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[YesAuto Auto Show Revelation] The “old drivers” who have seen the auto show must know that those luxury cars and beautiful legs are undoubtedly the most eye-catching, but today we are talking more down-to-earth, that is, most people can reach the brand , To be more specific is the design story of Chinese and Korean car companies. Why put them together? Because on the road to the upward development of Chinese brands, the first opponent encountered is the Korean.

Let’s take a look at the recent battles first

Judging from the domestic sales data of Korean cars, they really experienced a rare winter this year. From January to September, Hyundai brand dropped 37.18% year-on-year, while Kia dropped 51.66%. The battle in 2017 is coming to an end. It is estimated that their sales department will have to face the goals set at the beginning of the year. More sadly, in addition to the domestic market, Hyundai Kia's North American sales are also showing a downward trend.

It's been a long time since Koreans received such a report card. What happened to Korean cars? Objectively speaking, this has something to do with the particularity of the Chinese automobile market. Everyone can feel the pace of the upward development of Chinese brands in recent years, and the prices of joint venture brands outside of the Korean line are also constantly falling. Uncomfortable. But apart from these external factors, Koreans should also think about their own problems.

Where is their product power? Looks beautiful? High configuration? High quality? Brand cattle? In these respects, it seems that Chinese brands are not doing worse than they are now. How can you prove it? Let's look at a set of data, the following are the top three sales of Chinese brand car companies.

Nowadays, the competition in the domestic automobile market has been extremely fierce, and consumers have too many choices when buying cars. Even so, Chinese brands have maintained steady growth. In addition to the accumulation and breakthroughs of Chinese car companies in technology, there is also a very important reason: the appearance of their cars is getting higher and higher, and they can fully satisfy the majority. The aesthetic needs of Chinese people. The styling design is believed to be the first element that many people consider when buying a car. Chinese brand car companies have actually spent a lot of effort on improving the appearance.

Foreign “big cow” helps Chinese design

-Geely: From KC concept car to Lynk & Co 01

The Chinese brands at this year's Guangzhou Auto Show are still vying for beauty, and the attention of new cars is not worse than that of joint venture brands. First look at the Geely booth, the new Emgrand GL was officially unveiled. Don’t underestimate the potential of this car. Among the top 10 domestic sedans in the first half of the year, 9 are joint ventures. The only Chinese car is Geely Emgrand, and Emgrand GL has a larger body size. And the brand-new interior and exterior design, and the trend of monthly sales breaking ten thousand to catch up with the previous brothers.

The reason why Geely can win the sales champion of Chinese brands in the first half of 2017 is related to a design talent introduced a few years ago, and he is Peter Horbury . He joined Geely in 2011 and has more than 40 years of experience. He previously served for Ford and Volvo, and has achieved the position of design director and even vice president of design. It is the joining of such an industry giant that has given Geely design a turning point.

At the Guangzhou Auto Show, Geely released the Lynk & Co 01 limited edition. In fact, in addition to the exclusive rear logo, the main difference between it and the regular version is the body color. For the design of Lynk&Co 01, I believe everyone’s first impression is: individuality! That's right, what it wants is uniqueness, and for the sake of uniqueness, it excludes the popular “big mouth” grille.

Peter Hobley wants it to be unique enough, of course, the design of personality is more than this, split headlights, air conditioning vents, body color and many other details will make you feel that it is unique. I believe that on the first day of the launch of the Lynk & Co brand, he determined this unique and mature design language. Not only SUVs, cars or future crossover models, they will all inherit this DNA.

-The Great Wall: Harvard's transformation and the birth of WEY are inseparable from him

Let's talk about another mainstay of Chinese brand car companies: Great Wall. The design change of this car company also came from a foreigner, namely the former BMW M design director Pierre (Pierrre Leclerq). He was responsible for the design of BMW X5 (E70) and X6 (E71). rich experience.

The arrival of Pierre established a new design language for the Haval brand for the Great Wall. The Haval H2s, H6 and the newly released H4 models all follow this design language. Haval's design changes are not completely from scratch, but are upgraded on the basis of the time.

Harvard Design does not actually show Pierre's true strength. The WEY brand is the carrier that allows Pierre's design ideas to be fully released. Because of the higher-end brand positioning, his design costs can be relaxed, and even the factory's production standards are higher than Haval. The final result is the VV7, VV5 and the P8 that was unveiled at this auto show.

If you want to position the high-end, at least consumers will feel “advanced” when they look at it. In the design process of WEY VV7, Pierre deliberately created a longer engine compartment, a rearwardly expanded passenger compartment, and similar The roof line of the Coupe model makes the VV7 look like a high-horsepower rear-drive car. Does this body posture have anything to do with the BMW SUV models Pierre once designed?

High-horsepower rear-drive models are not only available in BMW, but the following design feature makes me even more suspicious that Pierre has brought the original aesthetic standards to the Great Wall.

Of course, we can’t just rely on these design details to say that Pierre “paints a gourd”, because every designer is the same. Having worked in a company for a long time, his aesthetic standards will inevitably be influenced, even if he moves to another company. The company's inherent design style will be more or less reflected. With the help of luxury brand designers, WEY also has more confidence.

The slogan of “Chinese luxury SUV brand” may make everyone think that WEY is too high-profile, but we have to admit that from the perspective of styling design, it is indeed very popular with everyone, and it is enough to represent the current design level of Chinese brand car companies. Similarly, Chery wants to create high-profile events, but its approach is different.

-Chery: The upward road does not necessarily require new brands

Chery’s new SUV model EXEED TX made a world premiere at the Frankfurt Auto Show thousands of miles away in the past few months, which attracted many overseas media spectators. The Guangzhou Auto Show recently debuted in China for the first time. It is positioned higher than the Tiggo series. The design almost represents the highest level of Chery.

Of course, behind the new design is the help of an expert, and he is James Hope, the design director of Chery. Today, he has been sent to Europe to establish Chery's overseas design center. This EXEED TX may be the last car he built in Chery's Shanghai Design Center. Compared with the current Tiggo car series, EXEED TX adopts a new design style, especially the front face shape is more acceptable.

After the introduction of international design experts, it was impossible to quickly launch a new generation of design language at the beginning. James Hope’s role in specific products has actually been exerted in the past one or two years. EXEED TX represents his latest and most comprehensive design concept. . For the same example, BYD recruited former Audi design director Wolfgang Egger (Wolfgang Egger) will inevitably go through this path.

-BYD: This is just the beginning, the big move is yet to come!

Inviting foreign designers is something that almost all current Chinese brand car companies will do. After all, from the perspective of design accumulation, foreign designers have more experience, but not all car companies will let foreigners be the top leaders. The design director is still appointed by the Chinese, and their model designs in recent years are also very good, especially the new car designs of SAIC and GAC are highly sought after.

The ability of design directors is actually not fully reflected in the specific products they make. What car companies need most is to plan for the brand's longer-term future. At present, most mainstream Chinese car companies seem to have found their own direction in design. All of them seem to be non-stop and have a bright future. Should we applaud and celebrate in advance for Chinese design? Perhaps everyone can't take it lightly. Korean car companies are the best example.

●A Lesson from Korean Cars and the Chinese Brand's Faux-Axe

Early Chinese brands were often dubbed “counterfeit, imitation, plagiarism”, but who didn't have such a stage? The previous Korean car design was also terrible, without any own design style. The most typical example: Kia’s former flagship sedan, Ophelia, also has traces of various imitations. Looking at the Kia K7 (Kaizun) afterwards, can you imagine that this is a product of the same century?

How did the Koreans do it? It is also to attract foreign big-name designers. Needless to say, I believe everyone knows his name- Peter Cyrel . He has served Volkswagen and Audi. When he moved to Kia, he was hailed as one of the three major European designers. South Koreans are far more open to talents than Chinese, just as Peter Cyrill can climb to the position of vice president of Hyundai-Kia Group & President of Kia Motors, and the story of a designer’s counterattack as the boss of a car company is China is almost impossible to stage.

The rise of the Hyundai Kia brand in design is not only the absorption of international talents, but also the cultivation of domestic design talents. Koreans realized this as early as 2001 and established the “Korea Institute of Design Promotion”. “That is to revitalize an institution like the Korea Design Institute. The government strongly supports the training of design talents and encourages them to go out and study. After the flowers bear fruit, even big car companies such as Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and Bentley often appear in South Korean designers, and the global sales of Korean cars have also increased by leaps and bounds.

Compared with other joint venture brands, Hyundai-Kia Group’s pace of launching new cars is not slow. At this Guangzhou Auto Show, it brought three new cars: Kia NP, Kia Stinger, Hyundai ENCINO, and even plans to use hydrogen fuel cells next year. Brought to China by car.

South Koreans have also created a number of Chinese-exclusive models to please domestic consumers, such as the current Hyundai Rena, Yenner, Elantra, ix35, etc. (Kia NP is also a “special car for China”). Even so, It is still difficult to resist the scourge of declining sales. So can three new cars save the embarrassing sales of Korean cars? The result is hard to tell.

What is the problem with Korean cars? Earlier we mentioned that it has been “up and down”. The needs of Chinese consumers are changing with each passing day. Chinese car companies continue to impact the main battlefield of Korean cars—from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. At the yuan level, and then to the 200,000 yuan level, how many reasons do consumers have to buy a Korean car?

In addition, in recent months, Korean cars have cut prices to increase sales. Kia’s KX3 and KX5’s discount rates reached 40,900 yuan and 42,000 yuan respectively; although Hyundai ix25’s discount rate reached 19,000 yuan, This year's monthly sales volume is basically only three to four thousand units (the domestic sales volume in October was 4,688 units, which was only half of the level of the previous two years). In short, price reduction is certainly not a long-term solution.

Korean cars must keep up with the trend and further enhance their product capabilities to avoid being crushed by Chinese brands. Of course, this has also sounded the alarm for Chinese brands in advance. The car must not only look beautiful, but also enhance its brand value with other added value, so as not to be overtaken by latecomers!

Faced with failing transcripts, Koreans will certainly not remain indifferent. In order to deeply grasp the needs of domestic consumers, Kia recently began to pay high-paying talents to understand the Chinese market in automotive design. The former Great Wall design director Pierre Leclerq and PSA China Design Center director Oleg Son have joined Kia successively. , The joining of the two “China Pass” tells us that the goal of the Koreans is obviously to reverse the decline of the Chinese market.

At the same time, Pierre’s job-hopping also exposed a problem for Chinese brand car companies—the ability to control design talents is not enough . Will have a big impact on the brand. In the future, the future of Haval and WEY's design will inevitably bring many people's worries and speculations. It is reported that the Great Wall is not the only design team such as Pierre, but also the design team that Nissan has jumped to.

Regardless of the level of Great Wall's new design team, if Chinese car companies can't retain talents and frequently change coaches, the design language will also change frequently, which is not a good thing for the long-term development of the company. How to attract talents and let them take root in their own positions may be something that Chinese brands must think about in the future.

to sum up:

Today, the cold current encountered by Korean cars in China, I believe that Chinese brands in the future are likely to encounter them. After the appearance is improved, how to grasp the changing tastes of consumers? How to further enhance the brand value from the design? These are issues that everyone needs to think about at all times. At present, we can feel that the Koreans have already begun to make big moves in the face of the crisis, and they have changed themselves through various measures. In general, Chinese brands are going smoothly in the upward process, but they must not be slacking off or taking it lightly. In the future, it is not certain who will take the lead in China and South Korea! Who do you like?