Culture, Demographics Test U.S. Automakers in China


American automobile designers and marketers need to take seriously China’s nationalistic guochao trend to buttress sales and protect their market share against strengthening all-Chinese brands, industry experts warn.

Guochao, which literately translates as “national tide,” has seen Chinese companies conquering domestic market shares from foreign rivals in a wide range of sectors that have long been dominated by international brands, from cosmetics and fashion to cars.

Guochao is especially captivating China’s Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2015), whose discretionary spending accounts for 13% of their household income, compared with 4% in France and Germany, according to a survey cited by the South China Morning Post in April.

Adding urgency, experts tell WardsAuto Chinese buyers of premium cars are on average 10-12 years younger than their U.S. counterparts, a market assumption that is not new.

Chinese-branded and -owned passenger vehicle marques, such as from Changan and Geely,saw their market share rise to 41.5% in January-March 2021, up 1.4% compared to January-March 2020, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). This trend is being witnessed in the market for electric as well as combustion vehicles.

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