China makes cheap cars, but the Chinese have expensive tastes

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The marketplace is so huge, and the ordinary Chinese are becoming more affluent, that the Chinese manufacturers no longer have to worry about the world’s taste in cars, they can’t make enough home-grown ones to satisfy their own market.

However, at the top end of the Chinese market there is a growing demand as well.  The rich Chinese are growing in number every day, and the nouveau riche display their wealth by buying expensive motor cars.  Top end Mercedes, Porsche, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and Bentley are the cars they wish to buy.

Bentley saw a 67 percent increase in sales to China in 2011 over 2010, doubling the size of increases in most of its other markets.  Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin are now building more cars for China than any other country.

The Chinese also do not wish to wait to display their new wealth.  They want to buy the car sitting in the showroom, and have it now.

Bentley chief executive Wolfgang Durheimer said, “The Chinese customer at present is not ready to wait for three months until you have built the car, he wants the car and if you don’t sell it to him, he goes next door and buys something else.

“For this reason, at present we are preparing to have cars shipped to dealers with a pre-specification that we think will meet customer demands.  We need to prepare some cars to have in the showroom ready to sell to the customer the next day.”

In China today, you don’t sell luxury cars.  People come into the showroom to buy them.