Text/Picture Guangzhou Daily all-media reporter Deng Li

In the past two weeks, the joint venture has launched new cars, which has attracted widespread attention. Dongfeng Nissan, SAIC-GM Buick and other joint venture brands released modified fuel vehicles, plug-in hybrid and even pure electric new vehicles, the pricing is invariably more "low-profile". Under the pressure of continuous market share being squeezed by China's own brands in recent years, the price system of joint venture brands has begun to enter a period of reshaping, indicating that these brands have begun to actively face reality and actively adjust their brand development strategies. However, with the continuous strong development of intelligent and electrified tracks, Chinese automobile brands have gradually begun to grasp the "pricing discourse" of the automobile market.

The horn sounds

Joint venture new car pricing enters "new context"

"We reported no less than ten times for this price." Liu Xinyu, who took up the post of general manager of Dongfeng Nissan Automobile Sales Co., Ltd. at the end of April this year, revealed on May 4 after the listing of the superhybrid drive X-Jun. For Nissan executives who can persuade the super-hybrid electric drive X-Trail to limit the pricing of the super-hybrid electric drive X-Trail to less than 5,22 yuan, not only achieve "the same price for oil and electricity" and "the same price for four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive", but also achieve the "world's lowest price" (Nissan's promotional slogan), he said that it is very critical for the company to boost sales this year. Compared with the previous pure electric SUV Aria was designated too high, Dongfeng Nissan can be described as a broken cauldron this time. "We have made a lot of determination, one is to ensure the success of the listing, and the other is to let domestic users see our sincerity." Liu Xinyu said.

Not only Dongfeng Nissan, but also other joint venture brands have conveyed sincerity in pricing. The new Accord launched in the middle of this month is designed for the Chinese market to launch plug-in hybrid models, and even its fuel version of the highest configuration and plug-in version of the minimum configuration basically achieve the same price, and the plug-in hybrid maximum configuration is also slightly reduced than the previous gasoline-electric hybrid. In addition, Buick also directly lowered the price of the new generation of LaCrosse that has just been launched to the pricing range of the lower level of Regal. Another example, from the luxury market, Mercedes-Benz's new EQE pure electric SUV, which has just been listed, has a guide price that is directly 21,<> yuan cheaper than the guidance price of Mercedes-Benz's GLE SUV of the same class, which is jokingly called "saving a Mercedes-Benz A-class".

Some insiders lamented to reporters that a year ago, they would never have thought that the joint venture brand would put "cost performance" in such an important position. Today, the price of these new joint venture cars is almost on par with similar models of own brands. It can be seen that overseas car companies have a new ideological understanding of the development situation of China's auto market and their own market positioning, especially the attitude of foreign shareholders. In the words of Gao Guolin, deputy general manager of Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Company, the company has directly "opened up". This means that joint venture car companies have begun to give up the premium space of foreign brands that were originally "expensive", and officially blow the clarion call for joint venture brands to "oil and electricity at the same price" and even "price remodeling".

Share tug-of-war

The share of independent brands exceeds that of joint venture brands

The market share of joint venture brands and Chinese independent brands is no longer what it used to be. According to statistics from the Passenger Association, from January to April this year, the market share of mainstream joint venture brand new energy vehicles was only 1.4%, down 5.4 percentage points from the same period last year. According to sales statistics in the first four months of this year, luxury brands sold a total of 0,2 units, a year-on-year increase of 4%, while the overall plate of own brands increased by 87.3% to more than 11.5 million units. The joint venture camp, which was squeezed by luxury brands and own brands, suffered a significant impact as a sandwich layer, falling 7.290% y/y to 13.3 million units.

Although there are many factors affecting the development of joint venture brands, from the perspective of the market environment, they mainly focus on two points: first, the price fluctuations in the car market since March this year have had a great impact on the terminal price system of joint venture brands; Second, the transformation of joint venture brand models in the field of new energy is not fast enough, resulting in the pricing dominance of joint venture brands in the era of fuel vehicles has begun to be impacted, and brand premiums are gradually declining.

In the era of fuel vehicles, joint venture brands occupy a dominant position, occupying the vast majority of China's passenger car market, and the market share of independent brands is basically less than 40%, or even only 2022%. In the era of new energy, independent brands began to grow strongly. According to the latest data from the Passenger Association, the market share of China's own brands has continued to rise in recent years, and the joint venture brands have continued to decline. In 50, the annual market share of independent brands will reach 1% for the first time in nearly a decade, which is equal to that of joint venture brands. According to statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, from January to April this year, Chinese brand passenger cars sold 4.368 million units, an increase of 2.18% year-on-year, accounting for 8% of total passenger car sales.

The era of autonomy and joint ventures has arrived. Feng Xingya, general manager of GAC Group, previously said that the quality and technical standards of independent brands have broken through to a new stage, which is the fundamental reason for the change in market share.

Under the compression of share, the pricing power of joint venture brands naturally began to lose. As BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu said, in the price range of 10,20 to <>,<> yuan, BYD already has a large "pricing power".

Look ahead

How much share can be recovered from price remodeling?

In the face of changes in the pattern of China's auto market, joint venture brands are trying to adjust their product strategies, can the reshaping of prices save the market dominance?

Point 1: Price instruments are effective in the short term

Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the Passenger Association, believes that with the further deepening of automobile competition, more and more joint venture brands will inevitably use the simplest and most direct price means to compete for market share. "In the long run, joint venture brands still need to accelerate the pace of electrification and intelligence to keep up with independent brands, but the price measures in the short term can still bring a certain sales boost."

The industry believes that BYD, which has completed the new energy transformation, has been using the strategy of "oil and electricity at the same price" to compete for the fuel vehicle market, triggering Chery, Great Wall, Geely and other brands to follow suit. In this case, the joint venture brand is bound to break the pricing system of this cutting-edge fuel vehicle era. Specifically, it will reduce the price of high-yield fuel vehicles to offset the impact of the rapid growth of new energy vehicles; At the same time, new energy products without obvious advantages follow the market pricing strategy to achieve "the same price" as their own brands.

Opinion 2: Joint venture brands can still be reinforced

Feng Xingya said when talking about the competitive situation at this year's Shanghai Auto Show that the future development of joint venture brands depends on whether companies are willing to accelerate and increase investment in electrification and intelligence. He said that the joint venture brand cannot be underestimated, although the independent brand has temporarily taken the lead in some aspects, but this is only the first mover dividend, and in the future, when everyone makes efforts, it is the time to "see the truth".

Needless to say, some joint venture brands have "awakened". In terms of the historical opportunity of the development of new energy vehicles, Dongfeng Nissan, Beijing Benz and other positive adjustments to pricing show that shareholders have completed the run-in. This means that as long as the joint venture brand continues to make efforts, there is still a chance to occupy a place in the Chinese auto market.