Guangdong Section/// Vehicle-making PhilosophyｰSlow is Fast and Latecomers Arrive First
Among the three major sectors of China’s motorcycle manufacturing industry, private enterprises in Guangdong have entered the motorcycle manufacturing industry early through transformation. A considerable number of enterprises prospered in the “smuggled vehicle trade” in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in the early 1990s, and some brands gradually penetrated into the manufacturing industry from general agents. Although the history of smuggled vehicles is not glorious, it has achieved the locomotive club culture and event culture with a deep foundation in the Pearl River Delta.
Guangdong Section is one of the core automobile and motorcycle production bases in China and an important manufacturing base for Toyota, Honda and Nissan in South China. The motorcycle manufacturing industry is mainly concentrated in four regions: Jiangmen (Pengjiang, Xinhui, Jianghai and Heshan), Guangzhou (Zengcheng, Conghua, Huadu and Panyu), Guanshen (Dongguan and Shenzhen) and Foshan (Shunde and Nanhai). In the whole Pearl River Delta basin, there are many important fuel and electric motorcycle manufacturing brands and clustered parts enterprises, such as Dachangjiang Haojue, Wuyang Honda, ZONTES, Senke, Sanya, Tianma, Haojin, Dayun, TAILG, Zhujiang, FEKON, Zhenghao, Feiying, Huasha, Tianheng and so on.
There is not only Haojue, the champion of China’s fuel motorcycles for many years, but also Wuyang Honda, the model of successful joint venture brands. Thus, two supporting systems have been formed in Guangdong with these two brands as the standard. Many dazzling motorcycle brands in the Pearl River Delta have gradually disappeared or faded in the tide of the times. During the downturn of China’s domestic motorcycle market from 2008 to 2018, most enterprises in Guangdong withdrew from the Chinese market because they could not bear the pressure of the domestic low-cost competition from first-tier brands. They relied on South America, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and other overseas markets to support their development. Except for Haojue, Wuyang Honda, ZONTES, Dayun and FEKON, few Guangdong brands have been able to sell their products out of South China in this decade, which means that most motorcycle manufacturers in Guangdong have no reserved models for the domestic market when it is booming again from 2019 to 2022, and thus have missed this wave of domestic market recovery.
Making Ordinary People’s Own Vehicles
As the leader of China’s traditional fuel motorcycle manufacturing for 19 consecutive years, Haojue sold 2,343,900 motorcycles in 2021 worldwide. Of course, compared with Yadi, the runner-up with 13.9 million electric two-wheeled vehicles being sold (including 6.1 million electric scooters and about 7.7 million electric bicycles), Haojue is only confined to China’s fuel motorcycles, and the gold content has been greatly reduced. Moreover, the low-price competition which made many small and medium-sized enterprises lose their living space has also made Haojue, the leader in China’s traditional fuel motorcycle manufacturing industry for many years walk off the altar. Haojue invests more than 4% of its sales revenue in the development of new products every year. As of July 2022, Haojue had obtained 1,661 domestic and foreign authorized patents and 205 “high-tech products”. The brand value of Haojue rose from 5.988 billion yuan in 2004 to 76.637 billion yuan in 2022. Haojue has always aimed its vehicle building concept at the largest audience of Chinese motorcycles, that is, focusing on large-scale products. With regard to the rising trend of large-displacement vehicles in the Chinese market, Haojue’s performance can be described as “stable dread”. It firmly targets at the middle-income group, mass produces the maximum emission of 300CC, and holds the large starting emission range of 250-400. It is also the range with the largest sales volume among large-emission vehicles in the current Chinese market.
Haojue always takes a slower step in development consciously. Its vehicles have never been linked with fashion. Even in overseas sales, buyers can only choose the design, but cannot re-customize configurations. However, Haojue really deserves its reputation in terms of excellent quality, people friendliness and reliability of products. To take its own road and build ordinary people’s own cars is the real interpretation of Haojue.
Disruptor of Traditional Motorcycle Manufacturing
When it comes to vehicle making maniacs, Tao Ye, the founder of ZONTES, is one of them. ZONTES stood out in the most difficult period of the domestic motorcycle market, with a total investment of 2.6 billion yuan. It is one of the few brands in Guangdong that adhere to the dual line strategy at home and abroad and global synchronization of products. The cumulative sales volume in 2021 was 508,590, with a year-on-year growth of 45.63%. ZONTES has a fully automated robot manufacturing department that represents the progressiveness of today’s motorcycle manufacturing industry, and an integrated management module based on the independently developed “Daye work platform” software. Both its software and hardware are leading in the industry. Modularization, generalization and platform are the basis of Daye’s vehicle making. Its 310 series has laid a solid foundation for ZONTES in the motorcycle industry and overturned the traditional motorcycle manufacturing.
International Master of Terminal Consumption Psychology
Senke, a brand that can best grasp the international market demand and customer psychology, has deeply understood the driving habits and modeling aesthetics of overseas users during its decades of overseas development. It is more than equal to the development of inter-generation models. Several models have won the CF Silver Award in the Canton Fair and the Gold Award in the Guangdong Provincial Governor’s Cup Industrial Design Competition for many times. The global launch conference of King Kong Warcraft 400 was held in April 2021. In July 2022, Senke Motorcycle SKM Motorcycle Club was established. The retro series of King Kong Warcraft for the domestic market was launched, which officially opened the battle for the domestic market share of large-displacement vehicles.
Make up for the Leg of Domestic Market
As one of the emerging brands in Guangdong in the early 2000s, Haojin was also popular across China. Since the Chinese motorcycle market entered the 10-year depression in 2008, Haojin brand has basically faded out of the domestic market and taken the overseas market as its main development direction. However, with regard to export, Haojin has maintained top 10 in export for many years, with a cumulative sales volume of 374,075 vehicles in 2021. The popularity of the domestic market once again made Haojin focus on it. During the 2021 Mobile Expo, Haojin released its Ya and Se series of large-displacement vehicles which are obviously different from the previous product lines. They are expected to be launched in large quantities in the fourth quarter of this year. However, compared with most vehicles of the same level in the current market, the appearance design is slightly conservative. Haojin’s situation is basically the epitome of the transformation of most export-oriented motorcycle manufacturers in the Pearl River Delta. In the face of the hot domestic market, they have no presentable products for off-market competition. Products developed with high investments are prone to acclimatization and become foils for consumption.
In general, the motorcycle manufacturing industry in Guangdong has a very solid foundation, and its manufacturing level and quality control have always been leading the three major domestic bases. However, during China’s 10-year motorcycle market depression, most Guangdong enterprises focused on the overseas market, and carried out export business in the way of OEM. In addition, the development of large-displacement engines and industrial appearance design of the entire industry supporting system in the Pearl River Delta lagged behind due to the conservative development of sector leaders. With the outbreak of domestic motorcycle market consumption, Guangdong motorcycle manufacturers are generally not fully prepared, and there is a significant gap between Guangdong and Chongqing and Zhejiang in terms of core power and model development. For new domestic consumer groups, quality assurance has become the basis, and appearance and temperament are important references for selection. Guangdong enterprises have always been paying attention to steady development and staying calm in unrests. Obviously, today’s product upgrade is in the era of speed+. Only by breaking the shackles can companies keep up with the trend. Compared with the large share of small-displacement vehicles, the competition of large-displacement vehicles is much narrow. How to avoid falling into the trap of collective introspection just after returning to the domestic market? Vehicle enterprises should not take a grand extravagance for large displacement. Instead, they should focus on the real needs of target consumers, and take a circle strategy of differentiated products and in-depth research that they are really good at. Only by doing this can they realize the so-called “latecomers arrive fist”.