claropartners | Winning Over Chinese Auto Consumers
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Winning Over Chinese Auto-consumers

Winning Over Chinese Auto-consumers


How can you adapt an iconic western automotive brand to fit Chinese consumers’ values, needs and behaviours?

We investigated user experiences and attitudes related to mobility in China, by conducting fieldwork in Shanghai and Beijing. In a follow-up study we validated and enriched these insights through fieldwork in Tier 2 cities (Changsha, Chongqing and Hangzhou).


We reshaped and localised our client’s brand values for a better positioning in the Chinese market. We provided tangible recommendations on how to optimise communication, portfolio and products, in order to be more appealing and relevant for the Chinese customer and more distinctive within the competitive field.


Our client was struggling with developing and optimising their strategy for the Chinese market. The CEO wanted to gain more understanding of the Chinese customer and their context, to decide on localisation and repositioning of the brand or reinforcing the global brand.


When focusing on a market like China it is crucial to respect the regional differences, since they highly impact consumer’s context and related needs and behaviours. That is why our client needed to gain insights in similarities and differences between the Tier 1 and 2/3 cities, to identify opportunities.


Conducted in-context research with car users and non-users in tier-1 cities about their perceptions of local and foreign brands, vehicle types, features and their own needs and behaviours.


Conducted Focus groups in tier-one, tier -two and tier-three cities that included multiple creative exercises to get to how they feel and think about this category. We then quantified our insights and hypotheses across a larger set of tier-one, tier -two and tier-three cities.


Conducted a deep exploration of the purchase journey for automobiles and other key products and services, brand perceptions and cultural shifts happening in Chinese society that would impact our client’s ability to connect effectively in the market.


Our final report included edited videos demonstrating the most salient customer insights from our recommendations. We created frameworks to understand the evolution of Chinese customers and their relationship to relevant values.


We also delivered tangible purchase journeys, including quantified key considerations per purchase budget level, and tangible recommendations on ways to optimise communications, portfolio, and products.