No doubt about it, China is HOT. Cars are being designed with the emerging market in mind. But are they being marketed there effectively? The new Mercedes S class was recently unveiled in Germany and Automotivenews.com wonders why. The past 2 years only around 15% of S classes were sold in Europe while a full 49% were sold in China. Why then, was the S class unveiled in Germany? Traditionally, cars are debuted in their target markets. Perhaps the stigma of “precision German quality,” is enhanced if the car is seen as more wholly German.
Regardless of where it was first shown, China was obviously a consideration in the design of the vehicle. The car not only comes in a stretch wheelbase version because a majority of Chinese consumers of the vehicle are chauffeured and rear seat comfort is of upmost importance. One begins to wonder though, what the impact becomes on other markets. What will happen to US S class sales? As Jay Mays observed, taste is relatively common across the globe today. Budgets however, are not. Maybe not all European and US customers will be as interested in paying for a full (stretched wheelbase) version of the car? Decisions like this must be considered in the new global market. Attempting to please your largest market? Be careful, or risk alienating another market.