(Yicai) Nov. 20 -- Automotive joint ventures will not disappear despite the intensifying competition with new startups in China, according to a deputy general manager of GAC Toyota Motor.
Car JVs should remain the mainstream choice in the current market despite the unprecedented challenges they are facing, Wen Dali from the JV between Japan's Toyota Motor and Guangzhou Automobile Group said at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition. The auto show opened on Nov. 17.
Regardless of the challenges, JVs are not backward, but have the maturity, stability, and tenacity of latecomers, Wen said, adding that JVs have been the main engine for China's automobile industry to get modernized for these 40 years.
But the situation is changing. Car show visitors in the southern city flock to see fresh electric models released by Li Auto, Xpeng Motors, and BYD. However, selling is not easy even for new energy vehicle makers as the market is getting more competitive.
"There are fewer differences in electric vehicles. Homogeneous EVs with the same batteries and similar motors do not have their own selling points and can only compete on marketing," Joe Xia, chief executive of NEV brand Ji Yue, formerly known as Ji Du backed by Geely and Baidu, said during a public forum.
Next year, sales of NEVs and exports will continue to grow quickly but slower than before and the focus will be shifting to profitability and sustainable business models, Wang Xia, president of the automotive branch of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said at an industry forum.
GAC has made every effort to become international as China's car exports are growing fast, per Feng Xingya, general manager and president of the automaker.
Intelligent driving and smart cockpits will definitely be the main areas of competition in the auto market next year, and they will also be the focus of consumers, Fan Junyi, general manager of Geely Automobile, told Yicai.
Geely aims to make cost-effective smart vehicles and will launch good products next year, Fan added. The Hangzhou-based firm is building a smart ecosystem of satellites, high-precision maps, and mobile phone applications.
Homegrown brands and electric cars are leading the pack. In the first half, domestic auto brands' market share was 53.1 percent, higher than the combination of foreign and JV brands, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
From January to June, NEVs made up nearly 59 percent of domestic brands' sales but the corresponding number for mainstream JV brands was just 3.7 percent. In the first 10 months of this year, China exported 3.9 million vehicles, up 60 percent from a year ago.
Editor: Emmi Laine