Another major change in the world automobile industry


Dong Yang


Recently, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers announced the statistical results of 2023, China's automobile production and sales exceeded 30 million. The whole industry rejoiced. It is not just that China's auto production and sales continue to lead the world auto industry, breaking through the epoch-making annual output of 30 million vehicles. It also shows that China's new energy vehicles continue to advance, Chinese brand passenger cars continue to grow, accounting for more than 50% of the market, and the domestic and international markets have double growth. We are on our way to becoming an automotive powerhouse.


Throughout the history of the development of the world automobile industry, there have been three major industrial changes in the past, each of which has a significant impact on the automobile industry and the world economy. The first was in the second half of the 19th century, Karl Benz and other European scientists invented the automobile, since then human society has entered the era of personal mobility; The second is the beginning of the 20th century, the American Henry Ford created a large-scale production mode, automobile products were popularized, and the automobile industry became the pillar industry of the national economy; The third time was in the middle of the 20th century, the Japanese Toyota company created a lean production method, which greatly improved the efficiency of automobile production and reduced the cost. Lean manufacturing practices have also spread to other industries, affecting almost all manufacturing.


Now we are fortunate enough to be experiencing the fourth major change in the world's automotive industry. Why do you think so? Because the conditions, environment and impact of this change are far greater than in the past.


The first is a major change in technological conditions. Advances in lithium battery technology have made it possible to fully shift vehicle power to electrification, which allows vehicles to use a variety of energy sources to adapt to the energy revolution, global carbon reduction and resource regeneration; The Internet and artificial intelligence technology can realize autonomous driving, and greatly strengthen the connection between automotive products and the outside world, and expand the application of automotive products; Advances in manufacturing technology and materials may further reduce the weight and cost of automotive products.


Secondly, with the further popularization of the application of automotive products, resource and environmental problems are becoming increasingly prominent. The automobile industry must be environmentally friendly and resource-saving while developing itself.


The third is the sublimation of the user's quality requirements. With the progress of society, the material is further enriched, and the manufacturing level is generally improved, the main requirements of users for the quality of automobile products have shifted from quality to appearance level and user experience. The brand value of the product, the internal processes of the enterprise, the processes and logic of serving the user must be changed accordingly.


The fourth is the change in the application of automotive products. First, automotive products are no longer built behind closed doors and go out, but there must be corresponding charging infrastructure and corresponding smart roads and smart city facilities; Second, the indirect service based on 4S stores can no longer meet the needs of users, and it is necessary to establish a direct service system based on the Internet. Third, automobile products are no longer simple means of transportation, but mobile energy source and information source, is the third living space of people.


In the fourth great revolution of the world automobile industry, China has unique advantages.


First, China has the world's largest automobile market, and the market is still growing, which is very conducive to the development of large-scale manufacturing industries such as the automobile industry. The development practice of new energy vehicles and power battery industry in the past 20 years fully proves this point.


Second, it has the world's most comprehensive industrial categories, and has built the world's strongest automobile industry chain.


Third, China's automobile industry has the traditional advantages of high efficiency and strong cost control.


Fourth, China's institutional advantages. Including the government's strong ability to control the industry, the relevant industries actively cooperate with the support, the whole society is at the peak of construction, charging and replacing infrastructure, smart roads, smart city construction has obvious advantages.


Fifth, good conditions for innovation. Including innovation investment ranks among the top in the world, and users have a high degree of acceptance and tolerance for new technologies. This point was not obvious in the past stage of catch-up development, but now it is more and more prominent.


Due to the above advantages, China's automobile industry has achieved such great success in the fourth great change of the automobile industry. Now some industry experts have some concerns, worried that we have been cut back, the hard-won local advantage lost. The author believes that there is no need to worry too much. We can have the advantages of the above five aspects for a long time, so it will not be easily subverted. It is right to remind the whole industry to continue to work hard, and we should achieve greater results with better conditions. But we should also be comfortable with the technological advances made by the rest of the world's car industry. To continue to humbly learn the advantages and strengths of others, we should make our contribution to the development of the world automobile industry and reflect our responsibility as a big country.


When one yuan begins, everything is renewed. In summing up our achievements last year, we should also see that this is a great opportunity endowed by history. In the second Great revolution, the American auto industry helped make the United States a world power. In the third big change, the Japanese automobile industry has supported the great development of the Japanese economy. In this great change, China's automobile industry will certainly make due contributions to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.


Originally published by China Automotive News, January 16, 2024