The Chinese car market is in constant ferment, albeit with phases alternating between euphoria and depression, and the Motor Shows that are held in the most heavily populated country in the world are increasingly strategic and international. In the present issue, Auto & Design publishes a report on the 2005 edition of the Shanghai Auto Show designed to understand the point of view of the Chinese public regarding the private car, which is still not too common a sight.

“There is no precise formula for producing statistics and market research on the preferences of the Chinese public in matters of motor cars, there are no set rules given the demographic vastness of the country, nor are there any reliable purchasing figures to be used for comparison purposes. Often we do not even know whether a car is selling or not and why. It is pointless racking your brain and using sophisticated analysis instruments that have been consolidated in decades of marketing. It is much better to pack your bags and go there fast. Because, yes, at the moment Chinese manufacturers are operating in a state of chaos. Sure they copy (like everybody else before them), and they often request outside help, but the speed at which they are learning is disconcerting and as soon as they draw the line under these early years of life, fresh with their leaving certificates and full of energy, they will set to designing cars that may not be masterpieces but will not cost much either and, who knows, they will also be able to apply ferocious price pressure beyond their borders”.

“It does not matter much, at this stage of the nascent Chinese motor car boom, whether a car wears a national badge like the Great Wall, Hafei or Changfeng rather than the Mitsubishi, the Mazda or the Citroën. What matters is that it does not seem poor and antiquated, whatever segment we are talking about, and that it makes its driver appear to be better off and more modern than he really is.”

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 153

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