China is slowly becoming one of BMW’s most important markets. The Munich-based automaker anticipates continuous growth in China and it comes as no surprise that some BMW models are specifically designed for the Chinese consumers. One of BMW’s cars sold only in China is the 3 Series Li, short for long wheelbase.
With a quite unique culture, the Chinese customers also stand out with their own car values. “Young Chinese consumers have very different behaviors from Europeans and we are here to learn and to find a way to properly fulfill their expectations,” Alexis Trolin, head of the BMW Group ConnectedDrive Lab in Shanghai, told Automotive News.
8.4 percent of the population in China fits in the upper middle class, including 1.3 percent in the upper class. This translates into nearly 80 million consumers that have plenty of cash to spend.
The findings from the market study is quite interesting and they give us a different picture than the consumers behavior we see in the U.S. or Europe.
“Tele-dining” is a way to get together
Since China is a big country, and long distances between friends and family is the norm, the idea of “Tele-dinning” comes to focus. Basically Chinese consumers dine together remotely, typically by hooking up at the same restaurant chain in different cities.
Chinese prefer voicemail
While texting is a huge part of our lives in Europe and U.S., in China the most common asynchronous mode of communication is voicemail. Voicemail is viewed as less intrusive and more personable.
Chinese prefer longer cars
Longer wheelbase cars are expected here simply because Chinese car owners prefer to respectfully give their passengers more legroom. Premium automakers and not only have focused for years on these issues by providing alternatives to the “standard” models.
Chinese don’t like convertibles
Like many consumers in the Middle East, Chinese like privacy, which means that if they can afford it, they go for large roomy cars and tinted windows. Convertibles are viewed as too exposed.
BMW Assist is heavily used
Our own sources within the company say that the number of daily BMW Assist calls by Chinese drivers is exponentially higher than the ones in the United States.