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  • In America, Buick is widely considered an old

  • fashioned car brand perhaps best known for being

  • the favorite of American grandparents. But in

  • China, Buick is a kind of automotive rock star

  • General Motors's near luxury brand was barely

  • saved from the chopping block during the

  • financial crisis in part because of Buick's

  • strong performance in China. However, despite

  • efforts to turn the brand around, Buick has not

  • yet managed to distinguish itself in the United

  • States. U.S. sales of the brand fell considerably

  • further in 2018 than did any other GM mark even

  • though Buick had realigned its portfolio toward

  • SUV and crossovers and made bold and critically

  • praised bets on sleek cars and wagons borrowed

  • from GM's former European portfolio. But in China,

  • which has the world's largest auto market, Buick

  • is considered an elite, almost exclusive brand.

  • In 2018, just over 80 percent of Buicks global

  • sales were in China. GM sells more Buicks in

  • China than on its home turf in the U.S. like

  • almost five times as many. It also outperforms

  • all other U.S. manufacturers that sell there. In

  • America, Buick sold just under 207,000

  • Buicks in 2018. A 5% decline over

  • the previous year. But in China, the brand sold

  • over one million vehicles for the third year in a row.

  • That is almost one third of the 3.64 million total vehicles GM sold that year!

  • It is roughly twice the number of

  • Chevrolets and four times the number of

  • Cadillacs. Only GM's China exclusive Wuling brand

  • topped Buick and only by a few thousand units.

  • Buick also sells Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz in

  • China. So why did a brand that struggles at home

  • become such a hit over there? The reasons for

  • this unusual status are varied and go back a long

  • way. Buick has been in China since the early 20th

  • century. It was a car of choice for many famous

  • Chinese political figures including Sun Yat Sen,

  • commonly regarded as one of the founding fathers

  • of modern China. And Zhou Enlai, the first

  • premier of the People's Republic of China.

  • China's first impression of beauty comes from the

  • 1950s Buick. And this is when all the important

  • representatives of state and government officials

  • in China were riding around in Buicks. Go back

  • and look at 1950 Buick and you think about

  • them driving around the streets of China. It

  • would've left quite an impression on everyone who saw one.

  • One key moment came in the 1990s when

  • China's auto market was still very much in its

  • infancy. Buick was already GM's most famous brand

  • in China and it partnered with a local

  • manufacturer to make brand new vehicles that

  • stood very much apart from the competition.

  • Bearing the name that already had such a

  • prestigious reputation in the country, the

  • Chinese never forgot that. The brand's

  • prestigious reputation particularly among the

  • country's decision makers gave it a considerable

  • head start. But it didn't rest on its reputation.

  • Some credit is also due to GM's partner in the

  • region. Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation

  • which is about the best regional partner GM could

  • hope to have in the country. SAIC has over the

  • years pushed GM to keep the quality of its cars

  • high and the product fresh. A very important step

  • in a country where consumers are spoiled for

  • choice. The result is that the fit and finish in

  • Chinese Buicks is the best the brand offers in

  • the world. As of 2018 Buick had sold 10 million

  • units in China since it had first launched in 1998.

  • So they have a big partner that's what got them

  • established and that will be one of the key

  • factors for them to continue to thrive in China.

  • It's going to depend on maintaining that

  • relationship and continuing to foster that relationship.

  • A lot of success depends on a good domestic partner.

  • Over the years, Buick has also been careful to

  • cater to these somewhat unique tastes of the

  • Chinese buyer. For example in China one of the

  • major coaches of choice for high powered executives is, believe it or not:

  • the minivan.

  • Spacious and luxurious, minivans have almost a

  • limousine-like status in China. So Buick answered

  • that call and made upscale minivans that are

  • considered some of Buicks marquee products in the

  • country. The vans have interiors considerably

  • upgraded from the average family mover found in

  • the United States and enough space to seat a

  • Chinese executive's sometimes large entourage.

  • The brand has also worked hard to appeal to the

  • country's younger consumers. The average Chinese

  • Buick buyer is younger than 35. About half the

  • age of the average buyer in the U.S. Even Buick's

  • Chinese advertisements are distinct. Bearing high

  • tech and futuristic depictions of young urban and often wealthy people.

  • On the other hand, Buick has struggled in the U.S.

  • for a variety of reasons. A decline in quality

  • over the decades is partly to blame, say many

  • industry analysts. Buick also fell victim to

  • wider practices at GM such as the habit the

  • automaker had of slapping different brand names

  • in a single vehicle. The characteristics that

  • made Buick distinct from fellow GM brands, not to

  • mention other competitors, faded away and the

  • brand lost its identity, becoming mostly a

  • vehicle for customers who remembered what it had

  • been in its heyday. Now Buick is trying to take

  • some of the lessons it has learned in China and

  • bring them back home as it tries to forge a

  • renaissance in America. For example, GM began

  • manufacturing the Buick Envision in China and

  • importing it to the United States. Something

  • President Trump seems to have overlooked when he

  • was on the campaign trail slamming U.S.

  • automakers for building cars abroad.

  • "So these are the biggest in the world and we're

  • going to be talking to them and we want them to

  • build more cars in the United States and also

  • build them here and ship them overseas."

  • GM even sought an exception to U.S. tariffs on

  • imported cars for the Envision. It will not be

  • easy for Buick to shake its frumpy image and get

  • back on buyers' consideration lists. Buick has

  • for several years now scored highly on industry

  • analysis firm J.D. Powers metrics for quality and

  • has also earned competitive scores on service.

  • But Buick knows it has to fight to change buyer

  • perceptions in the U.S. One recent ad campaign

  • featured actors pointing to the brands cars and

  • asking incredulously: "Is that a Buick?", as

  • though they were surprised something so stylish

  • could bear that nameplate. But industry analysts,

  • such as Cox automotive Karl Brauer, think the

  • brand can still make a go of it in the U.S. if it

  • can succeed in China. That prompts the question

  • of how long Buick's success in China can last? As

  • Brauer is quick to note: "a company's reputation

  • in China can change in an instant," often for

  • reasons that have little to do with the brand itself.

  • Japanese and Korean automakers have found

  • this in the past. Buick is the eighth largest

  • brand in China in terms of market share,

  • competing with other foreign heavyweights such as

  • Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan as well as

  • several Chinese name brands. So far, things have

  • been far better for GM in China than they have

  • been for Detroit's other big automakers. Fiat,

  • Chrysler, and Ford. But it doesn't look like the

  • good times can go on forever.

In America, Buick is widely considered an old

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B1 中級

中国がビュイックを愛する理由 (Why China Loves Buick)

  • 51 5
    Wenyn に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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