Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

April 24, 2014

Automakers scramble to woo young Chinese

(Continued)

China’s average customer is 10 to 15 years younger than in the West and buyers who increasingly drive themselves instead of having a chauffeur, automakers say.

Torsten Muller-Otvos, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd., owned by BMW AG, expressed surprise at how young some buyers are.

“Many young customers (are) 28, 29, 30, and it is not inherited money. It is self-earned money. Very impressive,” said Muller-Otvos.

Younger buyers, some of them already Ferrari drivers, are looking at Rolls’s two-door Wraith, he said.

“This is truly a car for the ‘self-drivers’ but much more comfortable than a Ferrari, and that is quite attractive here,” said Muller-Otvos.

Smaller cars such as Audi’s sporty A3 in the 200,000-300,000 yuan ($32,000-$48,000) range are particularly competitive, Zhu said.

The market is dominated by German brands Audi AG, BMW and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, which have a combined market share of 74 percent, but competitors are likely to eat into that, said Zhu.

The premium market “should be more diverse,” he said. “Chinese consumers in the past have not had many choices.”

At the Beijing Auto Show, people like Jia abounded.

Geng Yunning, a mother of a young child, said her family wanted to upgrade their domestic brand car to a better model ranging between 200,000 yuan and 300,000 yuan.

“If we can afford it, we will get a car that is more spacious, safer and more comfortable,” she said, after visiting the BMW exhibition floor.

Han Minghua, an airline employee in his late 30s, is looking to replace his 6-year-old Honda.

“It’s an entry-level car — a typical Asian car with a good fuel economy, but its mission has been accomplished,” Han said. “Our financial conditions are better than in 2008, and we wish for improvement in quality of life.” His budget? 400,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan.

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