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The Path To Globalization Of Chinas Automotive Industry En


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Booz & Company Viewpoint Publication of article describing the globalization of China auto industry. Part 2 of a 3-part series.

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The Path To Globalization Of Chinas Automotive Industry En

  1. 1. Perspective Bill Russo Edward Tse Tao Ke The Path to Globalization of China’s Automotive Industry
  2. 2. Contact Information Beijing Bill Russo Senior Advisor +86-10-6563-8300 Shanghai/Beijing Edward Tse Senior Partner +86-10-6563-8300 +852-3650-6100 +86-21-2327-9800 Tao Ke Principal +86-21-2327-9800 Booz & Company
  3. 3. EXECUTIVE China is the world’s factory for “everyday low price” merchandise. Sara Bongiorni’s amusing yet engaging book SUMMARY titled A Year Without ‘Made In China’ chronicles an American family’s futile attempt to boycott purchases of Chinese products for one year. The unexpected challenges of fulfilling such a resolution were felt when attempting to purchase footwear, eyewear, clothing, print cartridges, children’s toys, mousetraps and many other things. According to the US Census bureau, the trade deficit with China in 2008 stood at $266.3 billion, with China imports valued at $337.8 billion compared with U.S. exports valued at $71.5 billion. The message is clear: China dominates the production of everyday household goods. It just seems logical to assume that it’s simply a matter of time before China becomes an exporter of the most symbolic cultural icon: the automobile. In this second article in a 3-part series on the China auto industry, we will describe the challenges faced by Chinese original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in going global, and will highlight the role of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) as a plausible but high-risk means of accelerating this process. Booz & Company 1
  4. 4. FIRST ThInGS FIRST: FIX ThE BUSInESS ModEl In ChInA As was noted in the previous article, there are numerous structural problems in the China automotive industry that result from the highly fragmented landscape of licensed car manufacturers. The fact that that there are over 150 registered Let’s consider a few facts. As featured realize is how much Chinese content manufacturers is an outgrowth of in the first article of this series entitled may already be in your current car. a start-up phase for China’s auto The Coming Structural Realignment However, our focus here is on the sector. Provincial governments, of China’s Automotive Sector, China export of Chinese-branded vehicles. with the support of the central has rapidly become the largest car government, were encouraged to market in the world. In fact, China Despite the rally in China’s domestic develop industrial bases to create has surpassed the US in automotive sales, China exported only 61,000 investment opportunities and jobs in sales for the first half of 2009, vehicles in the first quarter of 2009, order to accelerate China’s economic posting sales of 6.1 million units a decline of 62% from the previous development. However, the highly versus 4.8 million vehicles sold in year. China auto insiders have fragmented industry that results from the U.S. market. It seems like all the pointed to the overall decline in this creates enormous inefficiencies in ingredients are there for the “Chinese worldwide demand as the reason, the area of capital investment. automotive factory” to expand to particularly in such key markets as the global markets. In fact much of Russia where protectionist measures This fragmentation also makes it the content in cars sold in the US and have had a direct impact on vehicles very difficult to focus and allocate elsewhere today already does come entering the market. But this is not resources to the development of from China. Because a significant a complete explanation. This article critical technologies related to percentage of the total cost of a car attempts to explain why China has safety and fuel economy. This is is in the manufactured components, not become a major vehicle exporter, there has already been a significant what challenges must be addressed, movement of the production of and highlights the pathways to supplied parts to China. A great globalization of the China automotive many of the components used in industry, drawing historical references cars today either are or can quickly to the trajectories taken by the be manufactured in China. This Japanese and Korean car makers. is purely driven by the efficiencies Finally, the role of an “inorganic” gained from sourcing in China. So, approach through M&A or the for those who are awaiting the arrival purchase of foreign assets is discussed of the Chinese car: what you may not in detail. 2 Booz & Company
  5. 5. an area of particular weakness for Chinese OEMs who have relied on their foreign partners to lead the development of key component technologies. The determining factor in whether a car company can compete in the international markets is whether they have the capacity to meet local consumer as well as regulatory requirements. While Chinese firms have learned very quickly how to assemble cars and develop supply chains, they are very inexperienced at the vehicle development and synthesis process. An automobile is a complex engineered system requiring advanced technology and know-how in order to test and validate the achievement ThE BRAnd Savvy and pragmatic as they are, Chinese consumers understand of benchmark targets in the areas of ChAllEnGE: ThE this quite well—which is the main performance, fuel economy, safety and quality. It is in this area that ChInESE VAlUE reason why foreign brands held a 66% share of the China market Chinese firms are weakest. Chinese PRoPoSITIon in 2008. The China government vehicles, while improving rapidly, understands that in order to create a are still not up to the world-class healthy industry, they need stronger standards required to compete in the companies capable of competing mature markets of the world. globally, but they too are pragmatic when tackling this challenge. Before taking on the world, Chinese OEMs must first raise the perception of “Made in China” cars in the minds of Chinese consumers. This is why there is a goal for Chinese OEMs to achieve a 40% share of domestic sales in 2009. To support this, the government has reduced tax rates by 5% on the purchase of vehicles below 1.6L engine displacement, as well as fiscal subsidies to farmers for vehicle replacement. This resulted in a surge in sales for sub-1.6L vehicles of 56.5%. Year-to-date, sub-1.6L engine vehicles captured 71% of the market. These policies clearly favor the local brand manufacturers who tend to build small, compact cars with smaller engine displacements. The capabilities of local Chinese OEMs have come a long way in a short time. This is, after all, a relatively new industry for China and the Chinese firms will learn quickly as they grow their share of the domestic market. However, Booz & Company 3
  6. 6. much work needs to be done to gain enjoy high market shares. However, Chinese auto companies should acceptance of the Chinese consumer Americans have always been willing start by developing their Chinese of Chinese manufactured goods. to buy branded products from any brand value proposition in their own This must be the first priority as it country - provided there is a clear country and then target emerging stands to reason that if it is difficult value proposition. The even larger growth markets first. Companies like to convince a Chinese consumer, it challenge will be to overcome the Chery, Great Wall and others have will be even harder to convince a perception that “Made in China” already started to export Chinese- foreign consumer to accept a “Made is equivalent to “Cheap and Poor manufactured vehicles to Latin in China” car. The fact is that with Quality”. Just look to Japan and America, the Middle East, Africa, the proper attention to quality Korea for evidence that this too can and Southeast Asian countries. Less management discipline and with be overcome. mature markets have demographics the transfer of critical know-how that lend themselves to new market in the area of vehicle synthesis and The core markets of North America entrants who compete primarily development, it is indeed possible for and Western Europe are dominated on price. Chinese firms to compete globally. by companies that already have A key challenge for China in a lot of experience in delivering However, greater rewards accrue Western Europe and North America technologies and solutions that most to those firms who understand how (mainly USA and Canada) will be to markets understand and already to adapt their positioning to the engineer cars that meet regulatory accept. Well-known brands with unmet needs of the local consumer. requirements. They will need at least established value propositions Successful firms find a way to take another product cycle to achieve dominate these markets. Unlike their brand value proposition and this “organically” on their own… China, these are mature markets that uniquely position it relative to but the even larger hurdle will be are not growing—and competing for competition in their target markets to gain market acceptance of the a slice of a pie that is not growing is —creating a unique selling Chinese branded car. This hurdle may not a game the Chinese have a lot of proposition (USP). be insurmountable in Europe where experience in playing. the domestic brands in each market 4 Booz & Company
  7. 7. lEARnInG FRoM Until that time, Toyota struggled to gain acceptance in the US market 1. There is a lot more competition in the US market than when Japan hISToRY: how for decades. Suddenly, the Japanese and Korea entered and OEMs are JAPAnESE And brands had a relevant unique selling proposition: it was the era of small, fighting fiercely to defend that in the face of a shrinking market size. KoREAn CAR fuel-efficient cars. MAKERS BECAME Interestingly, when Toyota and 2. Recent negative press on Chinese product quality and safety (from GloBAl Honda’s fortunes started to pick toys to milk products to pet food), up, they weren’t known for high make consumers wary of Chinese quality vehicles: their USP was small, brands—even if they are low cost. fuel-efficient cars. Over time, they While low cost is a positive value converted their USP over to high- proposition—“cheap and unsafe quality, reliable compact vehicles and shoddy” are not. The Chinese automakers are trying and in the process, were able to to compress the timeline for going expand their product offerings into 3. Recent protectionist sentiments global. For the most part, their new and higher-margin segments. triggered by the economic crisis domestic companies have been around The Korean brands came into the US will make consumers think twice for 10 - 15 years (in some cases less) market much later. When Hyundai, before buying a foreign branded and have already started to export to Kia and the other Korean brands first vehicle, especially from an the emerging markets. By contrast, made their entry into the US, they economic powerhouse like China. Toyota Motor Company was born in followed the same trajectory as Japan Late entrants —especially ones 1937, and didn’t export a car to the did at the outset. The Korean brands without a clear and accepted value US until 1956. They sold poorly until entered with a low-priced basic proposition will have to overcome the oil embargo in 1973. It took 36 transportation USP. this bias. years to even be marginally accepted. They are now a top selling brand The Chinese companies with global Realistically, Chinese OEMs are at in the US. By comparison, Hyundai ambitions would do well to study least 1–2 product cycles (5–10 years) began in 1946, started exporting to the lessons learned from those who away from selling their own branded the USA in 1986 and have a strong have successfully gone global. History vehicles in mature markets if they position in the market. tends to repeat itself when it comes to try to do it “organically”. If they try new market entrants—they generally sooner, they will likely fail. The success of the Japanese brands capture entry-level consumers looking in the US market was triggered by for value and attempt to grow from the first oil shock that occurred in this base. The value proposition for the 1970’s. America’s post-war love new market entrants usually starts affair with the automobile met up with affordability and evolves over with a changing reality in the area of time as consumers accept the brand. oil supply dominance, which came to a head with the Middle East oil While it is important to study the embargo. Americans who had grown history of car companies that have fond of American muscle cars and successfully gone global, we must also “sofas on wheels” were confronted acknowledge that the world is a very with higher prices, rationing of different place today, which makes gasoline, and long lines at the pump. it much more difficult for Chinese Americans suddenly began to seek brands to expand internationally: smaller, fuel-efficient transportation. Booz & Company 5
  8. 8. lEARnInG A pragmatic approach would be to grow “inorganically” by acquiring Ultimately, SAIC decided to dissolve the deal. Sadly, cross-border FRoM hISToRY: the assets of a distressed but well- acquisitions are rarely successful. InoRGAnIC known international manufacturer, and use these hard and soft assets The 9-year marriage of Daimler- Benz and Chrysler dissolved in 2007 GRowTh to accelerate their expansion plans. largely driven by an incompatibility The historic restructuring underway of products, brands, business models in the global automotive industry and management structures. will result in a redistribution or liquidation of automotive OEM Even the more successful partnerships assets. Whole companies, brands with have had mixed results: by all installed dealer networks, product measures, the Ford alliance with platforms and associated component Mazda has been a very good example technologies are all available for of a successful cross-border alliance. a mere fraction of the investment Ford benefited from access to Mazda’s needed to create these assets. It stands fuel-efficient technologies and to reason that such an approach platforms, and both sides benefited could significantly shorten the time from a shared global production frame for going global. and distribution footprint. However, Ford recently made the decision to Chinese companies with global liquidate its shares in Mazda in order ambitions who are considering a to raise much-needed cash. Lenovo’s major acquisition would do well to acquisition of IBM’s PC division is study the lessons learned from those still struggling to deliver results in who have tried to create a cross- spite of the compatible interests of border alliance. While it may be both sides. This deal also had to relatively easy to negotiate a deal to overcome challenges from the U.S. acquire such assets, there is enormous authorities fearful of national security risk and the vast majority of cross- risks. It remains to be seen if the border acquisitions ultimately fail. merged company will be a stronger The most recent case of SAIC’s competitor in a highly competitive acquisition of Ssangyong ultimately electronics industry. failed because the interests of both parties were not aligned. SAIC was unable to secure concessions from Ssangyong’s labor union to lower costs, unwilling to inject billons of RMB incremental capital to fund the business, and unable to manage the loss of leadership at Ssangyong. 6 Booz & Company
  9. 9. REAlIzInG Clearly there is a need, on the part of the European and North Political/legal Risks • Anti-trust restrictions and strict RESUlTS American OEMs and suppliers, to audit by in-country government REqUIRES find additional sources of funding in order to keep their operations going, • Potential resistance from public MITIGATInG while the rapid growth of China auto and other stakeholders who have RISKS market in recent years has provided Chinese companies more capacity interest or deep-rooted connections with the acquired brand/company to invest. The shifting of economic and industrial power to the east will • Potential objection from national require a corresponding redistribution security authority if company is of the asset base of the industry. military supplier However, there are real challenges in finding suitable partners. Partners in Financial Risks the west are not necessarily going be • Capital investment requirements in compatible, both from a technological transition process and from a cultural standpoint with a Chinese suitor. A Chinese company • Increased cost level by resulting investing in a western company or from increased capacity and staffing its assets must understand how to align the interests of the partner operational Risks in the transaction with their own, • Shortage of qualified management or they will likely end up owning with international experience assets without the technological development know-how that went • Difficulties to integrate the parent into creating those assets. company’s systems with the acquired company It all should start with a comprehensive risk-assessment and Cultural Risks plan for post-acquisition integration. • Conflicts caused by huge differences The risk-assessment should in language, culture and values encompass the following high-failure rate causes: • Misunderstanding and failure due to ineffective communications lack of Synergy • Limited complementarities among Successfully anticipating these issues target markets and customers and developing a post-acquisition plan for asset integration will increase • Significant complexity in sharing the success rate and ensure that resources/technological capacities technology transfer could then happen in the context of the new partnership. • Difficult to jointly develop new concept or product platform for global sales Booz & Company 7
  10. 10. TRAnSACTIonAl With time, Chinese car companies can get there organically—but • Geely’s acquisition of Manganese Bronze in 2006 (London taxi) BARRIERS To going it alone will be slow and may ChInA’S GloBAl never work. The global financial crisis is presenting very enticing Shortage of expertise in international acquisition and post-merger AMBITIonS opportunities for Chinese companies integration is yet another major to fill their remaining technology hurdle for China oEMs and competency gaps using an • Local OEMs would likely rely inorganic approach. For China to heavily on outside experts with play a role in the restructuring of the knowledge of international markets global automotive industry, several transactional barriers remain. • Such advisory services will help a smooth execution and successful China government policy and restructure in early stage: financial support is essential for overseas acquisition 1. Develop acquisition strategy and • China Commission of State- proper methodologies owned Asset Supervision and 2. Define the right target of Administration (SASAC) has stated acquisition through a broad range that they are not ready to approve of evaluation any overseas acquisition project 3. Advise the due diligence and by China vehicle manufacturing or business negotiation financial enterprises in near term 4. Provide project management since they are not clear on the services and track full execution OEMs’ asset/brand value 5. Aid to cross-cultural communication and facilitate • Limited funding capacity of conflict resolution local OEMs necessitates that the government provide a source of investment capital needed to complete the transaction Select asset/technology acquisition is still an economical and feasible alternative for China oEMs to access globally advanced technologies. Examples include: • SAIC’s acquisition of Rover brand/ assets for development of own brand vehicles 8 Booz & Company
  11. 11. ThE wAY It is clear that China’s auto companies aspire to be on the world stage. FoRwARd However, for Chinese brands to successfully compete in the global auto industry they must: 1. Strengthen their domestic base through consolidation 2. Determine the Chinese brand value proposition first domestically and ultimately globally 3. Build critical vehicle development competencies required to achieve benchmark targets in line with the brand’s Unique Selling Proposition While the China government is concerned over the readiness of About the Authors domestic firms to take on a foreign acquisition, it is likely to happen. Edward Tse is Booz & Company’s senior Those who dare take on such partner and chairman for acquisitions are also wise to learn the Greater China, specializing in lessons from others who have gone definition and implementation global before them, and from those of business strategies, orga- among them who have tried—and nizational effectiveness, and often failed—to use an acquisition to corporate transformation. He accelerate the process. has assisted several hundred companies—headquartered both within and outside Note: China—on all aspects of This is the second in a series about business related to China and the developments occurring in the its integration with the rest of Chinese automotive industry. the world. The next installment will address the China’s role in the transformation Bill Russo is a senior advisor of the business model and with Booz & Company as well as the Founder and President technological underpinnings of the of Synergistics Limited. He lives automotive industry. in Beijing and has more than 20 years of experience in the auto- motive industry, most recently serving as Vice President of Chrysler’s business in North East Asia. Tao Ke is a project principal with Booz & Company and is a member of the core financial services leadership team in Greater China. He has more than 10 years’ consulting experience in a broad range of strategy, operations, organization, and risk management assignments, covering the financial services, automotive, consumer, and telecom industries. Booz & Company 9
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