Af­ter-sales car mar­ket at cross­roads

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By YU RAN in Shang­hai

yu­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A greater num­ber of Chi­nese ve­hi­cle users may switch from 4S (sales, sparepart, ser­vice, sur­vey) shops to in­de­pen­dent ser­vice providers for after­sales ser­vices as the in­dus­try is be­com­ing more cus­tomeror­i­ented, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­search by mar­ket­ing con­sul­tancy Ac­cen­ture.

The re­search, which polled 1,800 cars own­ers from fir­stand se­cond-tier cities in China, found that 71 per­cent of th­ese car own­ers still cur­rently rely on 4S shops. How­ever, 80 per­cent of them are con­sid­er­ing switch­ing to non-4S al­ter­na­tives for their af­ter-sales main­te­nance and re­pair as there is a lack of 4S ser­vice lo­ca­tions. They also cite that the costs at 4S shops are too high.

“It is time for 4S stores to ad­just and di­ver­sify their ter­mi­nal ser­vice stan­dards, have smaller-scaled shops in a larger range of places and de­velop more daily main­te­nance ser­vices such as spray paint­ing,” said Shen Jun, Ac­cen­ture Strat­egy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Greater China.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­search find­ings, 90 per­cent of the cur­rent re­pair and main­te­nance mar­ket in China is made up of 440,000 in­de­pen­dent ser­vice providers of­fer­ing dif­fer­ent qual­i­ties of ser­vices.

“The af­ter-sales mar­ket is not evenly shared with hig­h­and low-qual­ity ser­vice providers, which should be reg­u­lated to form a well-or­ga­nized and rea­son­able-price-tagged mar­ket sooner or later,” said Huang Luchuan, di­rec­tor of Ac­cen­ture Strat­egy, Greater China. On­line-to-Off­line (O2O) meth­ods. Fur­ther­more, more than 50 per­cent of con­sumers have tried buy­ing car parts on­line and are in­ter­ested in con­tin­u­ing to do so.

“The ris­ing in­ter­ests from Chi­nese con­sumers to shop on­line for car parts sym­bol­izes the turn­ing point of after­sales ser­vices and how prod­uct of­fer­ings need to be­come more dig­i­tized now. This will in turn pro­vide more op­por­tu­ni­ties for sup­pli­ers,” said Huang.

The re­search also showed that lo­cal con­sumers will grad­u­ally shift from tra­di­tional O2O main­te­nance to a vir­tual ser­vice chain that of­fers all types of ser­vices, such as doorto-door trans­port and on­line car park book­ings.

Huang said that such an on­line trans­porta­tion plat­form will be launched in China by 2020 and it will be able to help fa­cil­i­tate car-shar­ing among users and pro­vide rental cars that come with in­tel­li­gent park­ing and mod­ern ve­hi­cle sys­tems.

In ad­di­tion, the plat­form will be backed by a huge data­base with up­dated sta­tis­tics of car users’ chang­ing pref­er­ences on prod­ucts and ser­vices, as well as pre­dic­tions of mar­ket trends.

“Af­ter-sales car ser­vice providers need to al­ways be upto-date and able to map out a com­pre­hen­sive ser­vice plan to sur­round con­sumers with high-end qual­ity prod­ucts and ser­vices,” said Huang.

“The con­tents and ser­vices for car own­ers will soon be avail­able in more di­ver­si­fied on­line sources, which will be­come in­creas­ingly more de­vel­oped to help solve trav­el­ing prob­lems.”

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