In a statement earlier today, BMW CFO Friedrich Eichiner commented on the economic situation in China and the decline in sales compared to the last few years. “For some time now, we have been drawing attention to the normalization of the Chinese automobile market,” Eichiner said. “In the medium and long term, however, we remain utterly convinced of its potential for growth, given the comparatively low rate of vehicle ownership, the country’s well-developed infrastructure and the strong affinity of the fast-growing middle class for brands,” concluded Eichiner.
Another lesson learned in China relates to the marketing campaigns launched to attract younger buyers. In the early days, BMWs were promoted in China as a mark of success.
In a separate statement, BMW says it will increase spending on online marketing in China and emphasize its technology as part of efforts to target younger buyers, who care more about the latest features than the emblem as a status symbol.
The first step is the promotion of driver assisting features, such as self-parking and in-car Internet connection which will be offered for free for 10 years.
A two year study revealed that younger buyers value innovation and sustainability over the badge found on their cars. Special China-only BMWs were launched over the years in an effort to attract businessmen and bureaucrats who liked being chauffeured.
“The Chinese market is at a crossroad for fundamental changes,” said Karsten Engel, BMW China’s chief executive officer, told reporters in Shanghai. “As the Chinese market is getting more mature and normalized, the post-80s’ and 90s’ are emerging as the main consumers of premium brands, the innovative strength of our products will be certainly more appealing to the Chinese consumers.”BMW is targeting to improve sales in the second half with the introduction of the new 7-series sedan and hybrid X5 sport utility vehicle.[Source: Bloomberg]