketing & sales strategies in this new environment.

Change of Environment Forces, Transforming Marketing Strategies

China's car market has experienced dramatic changes in the last few decades. From the perspective of Liao Xionghui, Vice President of Hanteng Autos, five major changes have happened in the Chinese auto market: “First, the fragmentation information, the variation of products, and the increasing number of competitors all lead to the segmentation of information; Second, good quality and low price is no longer the only value coveted by customers, which lead to greater cost competitions amongst dealers; third, cars are no longer only a means of transportation, they are a mobile tool that combines entertainment, and livelihood,which has its own system.

So, he believes that in order to survive in the competitive auto market, and seek a permanent foundation, the mere pursuit of "quantity" is no longer workable.

Chen Hao, VP of Sales Department, Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Company China, said that “ we are focusing on, changing from the mere sales growth to growth that embodies more inner meaning, changing from the pursuit of fast production to the improvement of quality, changing from the striving to to dominate the market to the focusing on core competitiveness. Today's Chinese car market is less of a 100-meter dash, and more of a marathon.”

Chen Hao believes that “To know how to achieve healthy long-term growth is very important. Marketing should be considered at the end of the whole enterprise value chain, the ultimate goal should be to maximize the company's long-term interests. Focus on long term development, making marketing more stable, and focusing on the growth of the system to increase sales naturally and healthily.

Differentiation is a Great Weapon in Competition

Like war and water, everything is in a dynamic changing environment. In terms of how to win in a changing world, Chen Hao believes that the key is to use the strategy of “simultaneous attack and defence”. He especially talked about different methods of “defence” and “attack”: The former is to channel the root of enterprise, achieve mutualism, and become more resilient and dynamic. Then the company will be more competitive. The latter is service, which is the foundation of the enterprise, meeting the expectation of consumers is the root of enterprise development.”

As one speaks of “attack”, Chen Hao said the first “attack” means to offer exciting technology and products. Today, the demand of car products of younger consumers is becoming more individualized. The second “attack” means to offer pleasurable experiences and to interact with consumers.

Shu Xing, the general manager of BYD sales company, thought that in the gloomy period, companies need to scrutinize their own work, strengthen their marketing theories and practices, and reflect on what shortcomings can be improved. He put special emphasis on the homogeneity and differentiation of products across the market. He thought, although everybody's products look different, it is only the appearance, there is still homogeneity of the inner systems. He also announced that “in the fierce competition, we need to keep doing research on the customers’ needs, and to constantly make the products more differentiated and more satisfying for them.”

Marco Hecker said the biggest change is from the consumers. The younger generation of consumers who have a lower degree of loyalty are willing to try new things with various brands. He said that, “We should try our best to popularize products, but we can also change the way we interact with customers. Maybe, if they do not use our cars, they can use our mobile services.”

 

Documentary of GAF2016