(Yicai Global) Aug. 16 -- The G20 Summit is all set to tee off in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province in September, and automakers are all afire to secure the coveted designation of 'Official Vehicle Supplier' for the meeting as a sure means of burnishing their brand.
Though measuring the extent to which sponsoring such a high-profile intra-government conference boosts sales is tricky, automakers will definitely not forgo such a golden branding opportunity. Vehicles designated for use at the G20 are classed as peripheral cars and reception cars. However, auto brands will achieve distinction whichever way, just as long as they manage to win the sobriquet "Car Officially Designated for the G20."
Our Yicai reporter HAS learned that local automakers in Hangzhou -- including Geely Automobile [HK:00175], Zotye Auto and Hangzhou Changjiang Electric Vehicles, have all emerged as winners of the competition for official designation by the G20 Summit. Geely in particular has 330 cars (in five models) designated for reception, security and cordon operations during the meeting. Auto companies all need to pass strict testing and inspection if they wish to qualify for designation, says Cao Zhong, chairman of Changjiang Electric Vehicles. Therefore, in a sense, all designated vehicle suppliers have already been stamped as "High Quality Product and Service Providers." Changjiang Electric Vehicles will offer 210 electric minibuses for the organizing committee of the G20 Summit.
The recognition is now widespread among market players that Chinese auto brands have improved their manufacturing capability and product quality over the years. In terms of brand image, however, they still lag significantly behind traditional foreign makes with an entrenched position in the Chinese market. Chinese automakers similarly still have only a very limited presence in the global market. They are accordingly willing to redline it in order to wring the most out of every marketing opportunity.