In recent times, the news of "Leung Ka Fai endorsing the Changan Mazda CX-50" has been spreading all over the internet. The "traffic jam" stunt was also given a new interpretation at the Changan Mazda 2023 Fan Festival on June 25: "Drive the CX-50 Xingya, like a race car, without traffic jam."
This is the end of a long-standing "feud" between the two parties. But this is not the beginning. For Mazda, it was a successful branding event that brought the buzz straight to the top. It has also raised expectations for Mazda.
As a Japanese brand with a distinctive personality and almost 20 years of experience in the Chinese market, Mazda has already accumulated 3 million loyal customers. What surprises will it bring to Chinese consumers next, against the backdrop of both consumer upgrading and the rapid penetration of new energy vehicles?
Just a few days before the official announcement of the CX-50 endorsement by Mr. Tony Leung Ka Fai, Auto House had an in-depth conversation with Wu Xu Xi, Executive Vice President of Changan Mazda Automobile Sales Branch. He said, "Mazda must have its own unique market segment that exists in China."
He admitted that the market has indeed been under more pressure in the last two years. But he also believes that the Chinese market is big enough to give Mazda plenty of room. As long as the products can really meet consumer needs and consumption scenarios, Mazda will have its own space to survive or grow.
How to break through in the stock era?
As we all know, the Chinese car market has entered the era of stock. In the era of stock, high growth in sales is no longer possible, and brands want to make a breakthrough, they can only grab the cake from others. In order to successfully grab the cake from others, the first thing to do is to improve the competitiveness of their own products and attract users to buy them.
But how to improve the competitiveness of their products? The first step is, of course, to cater to market demand. In the era of inventory, the demand for additional and replacement cars has increased, and users are no longer as ignorant about cars as they were when they first bought them. Users have learned to compare quality, driving control, cost effectiveness and other indicators. This is a great test of car companies' insight into the consumer market.
At the same time, the rapid penetration of electrification and intelligence is also changing people's perception of the car, and traditional fuel cars are facing considerable pressure. In addition, the "price war" since this year, whether in terms of the scope of the impact, or price cuts are very unprecedented. The reductions of tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars at every turn have left people staring in disbelief. It is really a volume that cannot be re-rolled.
From Mazda itself, the lack of new products for a long time has to a certain extent also affected consumers' perception of Mazda. Faced with such a complex situation, how should Changan Mazda break the ice? What means will be used to combat the fierce competition in the market and return to the mainstream?
Starting this year, Changan Mazda entered the third round of product launches, with the first product being the recently launched CX-50 line too. Broadly speaking, Changan Mazda's future new products will focus on two main areas. On the one hand, it will be a shift from product configuration and parameter stacking to a focus on user experience. The other is how to transition from fuel to electrification and intelligence. These can be clearly felt on the CX50 line as well.
Of course, Mazda's original product technology features are still able to meet the needs of some consumers for car handling. "Technically speaking, Mazda is a rather stubborn brand, but precisely because of its stubbornness, it has also attracted some users who have always loved Mazda." Wu Xu Xi said this.
According to him, the CX-50 line also pre-sales orders, Mazda old users replacement ratio of nearly half. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, after all, after the launch of a new product, the first to understand it is the brand's original customers. But for Mazda at the moment, this is not enough, only the addition of a large number of new customers will allow it to make a breakthrough.
In this regard, Changan Mazda is also speeding up the pace of new car shipments, trying to let more interested customers experience the CX50 line as soon as possible. Wu Xuxi also believes that, in addition to the existing users, through test drives and experiences, more new customers will join the Mazda camp.
How capable is the CX-50 Xingya?
As the first major strategic model in Changan Mazda's transformation process, Mazda has put a lot of thought into the CX-50 line too. From product definition and design to pricing strategy and equity, there are some breakthroughs and evolutions compared to the previous ones.
First of all, the CX-50 line is, in official parlance, a mountain lifestyle wide-body SUV, and Mazda has always gone for more streamlined, light and curved elements in its styling. But in the CX-50 line also, you can see an image of Mazda that leans towards the outdoors and toughness.
"This car was positioned early in its development as a product aimed at outdoor light off-road. The whole design style is somewhat differentiated from the original", Wu Xu Xi describes.
And the reason for cutting into this segment was because Mazda felt that the three years affected by the epidemic had suppressed many consumers' aspirations for an outdoor life. "With the epidemic gradually moving away, we also wanted to be able to offer consumers a product that would meet their needs for outdoor living now." Wu Xu Xi said.
To meet the needs of Chinese consumers, the CX-50 has also been given a 'wide-body' label. The interior is spacious enough to meet the needs of families. In this regard, the CX50 line has also made some Chinese adaptation changes. For example, the rear space has been lengthened by 55 cm compared to the North American version, and the second row aisle bulge has been lowered compared to the North American version.
The most unexpected thing is the pricing of the CX-50 line, with 6 models of 2.0L and 2.5L power and a price range of 15.98-20.68 million yuan. 2.0 entry level is priced at 150,000 yuan, about 15,000 yuan lower than the competing RAV4, while the 2.5 entry level is priced at 170,000 yuan, giving a slightly more aggressive feel.
In this regard, Wu Xuxi also explained the reasons for this. Firstly, the CX-50 line is also the first product after the integration of Yima and Changma, and Mazda hopes to open up the situation through this car. Secondly, the CX-50 line is also the first product of Changan Mazda's transformation. The first hybrid model will come from the CX-50 line as well, and will be the first to be launched in the Chinese market in the second half of the year.
It is understood that starting next year, Changan Mazda will have one to two electrified models launched into the Chinese market each year, with the R-EV being launched simultaneously in addition to the pure electric. "Under this premise, since the CX-50 is the first model to undertake the next three million units, we are very aggressive on top of pricing." Wu Xu Xi explained, "We want to enable more consumers to really get to know Mazda, so the whole pricing strategy is set very low."
In addition to the price, the CX-50 line also opened the first Japanese joint venture inside the first owner free lifetime warranty, can be said to be sincere pull full.
How to play in the post-JV era?
But the polishing of the product is only the tip of the iceberg of Changan Mazda's changes, the change in its operating model behind the scenes is the main event. The original JV was more of a simple product import type, where some products from the foreign side were imported into the Chinese market and at best some adaptations were made.
The performance of JV companies in the new energy vehicle market is already very telling. It is difficult for overseas-developed models to respond to the needs of domestic consumers in a timely and accurate manner. So compared to domestically developed models, there is an inherent shortcoming.
In addition to changes in the operating model, Changan Mazda has also become more in-depth and frequent in its communication with customers. For example, the CX-50 line is named after the Chinese consumer. Next, Changan Mazda will also launch an in-depth test drive experience for customers. According to Mazda's plans, this event will not only allow users to experience the product in depth, but will also bring about a relevant lifestyle, incorporating some industrial culture, such as coffee and wine, as well as some lifestyles that are of great interest to users.
To this end, Changan Mazda has also created a new Mazda brand business based on customer scenarios - MAZDA MOMENT, a youthful experiential space exclusively for Mazda users. According to Wu Xu Xi, MAZDA MOMENT will be officially opened in the near future. Here, Mazda gives not only a car, but a way to relate to the car.
"We have always wanted to be able to interact with each other and the users who choose the Mazda brand to have a deeper integration with the brand as a whole." Wu Xuxi said, "We hope Changan Mazda is just a carrier of lifestyle, befriending a group of people through a car and everyone enjoying a lifestyle together."
In addition, for many consumers who now have an original hobby of car handling, Mazda will also do some related track and tuning activities to meet the diversified needs of customers.
It can be seen that in the face of the complex market environment, Changan Mazda has made a lot of preparations and is no longer limited in its playing style. Although the industry's involution is still ongoing and competition is intensifying. But for the time being, Changan Mazda leaves a lot of room for the imagination of its customers.