Consumers are very familiar with Japanese brands, and they have obviously been very well received.
But the case might not immediately be the same for Chinese brands eyeing entry in the U.S.
According to a recent poll by Autolist, Chinese brand vehicles may face difficulties “earning the trust” and attention of U.S. car shoppers.
According to their poll of 1,565 consumers in July about their awareness of an openness to Chinese brand vehicles, the results were varied.
According to the poll results, 35 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t consider a Chinese brand, 38 percent said they were unsure, and 27 percent said they would consider one.
So, Chinese automakers may have a bit of an uphill battle, but not surprisingly, the answer depended on what brand the consumer’s current vehicle was – as well as where it was from.
For example, shoppers who owned an Asian vehicle already from Japan or Korea were more likely to consider a Chinese brand than those consumers that owned a European or American vehicle.
Thirty-four percent of owners of Japanese and Korean vehicles would consider a Chinese brand, with European brand owners (29 percent) and American brand owners (22 percent) trailing.
What’s the hang up?
Apparently, according to the Autolist survey, respondents had concerns about reliability and safety when it comes to Chinese automakers potentially entering the U.S. market. Twenty-three percent of survey respondents said concerns about reliability were the main reason they wouldn’t buy a Chinese brand vehicle, while safety followed closely behind with 21 percent.
IHS Markit pointed out that many Chinese automotive brands have considered entry into the U.S. market for years, but have been stalled by low brand awareness, as well as difficulty meeting U.S. safety standards.
But, still, Chinese automakers like GAC Motor and Geely’s Lynk & Co., which owns Volvo, are establishing joint ventures with established Western brands, and could potentially enter the American market in coming years.
In fact, according to IHS Markit research, GAC plans to sell cars in the U.S. by 2019, while Lynk & Co. is shooting for 2020.
And if this comes to fruition, the factor most likely to persuade U.S. buyers is affordable price, according to 40 percent of respondents. Technology was up second at 18 percent.
Brand awareness definitely won’t be the key to entrance into the U.S. market. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they were not aware of leading Chinese auto brands, including GAC, Lynk & Co, Geely, BYD, Chery or SAIC.