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Admittedly, other issues need to be taken care of before this process can start, and top
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Automotive World Online - China - the Driver Behind Future Car Design?

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  1. 1. Login Join Email Alerts Contact Search... CVs Electronics eMobility Manufacturing OEMs Powertrain Safety Suppliers Research Megatrends China: the driver behind future car design? 31 Jan 2013 by Mark Morley, GXS Posted in: Comment, Manufacturing, OEMs Over the past decade, nearly every automotive OEM has established some form of joint venture operation in China. Although the Chinese government appears to have been strict on the establishment of manufacturing plants, it remains keen to leverage the QUICK LINKS expertise of global OEMs when it comes to manufacturing quality cars to help develop its domestic automotive industry. Over the past 24 months, a new trend has emerged in this regard: global OEMs are not only establishing manufacturing plants in China – News Releases they are also opening design studios. Analysis This is a logical progression for the world’s largest car market and, for manufacturers to Research gain and maintain a foothold in this lucrative market, they must understand and cater to the needs of the Chinese consumer. For example, many Chinese buyers of executive cars such as BMWs or Audis prefer to be driven, creating demand for longer wheel base cars with an emphasis on rear passenger comfort. Chinese consumers also tend to prefer cars that have an upright look to the front of a car, rather than swooping curves, for which manufacturers of rugged vehicles are particularly well-suited, like Jaguar Land Rover, which recently signed a joint venture agreement with Chery. It is clear that global OEMs like Volvo and BMW have had to broaden their presence on the ground in China beyond manufacturing to keep a close on eye on consumer popularity trends, and so offer products tailored to the Chinese market. For manufacturers to gain and maintain a foothold in this lucrative market, they must understand and cater to the needs of the Chinese consumer Initial efforts by domestic OEMs in China to design their own cars merely introduced a number of cloned designs or copies of western cars to the market: one of the most publicised was Shuanghuan’s Sceo, widely accused of being a facsimile of the exterior design of the BMW X5. In recent months, however, domestic OEMs have gained confidence and begun to introduce their own designs to the market. Given the sheer size of the market, the number of cars introduced in China first is set to increase, with reworkings of those designs being offered in other markets. Over time, it is expected that designers working in these new JV design centres will leave for jobs at one of the domestic manufacturers, leveraging valuable training from outside the country to benefit Chinese design. As more regional design centres become established in China, the country will inevitably become the central hub from which future car platforms are developed and then adapted to suit other markets Concurrently, the trend of developing global car platforms first and foremost for the European and North American markets, is also likely to falter should China’s OEMs push forward. As more regional design centres become established in China, the country will inevitably become the central hub from which future car platforms are developed and then adapted to suit other markets. eMagazines Webinars Conferences Contact Us
  2. 2. Admittedly, other issues need to be taken care of before this process can start, and top of the agenda is the need to ensure that Chinese-designed global platforms meet the stringent crash and quality standards set by countries around the world. Geely’s acquisition of Volvo is a case in point. By association, Geely could be perceived as a producer of safe vehicles and Volvo could certainly help establish the necessary crash and safety test facilities in China to make this a reality. Furthermore, it is notable that Peter Horbury was elevated from his role as Volvo’s Vice President of Design to the post of Senior Vice President of Design at Geely. In addition to the benefits of a local presence, establishing a design centre in China allows manufacturers to operate design on a ‘follow the sun’ basis. Based on expected growth in new car sales over the coming years, manufacturers need to increase not only their production capacity, but also their design capacity. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd. Mark Morley is Automotive Director at GXS. The AutomotiveWorld.com Comment column is open to automotive industry decision makers and influencers. If you would like to contribute a Comment article, please contact editorial@automotiveworld.com. About | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Copyright Information | Site map | WebjectS. © automotive world ltd. all rights reserved.

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