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Luxury Cars June 2014


Infiniti ride the wave of TV sponsorship

The Chinese luxury market is always full of opportunities even if the media would have us believe otherwise. Even in the high-end car market where three major German car brands have held sector domination for many years, a new entrant can still attain a good share of the market through effective marketing activities.

Since entering China in 2007, the high-end brand of Nissan, Infiniti has been underperforming and fallen far behind its Japanese competitor Lexus. However, a foresighted advertisement and sponsorship investment helped the brand quickly re-established its reputation and open up the market.

‘Where Are We Going, Dad?’ is a Chinese reality TV show broadcast on Hunan Television. Based on the original South Korean reality show ‘Dad! Where Are We Going?’ the first season debuted on 11 October 2013 featuring five fathers and their children as they travelled to rural places in the country. The series has become a massive ratings hit, attracting 75 million viewers per episode to the station each week. Since sponsoring the first season of the show, the brand awareness of Infiniti has grown quickly by more than 20%.

In the show, the 5 celebrities and their children travel to rural places in China such as the desert, mountains, snowfields etc. which puts the good performance of the Infiniti SUV as a suitable transportation tool in the face of the viewers.

The increased brand awareness has led to strong sales growth. In 2013, Infiniti sold 17,108 models in China, an increase of 54% compared to 2012. Earlier this year, Infiniti set annual sales targets of 30,000 for all its models, a target that has increased at more than 54%. However the actual sales are far beyond their original expectations and statistics show that in the first five months of this year, total sales of vehicles were 11,500, an increase of 147%.
Dai Lei, General Manager of Infiniti China is quoted as saying that ‘Infiniti hopes to achieve a strategic objective of annual sales of more than 100,000 units per year within five years. And the brand will shape an exclusive character through a series of marketing activities to enhance brand awareness.’

According to the strategic plan, Infiniti will commence localised production of the Q50 long wheelbase and QX50 long wheelbase units by the end of this year, and the number of Infiniti dealers will expand from 60 to 80.

It is also worth mentioning that when Land Rover fully addressed the China market, it was also involved in a TV series which called ‘Woju’ successfully building a luxury brand image in the eyes of Chinese consumers. Now people who drive Land Rover are considered to be successful with high status and wealth.


Mercedes will reduce maintenance costs from July

For some time, among the three German high-end car brands the maintenance costs of Mercedes-Benz have been relatively high compared to those of its rivals BMW and Audi. It is claimed in China that someone calculated that the cost of replacing all the parts of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class car is sky-high and enough to buy 12 new vehicles.

Chinese consumers are getting smarter and future competition will not only be based on the product itself, but also the cost of the maintenance and service. Perhaps aware of this, Mercedes announced that from 1st July, the brand will reduce maintenance costs of all its models; the expectation is that they will decrease by more than 20%.

As an example the GLK300, the current Base A maintenance costs is about 2,300 RMB and Base B maintenance 4,300 RMB. While in the new price list, the Based A maintenance decreased by 42% to 1,338 RMB and the Base B by 57% to 1,838 RMB.

Duan Jianjun, Executive Vice President of Marketing of Mercedes-Benz Beijing is quoted as saying ‘let’s pick a number, if a car will travel 60,000 km before being resold, the regular maintenance cost of the car will decrease by 20%. We will share more specific and comprehensive information to the public on 10th July’

Good after-sales services will also attract consumers to make repeat purchases and remain with the brand. It is of course, an easy and effective marketing approach commonly used by many luxury brands. Back in 2008, BMW took the lead and set a unified cost of 12 common maintenance services nationwide. And not long ago, Volvo also adjusted its maintenance charges in a low-key manner hoping to attract more entry-level consumers.


A Ferrari Tailor-Made Centre

To provide unique consumer experiences and further develop the market in China, Ferrari launched its exclusive tailor made service on 23th June 2014. The brand opened its first Tailor-Made Centre of the Asia Pacific in Shanghai aimed at HNWIs who want personalised services.

Now Chinese customers can choose their favorite material, color and surface decoration from three different series with the assistance and advice of professional designers to create a truly unique Ferrari meeting their personal needs. Ferrari have also said they will welcome consumers to propose new and innovative programs and materials to use on their own car and then the design center with check the technical feasibility and availability.

Store openings and brand activities

13th May: a new Ferrari and Maserati 4S store opened in Wuxi, Jiangsu the first in the city.

18th June: the first Maserati store (3S) of Changzhou opened in Wujin Motown.

19th April: Aston Martin closed its Jinbao street store in Beijing and reopened the store in the Regent International Hotel on the same street.

May: Aston Martin Chongqing ran several marketing activities to enable fans to win t-shirts and tickets to the 2014 Le Mans Race in Shanghai. Apart from Le Mans Race, the store will also take its fans to Good wood Festival in the UK.

8th May, the second Porsche dealership in Hainan province celebrated its opening in.

19th May, Porsche entered Ningxia province by opening a 4S store in Yinchuan, the capital city of the province.

30th May, Shannxi Province had its second Porsche store opened in Xi’an.

The first Porsche store of Jiaxing, a prefecture-level city of Zhejiang province opened on 10th June.


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