Marketing ABC in China – the Buick Way

19 May
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By Gordon Chu | May 19, 2009
Everyday, I continue to read the dismal news of the US auto market. From the end of Pontiac (I miss the Fiero) to worldwide drop in auto sales, the auto industry is taking a full-size beating in this global economy. Yet, despite the onslaught of when-it-rains-it-pours bad news, there is a car-haven and a glimmer of hope for the auto industry: China.

China continues to show strong sales and the automobile industry is taking notice. With news such as GM reporting China sales hitting a monthly record in April (50% higher year-over-year in China versus a slumping 34% drop in US sales), how could any automaker ignore the vast market opportunity in China. Granted, much of the sales increase is accredited to a slash in sales tax by the Chinese government, it does not take away the sheer fact China is hungry, they have money, and they are ready to spend.

So, what does this all mean for marketing and business in China. Not everyone is an automaker and not everyone has the same marketing dollars available. But we can all acknowledge the potential and we can all learn a few lessons on just how the automakers are taking advantage of this open season to get their best foot in the door.

Let’s take a look at one of the top US automakers making a big splash in China: Buick. Buick has done an incredible job in positioning themselves to hit the right market at the right time – all the classic scenarios of Business 101 and Marketing’s 4 P’s (Product, Placement, Pricing, and Promotion). They came to China with their homework done and we can all take a few pointers from their early success.

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