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Consumers expect more from green vehicles

Hu Yumo
Survey finds that while new-energy vehicle owners expect technological and smart in-vehicle features, product quality has become the key to market success.
Hu Yumo

New-energy vehicle owners expect technological and smart in-vehicle features as well as a high-quality car, according to a survey by consulting firm J.D. Power.

With the gradual maturity of new-energy vehicle technology, consumers have higher expectations for cars and product quality has become the key to market success, the consulting firm noted.

Due to the decline in subsidies and the COVID-19 outbreak, sales of new-energy vehicles dropped significantly in the first half. Thanks to supporting policies issued by China and local governments since March, sales are recovering significantly in the second half. 

J.D. Power said 2020 is expected to be only a short adjustment period and China's new-energy vehicle market will resume rapid growth in the next 10 years.

In the first eight months, China's new-energy vehicle sales totalled 596,000 units, down 26.4 percent year on year. About 109,000 green cars were sold in August, up 25.8 percent year on year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

The survey showed that new-energy vehicle owners are younger and more open to green car brands. The proportion of new-energy vehicle owners born in the 1990s increased to 37 percent this year from 24 percent in 2019.

In addition, 78 percent of new-energy vehicle owners indicate they would consider any green car brands when purchasing, which is 6 percentage points higher than the consideration level of gasoline vehicle owners.

“As the new-energy vehicle market is shifting from policy-driven to policy and market-driven, competition among brands will gradually focus on the product itself,” said Jeff Cai, general manager of auto product at J.D. Power China.

Quality problems are cited most often by new-energy vehicle owners. The categories most frequently cited with problems are exterior, interior, infotainment systems, driving experience, seats, batteries and charging. 

According to the survey, international brands perform better in the exterior, infotainment systems, seats, powertrains and interior categories, and domestic new-energy vehicle start-ups exceed in driving experience, climate, batteries and charging.

Eileen Ren, vice president of new energy vehicle solutions at J.D. Power China, said automakers need to accelerate technology and product innovation, and strive to improve quality.

The survey, now in its second year, measures new-vehicle quality by examining problems experienced by new-energy vehicle owners within the first two to six months of ownership.

The study is based on responses from 3,267 vehicle owners who purchased vehicles between May 2019 and May 2020. It covers 40 car models from 20 brands. 

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