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I was just wondering, what is the Chinese public's perception of Japanese cars(vs. Chinese)? We're talking cars btw, so don't make this political.
 

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Easy.........

OK, this is a no brainer...............for the most part, chinese people love japanese cars. Most people here (at least those in a position to buy a car) are intelligent enough to separate politics and buying a car. Also, let's face the facts - japanese cars are world renowned for quality and reliability and potential car buyers here know that fact as well. Pretty much the same kinds of auto magazines and websites are available here as in the western world....and the websites (and magazines) are full of comparison tests, latest news, recent price reductions, feature articles on engines, trannys, aerodynamics, brakes, etc...just like in the west. More and more chinese car buyers are savvy and educated - and they walk into a showroom knowing what they want and what they're prepared to pay for it. There is still a education gap when it comes to proper service after the purchase........but that is changing with the generations. There is ALSO the situation of the VERY outdated system of driver's training (many schools still use diesel pickups and the official driving test STILL requires you to shift all the way into 5th gear BEFORE you reach 40kph.........talk about ABUSING a car engine along with terrible gas mileage), but a updated system is being discussed as well (from what I understand).

Finally, let's remember that when you buy a japanese car in China nowadays, you are contributing more to the chinese economy than you are to the japanese economy (since MOST of the japanese cars available here are manufactured/assembled in China)!! And, although most car buyers here ARE aware of that fact (the built in China aspect), their REAL priority is this - what is the BEST car I can get for what I can afford?? The answer (usually).....a japanese car. Chinese cars WILL be more competitive in a few years..........but that's a subject we've discussed MANY times before in different threads.

2007 will be an interesting year in the fact that we finally will see all the "luxury" japanese brands (Acura, Infiniti and Lexus) available here......will buyers here embrace them as solidly as american buyers do? I think so, but I think it's going to be a couple of years before buyers look at Acura, Infiniti and Lexus as potential "equals" to the likes of BMW and Mercedes (however, they have a quality history behind them now...they had NONE when they were first introduced in the USA some 20 years ago). I'm MORE interested to see what happens with the new Livinia and it's starting price of UNDER 80,000rmb........speaking of which, recent price reductions have brought the price of the Honda Fit BELOW 75,000rmb and the projected starting price of the upcoming Brilliance FRV will be right in there as well.........talk about PRICE COMPETITION!!!!!!!!!! :thumb:
 

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jmsteiny,

This is a little of the topic, but I would appreciate your input.

Why is a Buick a success in China as compared to North America?
 

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AGR said:
jmsteiny,

This is a little of the topic, but I would appreciate your input.

Why is a Buick a success in China as compared to North America?
I'll take a stab at that, I think Buick in America has become the quintessential "old mans cars". I think I read somewhere that the median age of a person buying a Buick is way above average. In china the buicks that are sold are essentially very different to the ones sold in the states ( they consist of Daewoos and Holdens ) so they are simply more appealing to that market thus making them more successful.
 

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AGR said:
jmsteiny,

This is a little of the topic, but I would appreciate your input.

Why is a Buick a success in China as compared to North America?
Because for quite some time the Buick Regal is/was the only serious alternative to a Passat if you want an upclass car without resorting to Audi/BMW.
(I'm not talking about the Excelle or Sail of course.)
 

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Thank You!

I conclude that the Buicks sold in China are rebadged cars, and not identical to the Buicks sold in North America.

This is an interesting and informative piece on Buick from The Truth About Cars....Click
 

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Not quite.....

AGR said:
Thank You!

I conclude that the Buicks sold in China are rebadged cars, and not identical to the Buicks sold in North America.

A couple of our fellow posters have already spoken up here (thanks oo4load and axle)........but maybe I might be able to add a bit more detail to this.

First of all, not ALL Buicks are rebadged..........the LaCrosse in particular is a ORIGINAL design for the chinese market (I've read comments by americans in other forums - they like the chinese version MUCH better than the current american version!!) and the Regal DID originate in the USA (but it's been stretched and altered to fit chinese tastes) as did the GL8 (a variation from the Pontiac Montana). However, I want to respond to your ORIGINAL question...why are Buicks a success in China as compared to North America?

Short answer? Marketing and brand image. Longer answer? Axle is right when he said that Buick in the USA is stuck with the image of being a "old person's" car - but it wasn't always this way. In the early part of the 20th century, Buick was the backbone of GM and it was known as a "doctor's car" (in other words, upper white collar but not CEO level......that was Cadillac territory). Buick was successful for MANY years, but by the 1970's the loyal customer base was aging - and so were the cars (in a effort to stay loyal to that aging customer base). As a result, the image of Buick as a "granny's" car was established and it's a image Buick is still stuck with today (even the Tiger Woods commercials haven't helped much).

Now, connecting Buick with China........in 1997 GM signed into a historic agreement with SAIC - and GM China was born. GM wasn't the first foreign auto company to be in "modern" China (VW was already dominating the market) NOR was it the first american company (Jeep was building the Cherokee in Beijing since the mid 80s)....but it WAS the first american company to market a "luxury", upscale car in China - and hence, the Buick Regal was introduced in 1999. Remember, there was virtually NOTHING ELSE to compete with it....there were a FEW Mercedes and BMW's on the streets, but they were imported and HUGELY expensive. It was new, it was "expensive", it was american and it was a "must have" for the new ranks of successful businessmen and up and coming government officials. The Regal was a INSTANT success...........since chinese buyers had no history or "brand stigma" with Buick (no one in China had any idea of the "granny's car" label) the Regal was looked at as a VERY desirable alternative to the Passat or even the Audi.....THE choice for government officials at the time. Buick simply couldn't make enough of them, and it remains a popular car for Buick to this day (and there it is....BRAND IMAGE). Buick has expanded it's lineup since then, of course (the current lineup includes the Regal, LaCrosse and Park Avenue, the GL8 van and the Excelle series as the entry level offering......the Sail is now sold by Chevrolet) and the Buick name is still associated with the images of "success" and "prosperity" (especially if you drive a Regal, LaCrosse or Park Avenue). Even with the arrival of BMW and Mercedes (and now Cadillac), Buick is still a car to "be seen" in!!

The power of "brand image" is simply amazing, and I'm sure that the executives at Buick are counting their lucky stars that they came to China when they did!! :D
 

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jmsteiny,

谢谢 (I hope it says Thank You)

Captivating to see Buick in China in the position that it was in North America many years ago.

If you clicked on the link that I posted, its a lively debate on what Buick was and is now.

What will be interesting to see is the influence of Chinese design on cars, especially luxury cars in the years to come.
 
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