Buick, luxury brand?

Buick, luxury brand? Buick’s long history was even older than General Motors for several years and was the cornerstone of the development of General Motors. After hundreds of years of baptism, coupled with continued downturn for 20 to 30 years, the brand has become somewhat old-fashioned, but unexpectedly rejuvenated in China in the past decade, and full of vigor and vitality.

The current round of strategic layout of General Motors based on the global market has been basically formulated.

In addition to focusing on Cadillac, which will enable it to follow the pace of BMW, Audi and Mercedes in the global market, the characteristics of Chevrolet as a global brand will gradually emerge, such as increasing product introduction and brand promotion in key markets such as Europe and China. The intensity, as GM’s marketing director Joel Ewanick said in an interview with the media: “We will make more efforts to make everyone realize that Chevrolet is our global brand.” At the same time, Opel has always been based on the European market. Buick, which has achieved breakthroughs in China, will further consolidate the connotations of its respective regional brands, and both of them will develop into high-end markets. Chevrolet will be filled in vacant mid- and low-end markets.

This kind of strategic adjustment shows that GM has a clearer understanding of the current global market's entire competitive landscape, and it appears to be more accurate in adjusting the target market and brand positioning of its major brands.

In the Chinese market, Buick may shine.

“Buick faces new developments. We have a very strong support program for brands and products around the five-year strategic plan.” On the eve of the listing of the new GL8 last year, former Shanghai GM general manager Ding Lei pointed out that 2015 was quite Buick of the year will be the "strong mid-to-high-end brand" that has emerged in China.

In Shanghai GM's plans for the next few brands, Chevrolet will assume 60% of Shanghai GM's sales in the future, which means that it will increase nearly 15% on the existing basis. Buick’s share is undoubtedly relatively compressed. This may be the sacrifice that Buick wants to make into the high end. It is less and more refined. In the past year, Buick sold more than 500,000 vehicles in the Chinese market, which accounted for more than half of Shanghai GM's total sales, showing the brand's popularity.

Shanghai GM's two major shareholder GMs and SAIC (especially the former) have also already intentionally molded the brand into a mid- to high-end brand, or even a luxury brand. According to an industry source close to Shanghai GM, many years ago, at an international conference, Buick had used the slogan: “Dear President, you are on a Buick sedan.”

Shanghai GM, which has always had a hard time in the luxury car market, especially under the current circumstance that Cadillac was unsuccessful, GM needs a high-end brand that can take the initiative to consolidate its brand image in the Chinese market, regardless of brand influence. The best market share is the same as that of an old luxury car brand like Mercedes-Benz BMW. Buick is undoubtedly the best choice.

However, due to a failed attempt several years ago, Shanghai GM has not dared to push up the brand position of Buick.

From the end of 2004 to the end of 2004, it was announced that it would cease domestic production. The Buick Rongyu, which was hailed by the media as a “surprise attack” in the domestic luxury car market, was defeated by Shanghai GM, which had a radical sentiment at the time of rising sales. The pricing range is between 418,000 and 498,000 yuan. The high-end model of the flagship product "Politician" originated from the GM subsidiary in Australia has been in a short period of time less than a year and a half. It shows that the Buick brand was fundamental at that time. Unable to carry the weight of "luxury".

"Since its inception, Buick entered the Chinese market and it was late to start. And Buick's overall brand appeal direction does not point to high-end luxury." Zhang Shijie, senior domestic planning expert and Assistant Secretary-General of the All-China Federation of Automobile Dealership Chamber of Commerce, believes whether a brand is a luxury brand Depending on the brand's accumulation and shaping of the brand in a certain market, although Buick had a tendency to develop into a luxury official car market in China, the market positioning has not been clear enough and the brand accumulation is not long-lasting.

Five years later, Shanghai GM has been profoundly rethought and meticulously nurtured. Is it time for Buick to launch a sprint on luxury brands?

In Buick's existing product structure, sales of Excelle and Yinglang, which are positioned as mid-size vehicles, together accounted for 55% of Buick in 2010, and other shares were positioned in the mid-to-high-end markets, namely New Regal and Xinjun Yue (hereinafter referred to as “Double”). , Imported luxury SUV Encore and luxury car boulevards and luxury commercial vehicles as the selling point of the MPV model GL8 share. Among them, the sales proportion of Shuangjun accounted for 33%, basically the same as in 2009, but the year-on-year increase of the two vehicles reached 16%. Sales of GL8 increased by 23% compared to the same period in 2010, accounting for 10% of Buick's total sales. Regrettably, the market performance of Oncair and Boulevard, which best reflects Buick's luxury lineage, has not been able to achieve a breakthrough. The monthly sales volume of Boulevard Boulevard since May last year has basically dropped to one hundred or two hundred yen. The original car is Shanghai GM hopes to continue to force the luxury car market after Buick Rong Yu.

It can be seen that in the minds of Chinese consumers who are full of bulging and easily impulsive consumption, Buick still lacks the luxury factors that it is difficult to convince them to buy an unknown model at a price close to a BMW 5 Series (at least in most cases. Most of the consumers are unfamiliar with the two vehicles: Angkorley and Boulevard. According to our survey of dozens of hardcore people from all walks of life, almost all potential customers who are able to buy Buick brand cars think that Buick Just a mid-range brand, and the vast majority believe that Buick is "unlikely" to become a luxury brand. Therefore, if you really want to advance to the luxury car camp, the current Buick has not yet reached the heat.

But this does not mean that Buick lost the opportunity to upgrade the brand. Just as a person from a domestic automaker’s marketing department spoke with us about this topic: “Buick is for Audi, like Volvo is for BMW. There is considerable strength but there is also a gap, but what is impossible in the Chinese market? Skoda can be successful.” The source pointed out that Buick's biggest advantage is branding, and the biggest disadvantage is that it is not a global brand.

Based on the current market performance and development potential, the “Double” combination may be a powerful weapon that can push Buick slowly up to the luxury brand sequence, but the brand heritage accumulated on these two vehicles is not sufficient, as most people have. Concerned that "Shuangjun" at this stage and magotan, Passat and winning competition products such as strangling together, it is difficult to match it with luxury cars. Although the new LaCrosse has achieved the C-Class standard in terms of appearance, wheelbase, space, and interior and configuration, it only fits the consumption needs of high-end consumers (Chinese entrepreneurs).

“Buick began product upgrading from 2008. From the perspective of sales in the first quarter of this year, the Buick brand's high-end strategy has achieved initial success.” Earlier this year, Shanghai General Motors Buick Marketing Minister Shi Hong accepted the media. During the interview, he said, “We are planning the next generation of products (including LaCrosse and Regal), and the high-end products will become even more obvious.” Based on the experience of the failure of Rong Yu, Shanghai GM is surely already basic to “Chinese” (according to China Buick, the market and the needs of Chinese users, has developed a more robust strategy for the transformation of luxury brands.

Of course, this requires a long way to go, and in the process of moving away, Shanghai GM must further rationalize Buick’s product arrays. Will Excelle’s branding from Korea’s Daewoo Platform conspire against Buick’s brand promotion? This is a question that Shanghai GM was most afraid of being mentioned by the outside world a few years ago, but it is still a problem that it has to face in the future.

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