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The turnaround of SAIC GM Chevrolet is an uphill battle.
Sep 21,2020 11:12CST
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The content below was translated by Tencent automatically for reference.

SMM News: for SAIC GM, the impact of the epidemic at the beginning of the year superimposed the downward trend of the automobile market to make it feel more pressure. As a result, large-scale new models and a wide variety of promotion policies have become its killer mace in the car market during the downturn. As for the Chevrolet brand, the trailblazer, Changxun and the new Marebo XL, listed this year can be regarded as its three trump cards on the market, so what are the responsibilities and results of these three trump cards?

The first trump card: the Trail Blazers add to the large and medium-sized SUV market

In order to further strengthen the SUV market, Chevrolet launched its first medium-and large-scale SUV Trailblazer in April, which is also Chevrolet's flagship SUV in China. For the birth of this car, SAIC GM Chevrolet Marketing Director Ji Qiwei told the truth, saying that although Chevrolet users have a high brand loyalty and a strong intention to buy upward within the same brand, Chevrolet has been lacking a larger SUV, trailblazer in China to solve this problem, and at the same time echoes the original intention of the brand to advance.

As a blockbuster model launched by Chevrolet this year, the Trail Blazers deliberately avoided the overlap with their brother Buick Anke at the beginning of the product launch, and tended to emphasize the concept of youth and sports in their positioning, such as the development of the Redline (Shang Hong) and RS series models.

Unfortunately, from April to August, the Trail Blazers sold only 3615 vehicles, an average of less than 1,000 a month. In August, the Trail Blazers launched a five-seater version to boost sales and enrich the layout of models, but so far, the richness of models has done little to boost sales.

According to the Global Automotive Research Institute, SAIC GM tends to emphasize high-end luxury after deliberately distinguishing Buick from Chevrolet in the past two years, such as Buick's more luxurious Avenir sub-brand, while Chevrolet launched the RS and Redline series in 2016 and 2017 respectively, with more emphasis on sports, fashion and technology. However, for the Trail Blazers, the big seven-seat SUV, too much emphasis on youth and sports gives people a "minority" feeling, which is one of the reasons why its post-IPO market performance is not as good as the high-end, atmospheric Anke flag.

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In terms of product power, the trailblazers are more competitive in both space and configuration. For example, the whole system is equipped with 2.0T in-line four-cylinder engine and 9AT gearbox, the body length is nearly 5 meters, the wheelbase is 2863mm, the space performance is more than sufficient for home users, coupled with a wide variety of safety and intelligent configurations, the comprehensive product power is more outstanding. However, it is generally believed in the industry that it will take half a year for production capacity and sales to enter a stable period after a brand new model is launched. The Trail Blazers' current market performance cannot be the final conclusion, let's look at its sales performance in the next few months.

The second trump card: Chang Tour Water Pure Electric car Market

Chevrolet is the second trump card SAIC GM Chevrolet put on the market this year. The model first went on sale in Beijing in February with a subsidised price of 15.99-179900 yuan. The new car is positioned as a pure electric intercity sedan and is also the first pure electric car under SAIC GM Chevrolet.

From the market performance since listing, Changxun's sales are not ideal, only in March, monthly sales exceeded 200, with a cumulative sales of 818. Industry analysts believe that due to the dual impact of the epidemic and the decline of subsidies this year, the overall performance of the new energy vehicle market is not as good as that of previous years. In the field of pure electric A-class cars, although more and more joint venture brand players are stationed, there are few people who really walk. Such as Xuanyi pure electricity, Festa pure electricity and other sales this year also continue to decline. From this point of view, the smooth patrol sales that entered the market this year are not the only one.

For SAIC GM Chevrolet brand, the addition of Chevrolet is more of a gesture to actively enter the field of new energy. In the past two years, GM's attitude and determination to increase electrification has become increasingly clear. At the recent GM Technology Day, it once again stressed that new energy vehicles will account for more than 40% of the new models launched in China in the next five years. Wang Yongqing, general manager of SAIC GM, also mentioned that SAIC GM will introduce GM's third-generation electric vehicle platform and launch more than nine new energy models in the next five years.

Genesis learned from GM's pan-Asian technology center that the pan-Asian team is currently involved in the design of three important models for the global market, including two Buick models and a Chevrolet model, which will be based on GM's third-generation global electric vehicle platform and use the new Ultium battery system.

Therefore, we can predict that the main task of Chevrolet patrol at this stage is to test the water of the domestic pure electric vehicle market, and its real power in the field of new energy vehicles still depends on the third generation electric vehicle platform models.

The third trump card: the new Marebo XL bet on four-cylinder engine

The new Marebo XL, which went public at the end of August, can be seen as SAIC GM Chevrolet's third trump card on the market this year. Compared with the current model, the biggest change of the new Marebo XL is that it has a 1.5T four-cylinder engine and matches the 9AT gearbox at the same time. Meanwhile, 2020 1.3T three-cylinder models are still on sale.

As one of the best-selling Chevrolet models in China, the Malibu XL has been replaced with a four-cylinder engine, which is considered by the industry to be a concession to the market for sales.

Two years ago, SAIC GM launched a large-scale three-cylinder engine on Buick and Chevrolet models in response to stringent domestic emission regulations and double points policy. In order to restrain the inherent jitter of the three-cylinder engine, as well as the education market and consumers, SAIC GM has invested a lot in technology and marketing, although there is no obvious gap between its three-cylinder engine and the four-cylinder engine in terms of use experience. however, consumers' prejudice against the three-cylinder engine has been deeply rooted and is difficult to eliminate in the short term. This year, SAIC GM replaced the four-cylinder engine on the new Yinglong, which is seen as a sign that it has given up the three-cylinder engine.

In fact, sales of the Malibu XL have also declined significantly since 2019, when the entry-level model was equipped with a 1.3T three-cylinder engine. According to the data, the annual sales of the Malibao family were 75000 in 2019, down more than 40% from the same period last year. In the first eight months of this year, it sold only 24000 units. Judging from this, SAIC GM Chevrolet is in urgent need of a new Marebo XL with a 1.5T four-cylinder engine to boost sales of the entire car line.

The above three models can be regarded as SAIC GM Chevrolet's three trump cards on the market this year. At this stage, these three trump cards will play a limited role in boosting sales, but in the long run, the Trail Blazers and the new Marebo XL are expected to bring some increment to the Chevrolet brand.

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