Can young people’s first convertible car take us into the “small age”?

When the roar of locomotives surrounds the autumn mountains in the automobile industry, the atmosphere is ignited. Cars of various brands and price ranges are speeding on the track, and their bodies converge into the distance. People are ready to stand at the entrance of the cave to watch the new brand cars rush out of the tunnel, and the messy shouts even cover the BGM of "All the way to the North".

At this moment, only Wuling knew that the people did not need AE86.

If the story of domestically-made cars is a movie, then when the narrative is nearing its climax, a bright, but some tiny, even inconspicuous figure emerges from the emerging wave of car-making. Even though the volume of sound is not enough to compare with those of the big companies, but in the young circle, this figure still unilaterally created a storm.

Wuling made this "surprise attack." In July 2020, Wuling Hongguang launched the mini-electric vehicle MINIEV. Just a few months later, the sales of MINIEV surpassed the Tesla Model 3, becoming the only model in the domestic new energy vehicle market that sold more than 30,000 in a single month. During the Shanghai Auto Show in April this year, Wuling launched a convertible. The legend about Wuling MINIEV continues.

No one would refuse to look at such a car: its brand is very old, the body is small, but the price is very low. Sometimes, those sophisticated marketing seem to make people see the clues of the "IQ tax", but then, sales and user loyalty make people look at it with admiration.

The explosion of Wuling MINIEV has shown us an attempt to rebirth the old brand from the ashes. As a small car that was not regarded as the first choice by car owners in the past, Wuling MINIEV is generating more value.

The people need Wuling

A light blue small car drove from the edge of the booth onto the platform of the exhibition area. In the center of the platform, the car rotated 360 degrees toward the audience, and then slowly opened the roof.

This is a scene that took place at the Shanghai Auto Show. On that day, Wuling Hongguang MINIEV's new convertible "Cabrio" officially debuted for the first time.

▲ Picture from @五岭汽车

Soon, news about Wuling MINIEV’s new car was posted on the social network, and Wuling MINIEV related topics were also on the top of the Weibo search list.

This "new car" is actually not much different from the previously released MINIEV, but it has a convertible on the basis of the original MINIEV. But because of this, in addition to the "people's scooter," Wuling also has "the first convertible for young people."

Wuling's desire to launch a convertible is not a whim.

Back in the summer of 2020, Wuling Hongguang officially launched the mini-vehicle MINIEV at the Chengdu International Auto Show. The MINIEV's vehicle dimensions are 2917, 1493, and 1621 mm (length, width, and height) respectively. Wuling's official price for this is a minimum of 28,800 yuan. Wuling's positioning for this car is:

The people's scooter.

Although in appearance, MINIEV is full of rudimentary atmosphere. In the minimum configuration, MINIEV does not have air conditioning and has a battery life of less than 170km. Even the bottom-line airbag for car safety is not equipped.

▲ Picture from @五岭汽车

But is the person who bought MINIEV pictured the interior and configuration of MINIEV?

At a price of 28,800 yuan, what kind of bicycles are needed.

Cheap is the core competitiveness of Wuling MINIEV. To a certain extent, MINIEV, which is priced at around 30,000 yuan, is not competing with new energy vehicles, but electric vehicles for short-distance travel. Looking at it this way, even if MINIEV is slightly insufficient in battery life, it can still be the choice of consumers.

The low price has brought a high degree of topicality to MINIEV. Intuitively, when the new energy vehicle track is gaining momentum and the tide is rising, the appearance of MINIEV is indeed very close to the people. It should be understood that even under the policy of 300,000 yuan of national subsidies for new energy vehicles, domestic new energy vehicles still have to swim in the price range of 200,000 to 300,000 yuan.

▲The picture comes from @五岭汽车

In the long-term silence of domestically-made minicars, Wuling's attack is particularly special. People come in to open up the market from time to time, but it is not enough to cause waves. Wuling undoubtedly broke this convention. According to Wuling's official introduction, the advantage of minicars is convenient parking, which is inevitable. Whether in a city with traffic jams or in a rural area with narrow roads, you can drive MINIEV through the streets and alleys. The other side of the mini car is the shape. Small and cute have become the keywords of MINIEV.

However, it needs to be admitted that the explosion of MINIEV as a mini car is inseparable from Wuling's marketing. After Wuling Hongguang MINIEV went public, Wuling worked hard to make itself younger. In addition to cooperating with popular tea brands like Xicha, it also settled in a grass-growing community like Xiaohongshu, which is dominated by female users. On the page marked with a signature "Wuling Auto also loves beauty", Wuling Auto's account has 77,000 followers, and has received 304,000 likes and favorites.

According to Zhou Xian, the brand and marketing director of SAIC-GM-Wuling, told the media that Hongguang MINIEV is not only positioned as a car, but also a fashionable and fast-moving consumer product. The big marketing on social media just confirms this statement.

▲ Picture from @五岭汽车

Wuling has always encouraged car owners to modify MINIEV. It seems that modifying cars is one of Wuling's intentions to manufacture MINIEV. Since Wuling launched the ultra-low-priced mini-car MINIEV in July 2020, Wuling has started to publish photos or videos of the modified MINIEV on social platforms under the official name.

In Xiaohongshu and Douyin, there are countless car owners who have modified Wuling Hongguang MINIEV.

▲ Picture from Xiaohongshu

The design of the convertible comes from October 26 last year. Wuling Motors released a video on Weibo, "A convertible version of Hongguang MINIEV, does anyone want it?" In the video, a Wuling Hongguang MINIEV owner will be Hongguang MINIEV. The conversion to a convertible is on display somewhere. On March 25 this year, Wuling Hongguang once again released a MINIEV modified by users into a convertible on Weibo. Wuling wrote: "Hongguang MINIEV Convertible, it’s too cool."

You know, at this time, the real Hongguang MINIEV convertible "Cabrio" officially manufactured by Wuling has not yet been launched.

In August last year, Wuling officially launched the video "The Birth of the Strongest Hongguang MINIEV on the Earth", which recorded the entire process of converting a MINIEV into an orange coat "six-wheel pickup truck". This car was later brought to the Chengdu Auto Show for public display. In January of this year, Wuling also launched the "All Kings Looking for Trendy People" campaign to search for the modified Hongguang MINIEV.

▲The picture comes from @五岭汽车

These more or less show Wuling's attitude towards MINIEV modified cars. According to official data from Wuling, after 200 days of listing, 72% of Hongguang MINIEV car owners choose to retrofit.

In this context, Wuling Hongguang MINIEV has more design inspiration from the owners themselves, and the convertible version of Wuling Hongguang MINIEV came into being.

Not long before the convertible version was unveiled, the Wuling Hongguang MINIEV Macaron was officially launched. The official guide price is 37,600 yuan-43,600 yuan, and MINIEV is closer to the "people" in terms of color and shape.

According to Wuling's disclosure, MINIEV's new car orders have exceeded 36,000 units within 14 days of the expected opening. And its base model Hongguang MINIEV has become China's best-selling new energy vehicle for 7 consecutive months. You know, the combined sales of Tesla Model 3 and Model Y worldwide cannot reach Wuling Hongguang's domestic sales.

People love Wuling and need Wuling.

Wuling needs people

Since Wuling went out of the circle again, the word "people" with a certain political connotation has been repeatedly emphasized by Wuling. In an era when companies are close to customers and brands emphasize individuality, positioning consumers as "people" obviously has to be compared with other similar terms-"user", "consumer", "X fan", "X friend" , More appealing and hard-core.

But it is true. The design inspiration of the convertible may first come from the owners who first transformed the MINIEV into a convertible, and behind the slogan "young people's first convertible" there is also a hint of sympathy for young people. Wuling "comes from the people and goes to the people." Everything is so logical.

▲ Picture from @五岭汽车

This brand building with "people" originated from Wuling's corporate tradition. The historical origin of this company can be traced back to 1958, and it was first named Liuzhou Power Machinery Factory to make and produce tractors.

In the 1990s, Wuling set its sights on minivans and minivans. This kind of mediocre car carried the task of small merchants to transport goods in the age of the real economy. To this day, Wuling Zhiguang Bread, which was once ridiculed as a "sacred car", can still be encountered in the streets and alleys of China.

In 2002, the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture was established. In July 2009, SAIC, GM and Wuling transferred assets to allow foreign companies to provide more technical support for the Wuling brand. Nevertheless, Wuling is still doing business that sinks the market. Even after the establishment of SAIC-GM-Wuling, Wuling launched Baojun and other brands, but this is not enough to climb the industry.

▲ Picture from @五岭汽车

To a certain extent, in the face of its own brand at the time, the statement of "sacred car" could only be a joke in front of Wuling.

The turning point occurred during the epidemic last year. SAIC-GM-Wuling proposed that "Wuling will make whatever the people need." It started to produce masks by itself, and only donated them but not sold them. SAIC-GM-Wuling became the first automobile company to obtain a medical device business license.

Soon after, the "market stall economy" recovered, and Wuling produced the "Wuling Rongguang Sales Truck" within five days and promoted it.

Wuling Motors introduced this van in its official public account:

Going up to the fields and down to the bustling business district, it fully embodies the national car attributes of Wuling Motors.

The return of Wuling's publicity has brought Wuling's brand back to people's vision. Wuling took advantage of good opportunities to enhance its brand image. At this time, the brand positioning that could not become high-end has been transformed into an expression of "people-friendly". Until the launch of Wuling MINIEV, this old-fashioned brand has become an Internet celebrity.

From any point of view, the changes Wuling MINIEV has brought to Wuling's brand are huge. It has raised the banner of Wuling with its own strength and painted a new color.

However, the phrase "what the people need, what does Wuling make" does not only reflect that "the people need Wuling," Wuling also needs the people.

SAIC's 2020 financial report shows that Wuling's net profit was only 140 million yuan. A year ago, this figure was 1.699 billion yuan, a drop of more than 90%. According to a report by the Financial Associated Press, Ningbo Gaofa, as the supplier of Hongguang MINIEV electronic accelerator pedals, the relevant person in charge of the company revealed that Hongguang MINIEV's performance impact is still limited.

This means that although Wuling's expected gorgeous turn seems to have been achieved, it is unable to produce a substantial improvement for Wuling's fundamental problem-the weak performance.

This is a long-standing problem for Wuling. It uses low prices to maintain volume and takes the civilian route, but in the end, even if the sales volume is high, the net profit is not good due to the low price.

Take the comparison of the net profit of the major companies of SAIC Group in 2019 as an example. According to the financial report, Wuling's sales volume for that year was 1660007, while SAIC-GM's sales volume was 1600102. The sales volume of the two was similar, but SAIC-GM's net profit attributable to the parent was 1095832.41. 10,000 yuan, while SAIC-Wuling only has 169,855,600 yuan. Under the comparison of the two, the disadvantage of low prices is highlighted.

In addition, even though Wuling has achieved its goal of becoming younger, more fashionable, and creating a more diversified brand image under the turbulent marketing, the risks of MINIEV are clearly visible there. After consumers vote with money, how Wuling can ensure that MINIEV can ensure that micro-electric vehicles are not safe from hidden dangers is the next problem Wuling will face after its sales push up.

A "big toy" is a "big toy", but in the final analysis, it must be driven onto the road.

From these points of view, Wuling needs the people to continue to recognize the brand and wait for a higher-priced brand upgrade to be formed one day; it needs the people to continue to buy MINIEV and its various new versions to ensure that sales can remain stable in the long term. ; It is also necessary for the people to have new trust in Wuling, instead of the freshness of hurriedly retreating after Wuling-related topics have exploded, only the stalks of "Autumn Mountain" are left.

MINIEV is a big toy, but it is also a car in an increasingly mature consumer market.

Enter the "small age"?

In addition to the impact on the Wuling brand itself, the emergence of MINIEV has greater value. In July 2020, on the eve of Wuling's launch of MINIEV, Wuling officially issued a document saying that through MINIEV, people will enter a "small era".

Does the little MINIEV possess epoch-making qualities?

Back in 1956, the second Middle East war broke out. At that time, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal and blocked the waterway, and Britain's fuel supply was threatened. As the world hegemon who had not fully retired at that time, the sales of medium and large cars in the UK were affected and drastically reduced.

Earlier, a mini-car produced in Germany, which is also on the European continent, became popular on the market. British Motor Company (BMC) discovered this and began to imitate the production of this type of small body, but the emissions are more than ordinary. Smaller cars. The prototype of the Mini was born. After the first Mini was produced, it quickly became popular in the European market.

▲ Picture from unsplash

Mini has a small size and high space utilization. It can cleverly squeeze the gearbox and engine into this small "box". Although the maximum horsepower cannot reach the level of medium and large cars, it can be the same. Undertake the tasks of transportation and travel.

It is worth noting that public information shows that the Mini was positioned as an ordinary family at that time, and its price was probably less than 500 pounds.

Later, BMC Company carried out various upgrades to Mini, including Mini Cooper, which is now more familiar to the public. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Mini and its related extended models appeared in rally races and on the streets. According to statistics, Mini was once a housewife's favorite during that time. At first, it was a "housewife's shopping cart", and later it became a "fashion accessory for everyone."

▲ Picture from unsplash

However, the Mini gradually declined after the 1970s, and the economic development made car consumers in various countries pursue larger and more luxurious vehicles. At the beginning of the new century, Mini was transferred to BMW as a brand, which is now MINI.

This business history related to minicars may bring us some new thinking. Regarding Wuling, regarding those small cars that flow in the social media of young people, what does their appearance mean besides the upgrade of the Wuling brand?

The low price position similar to Mini, it satisfies people's basic desire to buy mini cars: if the price is acceptable, then there will be a market in the market. Japanese light-duty vehicles (K-CAR) are popular among ordinary households in Japan because of their low prices and low emissions. However, in China, Japanese light-duty vehicle sales are just the opposite. In the eyes of the 70-80 generations of Chinese car consumers, expensive cars represent social status.

▲ Picture from unsplash

But in China today, young people's consumption concepts have changed. At the same time, high-cost living expenses make it impossible to save money. From time to time, for young people in first-tier cities in the moonlight, it is time to have a scooter that is easier to consume.

According to the “Post-90s Auto Consumption Concern Report” released in 2019 by Undercarriage, more than half of post-90s users prefer models under 250,000, and the price range of 150,000-250,000 is most popular with post-90s users. In contrast, users born in the 1970s pay attention to 350,000-500,000 models. Nowadays, a car of only about 30,000 yuan appears in front of young people. It is hard to say that this is not a temptation.

The second is the capture of female consumers and the positioning of fast-moving consumer goods. While Wuling rejuvenated the styling of MINIEV, it also deliberately brought MINIEV closer to the femininity. For example, the Macaron version that went on the market not long ago. The body color was released by Wuling and Pantone LLC. They were white peach powder and avocado green. And lemon yellow. Pantone is a world-renowned color system supplier, good at making popular products, and has cooperated with many car brands.

For example, Xiaohongshu, a community with a majority of female users, does marketing communications. In addition, MINIEV encourages people to modify mini-cars in more diversified ways. To a certain extent, MINIEV is actively approaching car owners who have a stronger need for fashion in an attempt to create a trendy cultural symbol.

▲ Picture from @五岭汽车

The same from the above report shows that the proportion of female car users is increasing rapidly with the decline of age. The proportion of post-80s and post-90s accounts for 10%, which is twice the proportion of post-70s females. The exterior interior is becoming the motivation for more than one-third of car users. Beauty is influencing the consumption decisions of this generation of young people.

These are exactly in line with the development and popularity of a product.

MINIEV cannot reproduce the wonderful car story of that barren era, but it is foreseeable that the popularity of MINIEV, as one of the self-redemption narratives of the Wuling brand, will also exist as an important fragment of China's mini electric vehicles.

▲ Picture from @BY迪

In 2018, micro-electric vehicles were briefly created in the first half as a shared car. However, with the decline of capital, micro-electric vehicles faded without even being popular.

In 2019, BYD launched the mini-electric car e1, Singularity Motors launched the iC3, Honda released Honda e. Before MINIEV was launched, some domestic manufacturers smelled business opportunities, but they failed to seize the same explosion as MINIEV. Ideas. Now, MINIEV has made a good start. On the 19th of last month, BMW China also told the media that it will start producing two MINI electric vehicles for the Chinese and global markets from 2023.

The good show has just started.

Although micro-electric vehicles, like Wuling, still have many problems to be considered and solved continuously. What if those new forces that build cars also start to look at minicars? How to further trust and improve the safety of micro electric vehicles? How to get micro electric vehicles out of the shackles of low-cost thinking?

But an era of more diversified car consumption is already beckoning.

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