By Guo Jingyuan
From January to October this year, the sales volume of the whole series products of Trumpchi, an own brand of passenger car owned by GAC Group, reaches 296,000, increasing by 126 percent on year-on-year basis. Additionally, its development rate and profitability rank the top among those of China's automobile brands; wherein, the star model Trumpchi GS4 has been trapped in such a situation of demand exceeding supply since it was put into the market, steadily ranking top two of the sales volume in China SUV market. For its first C-class flagship model GA8, its sales volume has ranked top one among the independent brands in the subdivided market for only three months since it was put into the market in April. On October 26, Trumpchi GS8, the flagship-level luxury seven-seat SUV, appeared on G20 Hangzhou Summit. Up to now, its order has broken through 17,000, taking the crown among the China-brand models with the same price...
Within only five years, Trumpchi of GAC Group has made a remarkable achievement in terms of sales figure that increases from the sales volume of only 17,000 after being formally put into the market since 2011 to the startling one at present, continuously refreshing the good records of the autonomous automobile brands of China.
"For a long time, the price of most own-brand automobile has been concentrated within the price interval of RMB 100,000 yuan. The market of brands over RMB 100,000 yuan has always been monopolized by the joint venture brands. To occupy more market shares, the own brands must change their battle field from the price to the value. Therefore, the only way out is to improve the product strength and brand value", said Wu Song, Deputy General Manager of GAC Group. As the Chinese brands are becoming more and more outstanding collectively, the price of own-brand products represented by GAC Trumpchi has been increased to the level of RMB 150,000 yuan. At present, the average price of individual car with the vehicle model sold in GAC Trumpchi has been more than RMB 100,000 yuan, and the star model Trumpchi GS4 has tightly occupied the market between RMB 100,000 and RMB 150,000 yuan.
When recalling the decision made by GAC to develop the independent brand, Wu Song said, "At that time, I am not confident at all. The R&D road for own brand of GAC is started too late; there were few benefits in the first year when products were put into the market, and the industry remained depressing". How time flies. This "Trumpchi" brand formally started in 2007 has now performed its "counteroffensive". Wu Song held that its success was closely related to GAC's principle of sticking to positive development, aiming at world level and choosing to enter from the mid-end and high-end automobile market since the beginning of the project. "We start from the market demands and degrade the property objectives from the finished automobile to parts and prove upwards from parts to the finished automobile, thus guaranteeing that the performance and quality of the products of all levels can reach the originally set objective requirements and improve the market competitiveness of the product".
Autonomous R&D has always been the "highlight" for GAC during its exploration of brand value. Therefore, GAC Group sets up the global R&D network with GAC Research Institute as the core, GAC Trumpchi Technology Center, global advantage suppliers and R&D organizations as its technical support. And GAC Research Institute, as the pivotal department, bears the overall development plan of new product and new technology and the concrete implementation of major R&D work; its R&D team has gradually developed from the original 50 members to 2,500.
Wide recruitment of talents is the guarantee of GAC's autonomous research and development. Zhang Fan, Deputy President of GAC Research Institute is a returned talent absorbed by the research institute. Less than 30 years old, he was once hired by the design headquarters of Benz as the lifelong designer. However, he, resolutely giving up his post, returned home and then joined GAC Research Institute in 2011, thus witnessing the changes of the Trumpchi brand. In his viewpoint, out of the low-quality, low-price and low-end ingrained image of Chinese automobile, the market has to boost products with refined design and excellent quality to change people's understanding about those own-brand automobiles.
"At present, GAC Group has had the accumulated R&D input of over RMB 10 billion yuan; and there are around 500 patent applications of its products annually, with the invention patents of accounting for over 30 percent, thus forming the core competitiveness of the series products of GAC Trumpchi." Yu Jun, General Manager of GAC passenger car expresses that by 2020, GAC Trumpchi will set up a R&D team of around 4,000 members and keep enlarging R&D input in the five years. In this way, its proportion of the R&D expense in independent brands in the revenue will be optimized to around 10 percent.
From R&D to production, how is the production line bearing the dream of "Trumpchi" brand like? The reporter visited the second production line of Trumpchi's factory in Guangzhou and saw that the high automation in workshops, including general assembly, welding, stamping and coating, had already been realized; and the full automation in main stamping line and coating paint had been basically realized."To produce a vehicle only requires 57 seconds", said Yu Jun. In recent years, Trumpchi has enlarged its innovation strength and improved the production efficiency of finished automobile through expanding the supply chain, optimizing techniques and integrating logistics. The daily output reaches 1100; so the annual capacity will be gradually increased to 280,000.
With the boost of the national construction of "One Belt and One Road" and the pace of "going-out", Trumpchi is accelerating to boost Chinese automobile brand to walk on the internationalization journey. "Up to April this year, GAC Trumpchi has layout its marketing service network in 14 countries along "One Belt and One Road" in Middle East and Southeast Asia region", revealed Zeng Qinghong, President of GAC Group. GAC Group is going to set up the R&D center in North America next year to conduct prospective technology R&D and design originality such as automobile driving, etc.
"In the future, GAC Group will make great efforts to realize the cross development of the own brand." Zeng Qinghong expressed that within five years, Trumpchi plans to input 20-30 brand-new models. By 2017, Trumpchi will challenge the objective of the sales volume of 500,000 and try to realize the production and sales scale of 1 million by 2020.