J.D. Power: Chinese Avoid Chinese Car Brands (But Love GM)

July 14, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned a survey that showed Americans' growing dissatisfaction with domestic brands. On the other side of the Pacific, there's a similar story to tell in China's burgeoning, booming auto market.

According to a recent study from J.D. Power, Chinese shoppers are wary of the country's domestic brands, citing concerns about vehicle quality. (We've heard comparable complaints from Americans about Detroit cars over the years, so maybe both countries share a fear of the homegrown.) All told, only about 20% of those surveyed said that they'd be willing to consider a Chinese marque for their next car.  

Curiously, Japanese brands didn't score much better. While Americans typically give brands like Honda high marks for quality and reliability, Chinese customers are likely to avoid them. Whether that's because of Toyota's recent spate of recalls or because of the two countries' less-than-warm relations over the years, we can't say, but today, only about 27% of Chinese shoppers are open to Japanese vehicles.

J.D. Power apparently didn't ask about American brands as a whole -- or if it did, it didn't release that data to the public -- but Chinese customers do rank American and European models at the top of the various auto segments, with one or two exceptions:

  • Compact: BYD F0 and Chery QQ3
  • Premium compact: Chevrolet Sail
  • Entry midsize: Volkswagen Polo
  • Midsize: Chevrolet Cruze
  • Lower premium midsize: BYD F6
  • Upper premium midsize: Honda Accord
  • Luxury: Audi A4L
  • SUV: Volkswagen Tiguan
  • MPV: Buick GL8

Over the course of the survey, J.D. Power also unearthed some interesting discrepancies among shoppers, depending on where they live. In larger cities, the dealership experience, the model's social status, and its eco-friendly features rank as the most important purchasing criteria. Elsewhere, low price and convenient location of the dealership are key considerations. Comfort, handling, and exterior styling are common concerns, no matter where Chinese consumers live.

In all, nearly 5,000 Chinese residents were interviewed for the study, all of whom intended to purchase a new vehicle within the next 12 months. The survey included 53 cities and 65 brands, and it found that perceptions and preferences changed substantially between regions. If you'd like to read through the summary, check out the press release from J.D. Power here.

[JDPower via AutoNews]

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