Market analysis on Smart cars in China
Smart, cooperation of Mercedes and Swatch, has been entered the market since 1998 in European countries. The innovative concept of the mini-sized vehicle quickly captured the market of young and fashionable people. It has a huge influence in China. Our focus today is a market analysis on Smart cars in China.
China market saved Smart cars sales
According to the market research published by Daimler, annual sales of Mercedes-Benz increased by 13,6% in 2010, while sales of Smart dropped by 15,4%, to only 7900 vehicles sold. However, Chinese market seems to be the only one stimulant. Indeed, sales of Smart cars doubled in China in 2012. Today, the 67 retailers of Smart cars in China are only located in big and coastal cities; He Sifan (何思凡), the brand director said that it remains an enormous potential in the long term.
Smart cars set up a product differentiation strategy for Chinese market.
Since the government enacted the policy, which subsidizes cars with small displacement, Smart seized the opportunity to perform what we call a “product differentiation strategy”.
Smart differentiated itself from other brands by communicate about its car low oil cost, its green concern, and its environmental friendliness. Also, facing the more and more crowded metropolitans, difficulty of finding a parking spot is also taken into consideration when purchasing a car for Chinese consumers. Thus, with only half the size of other cars, Smart has an unbeatable advantage. What’s more, targeting towards young people aging around 27 years old in China, Smart cars associated its image to Kobe Bryant, the famous NBA star, for the Chinese market. It launched special Smart named Kobe Edition with only 500 vehicles available.
Outlook of Smart in Chinese market
Apart from keeping its own culture, Smart is dedicated to seek local retailers, especially the ones in inner cities in China. By understanding the consuming habits of Chinese people, Smart cooperated with Jingdong (京东) and Wechat (微信) during certain events such as 秒杀(one-second-purchase) in Taobao (淘宝), also with various autocar forums such as 汽车沙龙，汽车8卦阵，搜狐汽车,etc.
Jiaqi Wanfg, Daxue consulting, market analysis in China