Biz / Auto

The young drive future of China's auto industry

The future of China's auto market seems destined to be shaped by the whims of a younger generation that often has its own ideas about what is fun and practical to drive.
Imaginechina

The future of China’s auto market seems destined to be shaped by the whims of a younger generation that often has its own ideas about what is fun and practical to drive.

The young, for example, tend to view luxury cars differently from their parents. They are interested not only in the looks of a vehicle but also in features that create distinctive individuality. They want technologies that make the driving experience more enjoyable and are in tune with their addiction to all things digital.

Automakers are striving to understand youthful preferences and cater to those tastes. They want to get up close and cozy with the younger generation.

UK premium carmaker Jaguar Land Rover is seeking to address the demands of younger Chinese drivers with the launch of a new sedan this month called the Jaguar XEL. The car is targeted at drivers born in the mid-1980s or later, according to the company.

“It’s a stylish and dynamic car, and the main target audience will be young people,” said Frank Wittemann, president of Jaguar Land Rover China and Chery Jaguar Land Rover Integrated Marketing Sales and Service. “Young people in China have different tastes, and they want to stand out. I believe brands like Jaguar Land Rover have a very good chance if they target the young generation.”

The company said it has conducted market research and initiate discussions with young consumers prior to the launch of Jaguar XEL.

James Hu, executive vice president of Jaguar Land Rover China, said the young generation is fast becoming the mainstream of auto buying, and that trend is raising the bar for premium carmakers.

“Automakers need to think how to meet the diverse demands of young consumers in terms of personalization, configuration and vehicle technologies,” he said. “Competition among carmakers lies not only in brand and product, but also in customer experience and services.”

Jaguar Land Rover invited Hong Kong singer-actor William Chan to do celebrity endorsement for the new model. Chan fit the image of the vehicle, the company said, and has very strong appeal among young people.

Analysts said this is the first time that Jaguar Land Rover has attempted to connect with the younger generation.

“Jaguar Land Rover enriched its product line by bringing in a sedan aimed at younger drivers,” said Zhang Xiaofeng, an independent market analyst. “This shows that premium car brands are increasingly aware of the importance of young consumers in China.”

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