Nio (19th place) also offers a new idea with its battery changing concept and highly networked vehicles: there are already more than 800 changing stations in China. The infrastructure is already being built in Europe, initially in Norway. Nio plans to enter the German market at the end of the year.
The second wave – here to stay?
Unknown car brands entering the market are not new. It’s a second big wave, after the first about ten years ago. At that time, brands such as Landwind and later Borgward and Byton emerged – and disappeared again.
The failure at that time had various reasons:
- Technically, the cars were inferior.
- Appearance and safety could not convince the customers – partly rightly.
- And German motorists in particular showed a pronounced brand loyalty.
A lot has changed in all of this since then. “The new wave will be more successful because some manufacturers offer innovations and added value and are technically on a par with established brands,” says Professor Bratzel. This also includes the US manufacturer Rivian, which is not selling its cars in Europe for the time being. “It will still take some time for Togg and Vinfast to be successful in selling cars on the European market,” says Bratzel.
However, Chinese investments in European automakers have been around for a long time. Among other things, Geely has owned Volvo since 2010 and Polestar since 2015. Company owner Li Shufu also holds almost 9.7 percent of Daimler shares, and Geely owns half of the Smart brand. Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC), Daimler’s joint venture partner in China, holds 9.98 percent of the voting rights.
There is one thing that new brands do not yet have: a leap of faith
All car manufacturers are working on key areas such as range, charging capacity, connectivity and design. The advantage for customers with new brands is usually the price.
“New brands can break up conventional structures and become leaner. This means creating a shopping experience that is as digital as possible and entering into cooperation with reliable partners,” says Bratzel. Instead of a large dealer network, new brands can look for partners who offer test drives, service work, maintenance and repairs. With service vehicles that come to the car, maintenance can be carried out directly at the customer’s desired location.
But that won’t happen overnight. “New brands always first have to win the trust of customers, in the vehicles, smooth service and a large network. That takes years, if not a decade,” says Professor Bratzel.
To do this, the product quality must be right, it must stand up to comparison with the competition and the batteries must be guaranteed – around eight years or 150,000 kilometers. “New brands can only be sold badly on the basis of price,” he says.
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