It’s 3202 years, and domestic MPVs have not yet emerged from the shadow of “Alpha”

The MPV circle has been too lively recently.

No one would have thought that in the last few months of 2023, the domestic automobile market would be "taken over" by the booming MPV models.

Whether the domestic MPV market is big or not, it is better because of its high quality, stability, and long-term market share of 5%. Coupled with the high unit price per customer, it actually has a "comfortable petty bourgeoisie" flavor.

Especially when Denza D9, with its "Espace" attitude, quickly opened up the domestic new energy MPV market and repeatedly achieved monthly sales exceeding 10,000, car companies began to see the hope of success in the MPV market. This 5% piece of cake may contain sales potential that far exceeds expectations.

Not only new power car companies, but also more and more traditional car companies have begun to set their sights on new energy MPV products. Two days ago, Great Wall Motors officially joined the "battle" for MPVs. Its subsidiary Weipai New Energy launched a new new energy MPV model, the Alpine. With a starting price of 335,800, it is positioned as a mid-to-large plug-in hybrid MPV. With a lower price and more luxurious configurations, it seems that Gaoshan is the next "domestic light" of domestic MPVs.

Why should Alpha, which doesn't even have an ordinary car refrigerator, sell for one million?

At the press conference, Chen Guanyu, marketing director of Weipai Alpine, said this.

▲Weipai Mountain

There is no need to question the maturity of the configuration hardware, and Gao Shan’s sincerity is also worthy of recognition. However, even though Alfa was "surpassed" at the press conference, the exterior design was still full of Alfa's shadow. With a traditional and rigid square body structure and a large area of ​​chrome-plated front face, the overall body posture is as if carved from the same mold as Alfa. It's like Internet celebrities all share the same face, with the same look and feel, which is too boring.

It's been 3202 years, and the design of domestic MPVs has not yet come out of the shadow of "Alpha".

The "dark cloud" hanging over your head

Alpha is a "dark cloud" hanging over domestic MPVs.

Almost all car companies that hope to achieve success in the MPV market want to build the next "Alfa" and become the next synonym for the MPV market. It's like going back to the early days of Tesla's emergence. Later, the pursuers talked about "rough housing" while honestly "replicating" the elements of Model 3 into their own models, and also called it " Original design" like that.

Let’s put it more bluntly. Domestic MPVs are still in the “Copy and Change” stage.

Don't get me wrong, what I mean by Copy is not all meaningless plagiarism. Copying and learning from the car-making experience of successful car companies is not a "shameful" thing. Reasonable and restrained "learning" is a key link for car companies to move from immaturity to maturity.

Turning the time back to 2005, Wang Chuanfu responded to the appearance controversy of BYD F3 in an exclusive interview. The controversy at the time was that the BYD F3's exterior design was too similar to the Toyota Corolla. But Wang Chuanfu believes that BYD has absorbed a lot of mature production experience from Japanese and Korean car companies. In fact, the Japanese and Korean car companies from the 1960s to the 1980s mainly used Copy; after the 1980s, it was Change, which is to add some on the basis of Copy. Change; after the 1990s, it was Design, and each company finally began to form its own design.

▲Toyota Corolla & BYD F3-Pictures from the Internet

From reference to innovation, "Copy, Change, Design" corresponds to the immature, growth and maturity stages of automobile design. Compared with the rapid evolution and changes of other models, domestic MPVs that still bear the design shadow of Alfa are still struggling in the "Copy and Change" stage.

It is obvious that the current mainstream MPV models in the market are all following the same "skin" as Alfa, focusing on luxury configurations and differentiated car-making rules. Such profound "muscle memory" will only bring more homogeneity. MPV products, it is even more difficult to break through in the MPV market with a small share.

In 2021, Zhang Fan, deputy director of the GAC Research Institute, once said such introspective words when talking about the past design of GAC GA4.

At that time, GA4 had a design idea. Since we want to succeed in cars, we have to learn from others and see what kind of cars sell the most in the car market. We develop according to the development ideas of others that sell the most. Then we It should also succeed. I think this is a very reasonable explanation, but after we actually did it, we found that it didn't seem to be the case. The GA4 at that time was good in all aspects, but it seemed that its features were not emphasized in all aspects, and it did not attract attention in the market. This was the problem.

In addition, Zhang Fan once communicated with Lexus design director Fukuichi Dexiong. Lexus also experienced the same struggle when entering the high-end market. Fukuichi Tokuo believes that from the beginning, Lexus will learn from Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus will follow up on whatever Mercedes-Benz does. However, if you choose to follow others in this market, you will definitely not be able to do it.

▲ Picture of Tokuo Fukuichi from: Tama Art University

Although the routine of "sharing a face + configuration enhancement" is good, it does not have its own personality after all. Learning from the successful experience of others can help car companies grow from immaturity to maturity, but it will never be the ultimate answer to success. If they want to break the inherent impression of MPV and take the lead in breaking through, car manufacturers also need to have decisive courage and courage.

Get rid of the brand baggage and go both ways

Of course, the pursuit of stability in car manufacturing may also be out of control, and this will be even more obvious among traditional domestic car companies.

After experiencing the turbulence of the domestic automobile industry in the past thirty years, the aesthetic thinking of fuel vehicles has already left an indelible mark on traditional car companies. The brand baggage formed therein is also becoming an indelible "gown" for domestic traditional car companies. ”.

Cars are not mass consumption. They are formed by history, technological precipitation and other comprehensive forces.

Establishing a domestic automobile brand is not an easy task. Ten years ago, Huang Xiangdong, director of the GAC Research Institute, said this at the roll-off ceremony of Trumpchi QA3. However, in the next ten years, the domestic automobile industry has undergone drastic changes, and we have begun to enter a period of collective rise of new powerful automobile companies.

Skipping the era dominated by internal combustion engines that were full of technical barriers, young and new car companies have no brand baggage and can travel lightly. In the context of the new energy era, new power brands themselves are the "version" of this game and are also the ones writing the history of automobiles.

▲ Ji Krypton 009

▲Ideal MEGA

▲Xpeng X9

The more radical and bold aesthetic concepts of the new forces allow us to see more MPV products that are full of tension and dare to break the rules. Ji Krypton 009 combines dot matrix light sources with high-gloss grille, adopts the rare "bullet design" and outlines the ideal MEGA with exaggerated wind resistance lines, and extends the "big hatchback" elements of the sedan to the MPV. Xpeng X9 is the "fresh blood" of domestic new energy MPVs. With the cutting-edge and bold exterior design, the cookie-cutter luxury MPV market will not seem so boring.

Aesthetic likes and dislikes are an extremely subjective matter. No matter how bold and cutting-edge the design is, it will always come back to someone paying for it. In the article "Ideal MEGA, Li Xiang chose the gameplay with the largest traffic", we once added a limited-time voting at the end of the article to test the public's views on the personalized design of Ideal MEGA.

▲Ideal MEGA

The final result also greatly exceeded our expectations. As of the time of checking the voting data, Dongchehui has received a total of 4367 votes, of which a total of 1964 votes were cast for "I really can't appreciate it", accounting for 45%; The total number of votes for "good-looking" was 1668, accounting for about 38%. Excluding the "indifferent" neutrals, the aesthetic trend of Ideal MEGA has not been "one-sided", but has resulted in a "50/50" split between positive and negative reviews.

Judging from the voting data, the design evaluation of MEGA is quite polarized. Those who think it looks good will like it very much, while those who find it difficult to appreciate it will also accept it. At the same time, this voting result also directly tells us that there are actually not a few users who like individuality and cutting-edge design.

This is related to changes in the audience of MPV models. In the past few years, the core needs of MPVs have gradually evolved from business to home use. In addition to being easy to drive and sit in, families with spending power have begun to pursue more extreme space. The space performance of SUV models has clearly failed to meet the needs of the domestic middle class for family cars. As the demand for MPV families increases, the age structure of this group of MPV owners is also sinking more vigorously. The cutting-edge and personalized appearance design has also allowed car owners and car companies to reach a consensus of "two-way travel".

Li wanted to sell MEGA in advance, of course out of commercial considerations, but more importantly, he wanted to occupy the "high ground" of MPV aesthetics in advance. The 500,000 car market is often the "vane" of aesthetic design, which is a very ambiguous position. This high-end market is high, but not too high. If you look down, you can get a little bit of the "local atmosphere". Don't underestimate this slight pull. The aesthetic concept of a car can often be achieved within these milliseconds. Radiating downwards at the speed of light, the design of cutting-edge individuality will also go out of the downward trend and move from personalization to universalization.

The aesthetic voice of MPV will be the key to breakthrough in the future.

It's been 3202 years, and domestic MPVs have not yet emerged from Alpha's shadow. But in 4202, Alpha's "dominance" may be completely overturned, and domestic MPVs no longer need to "surpass" Alpha in fancy ways.

# Welcome to follow the official WeChat public account of Aifaner: Aifaner (WeChat ID: ifanr). More exciting content will be provided to you as soon as possible.

Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo