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The thin product and the irregular rhythm cannot smash the "niche" barrier

来源:经济日报-中国经济网王跃跃 January 9, 2020 06:34 Source: Economic Daily-China Economic Net Wang Yueyue

As a premium car brand under Honda, Acura has entered the Chinese market for 13 years, but its product lineup is thin and niche. Because of the "National Six" emission upgrade, Acura's models in Shanghai and other places for sale only have a poor "one and a half". Such a chaotic market rhythm is really puzzling.

Judging from the sales targets set over the years, Acura is eagerly looking forward to changing the fate of the niche, but has not been able to fulfill it. Xu Haidong, assistant secretary general of the China Automobile Association, said frankly, "Acura itself is a niche brand and its product competitiveness is not strong. It wants to establish a foothold in the Chinese market by creating 1-2" explosive models ". However, Acura launched Obviously, the products did not touch consumers, so sales decline is inevitable. "

2019 has just passed, and the overall downward trend of the automobile market has once again accompanied us through the whole year. In this regard, the industry generally believes that the "cold winter" will continue for 3-5 years, and a new round of industry reshuffle has begun ...

In this context, the Economic Daily-China Economic Network specially selected some highly representative companies for case analysis. Among them, there are both independent brands and joint ventures ... without exception, in the face of the current "big waves of sand washing", these enterprises have experienced extremely serious development and even survival problems. We look forward to exploring the source of the problem and summing up the rules of experience in this way to help the industry develop healthily.

The seventh of this series of original manuscripts is launched today to see why Acura cannot always fulfill its sales promise, and why it is difficult to break through the "niche" barrier.

"We can only sell 'one and a half' models, which will last until next year (2020), one RDX, half CDX", a sales person at Acura Shanghai 4S shop reluctantly told the Economic Daily-China Economy Net reporter, "Due to Shanghai's early implementation of the National Sixth B emission standard, domestic TLX-L and CDX fuel-powered four-wheel drive models that did not meet the emission standards can only be discontinued; CDX hybrid and fuel-powered two-wheel drive models have reached the standard. It can only be regarded as a 'half model'. "

Photo by Wang Yueyue, an Acura 4S shop in Shanghai

As a premium car brand under Honda, Acura has entered the Chinese market for 13 years, but its product lineup is thin and niche. The reporter can check the official website of Acura. At present, Acura only has three domestic models of CDX, TLX-L and RDX, and two imported models of MDX and NSX. Three of them are SUVs, and the other two are cars and high-performance sports cars. On July 1, 2019, National Sixth B emission standards were officially implemented in Shanghai and other places, making Acura's already thin product lineup even more stretched.

In order to enrich the product matrix, Acura had high-profilely shouted as early as 2017, "will accelerate the pace of launching new cars" and promised "two models will be put on the market each year in the future." However, Acura has always failed to deliver on its promises. In 2019, Acura neither introduced new models to domestic production nor introduced new imported models.

Acura brand sales table over the years

"According to the sales targets set over the years, Acura is eagerly looking forward to changing the fate of the niche", some insiders bluntly said, "the reality is that Acura has not been able to meet the expected goals." Data show that in 2016, Acura sold 9062 vehicles in China, and did not complete the goal of 10,000 annual sales. In 2017, Acura's sales reached 16,348 units, a significant increase from the same period last year, and it still failed to achieve its target of 30,000 annual sales. In 2018, Acura's cumulative sales for the year were 9,424, down 42% year-on-year.

In the opinion of many industry experts, the fundamental reason why Acura is unable to break through the niche is that its products are difficult to meet the needs of the Chinese market. Xu Haidong, assistant secretary general of the China Automobile Association, said frankly, "Acura itself is a niche brand and its product competitiveness is not strong. It wants to establish a foothold in the Chinese market by creating 1-2" explosive models ". However, Acura launched Obviously, the products did not touch consumers, so sales decline is inevitable. " Zhao Ying, former director of the Industrial Development Office of the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that "Acura's model in China is a niche model and cannot meet market requirements."

In addition, Acura has made limited improvements to the Chinese market. Acura lags significantly behind in switching the "National Five, Six" emission standards. As a reference, Lexus, which is also a Japanese high-end brand, has basically completed the "National Five, Six" switching in June 2019. Economic Daily-China Economic Network learned when calling a Lexus 4S store in Beijing that despite Beijing ’s implementation of the National Sixth B emission standard by July 2020, it has completed the clearance of “National Five” models, and currently only “National Six "models are on sale.

Photo by Wang Yueyue in a Acura 4S shop in Shanghai

"We can only watch cars sold by other brands," said the Acura salesman dissatisfied, "Women ca n’t cook without rice! There is no car to sell, and we will say it is useless again." In fact, as early as 2012, Acura had had dealers withdraw from the network, and the number reached about 20% of dealers in China. At that time, some dealers analyzed that "Acura's channel dilemma is not accidental, and it is related to Acura's less investment in China for many years."

Xu Haidong bluntly stated that, "Acura entered the Chinese market, and there were deficiencies in the shaping of its luxury brand. The products it invested in could not resonate with Chinese consumers, and its brand awareness had not been effectively improved." Senior automotive expert Zhao Yan pointed out, "In the process of building a high-end brand, in addition to moving the consumer in terms of spiritual and emotional concepts, it is also necessary to implement its concept and let users directly feel it through practical products." (Economic Daily-China Economic Network reporter Wang Yueyue)

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(Responsible editor: Zhang Ye)

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    来源:经济日报-中国经济网王跃跃 2020-01-09 06:34 Source: Economic Daily-China Economic Net Wang Yueyue
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