Japanese cars, “both volume and price have dropped” is just the beginning

I took the time to check out Weibo's hot-search car section, and found that 2 of the top 10 were about Japanese price cuts. The Toyota Corolla, once the world's best-selling model and the first choice for people around the world, has a new car starting price as low as 79,800, with a discount of 43,000. Yuan.

Some people once said that there are three major hard currencies in the world: oil, gold and Toyota cars.

This has been true for a long time. Because of better fuel economy and lower maintenance costs, Toyota brand cars have not only been the overall sales leader globally, but Corolla and RAV4 have also been the best-selling cars and SUVs worldwide. The category’s sales topped the list until the Tesla Model Y suddenly emerged.

The 79,800 Corolla smells so good? Not fragrant.

What needs special mention is the 79,800 Corolla, which is a special discount price launched by FAW Toyota during the 618 period, with a limited-time discount of 43,000 yuan, and the event period is only from June 15th to June 18th.

Although the time is short and the quantity is a mystery, those who didn't buy it don't have to regret it, because the dealer's quotation has already been lower than 79,800 yuan, with prices quoted as 76,800 yuan or even 73,800 yuan.

A few years ago, although the Corolla was not a price-increased model, the entry-level version cost about 120,000, with almost no discounts, and it was basically close to 140,000 when it was launched. In just a few years, the entry threshold for a generation of legendary cars has been lower than most people expected.

So, such a cheap Corolla must be a good seller, right?

The answer is, it didn’t sell well.

In the past May, a total of 7,693 FAW Toyota Corolla models were sold, ranking 38th in the domestic sales rankings of all cars. The previous one was its sibling GAC Toyota Ralink, which was sold in May. 7711 vehicles.

In April, Corolla's sales were even more dismal, with only 4,320 units, which is about the same as the FAW Toyota bZ3 electric car sales. Even if the Corolla and Ralink are combined, the sales in recent months are not as good as competing products. Nissan Sylphy, Volkswagen Lavida and BYD Qin PLUS.

Although Toyota's brand is stronger than Nissan's, in terms of the Japanese civil war, the biggest characteristic of Corolla is "mediocre". It is very ordinary in terms of appearance, space, interior, driving control and comfort. Although they are both "the third aunt on the road" ” contestant, but at least the Sylphy’s space performance and ride comfort are much better.

After comparing with domestic new energy vehicles, Corolla has no advantage in terms of products, and its proud fuel economy also lags behind hybrid models such as BYD Qin PLUS, not to mention the space and interior. Disadvantage.

Corolla has mediocre successes and mediocre failures.

Because the price of new cars is showing an avalanche, it has also led to confusion in the prices of used cars. For example, you can now search for a lot of second-hand car videos about Corolla, which is called the "Ivy in the field of value preservation." Just last year, a second-hand car video blogger posted a video saying that the 2019 Corolla 1.2T S-CVT Elite Edition, which will be launched in 2020, will cost NT$140,000 and has a mileage of 30,000 kilometers. The final closing price of the car is NT$70,000, which means it will depreciate every year. 20,000 yuan.

However, according to the new car price of Corolla in 2024, it will not be much more expensive than the price of second-hand cars listed in 2020. The myth of Toyota cars' value preservation was shattered overnight.

It can be said that Corolla is the epitome of Toyota and even Japanese cars in the Chinese market. From the initial price increase, to the original price, to a small discount of several thousand, then to price for volume, and now the price reduction can no longer exchange for volume. This process also shows that the brand filter of domestic consumers for joint venture cars has long been broken. The first ones to be broken were Korean and French cars, followed by American cars, and now it is the turn of Japanese cars. In the end, only Hanwa German cars in the luxury car market.

The decline of Japanese cars did not happen in a day. The signs have already appeared, but the fact is that its decline is more violent and tragic than imagined.

When BYD Qin Plus and Toyota Corolla came together with the prefix 7, a 1997 car price list was also going viral on Weibo. We can take a look at the prices in the early days of China's automobile industry. The Honda Accord is priced at 393,000 yuan, the Toyota Camry (also known as Toyota Camry) is priced at 435,000 yuan, and the Mercedes-Benz and BMW are even more expensive. The prices of the Mercedes-Benz S and BMW 7 Series exceed one million. The E-class and 5 series also cost more than 800,000. Domestic cars such as the Changan and Jiefang in the corner can only sell for 30,000 to 50,000 yuan. If inflation is taken into account, the purchasing power of 100,000 yuan in 1997 is approximately equivalent to 700,000 yuan today. At that time, the annual income of company employees was 6,580 yuan. Based on this calculation, ordinary people could not afford a Honda Accord even if they saved a lifetime.

Japanese cars, which have seen both volume and price fall, have no hope of recovering from their decline.

The Guangdong region has always had a special preference for Japanese cars. Lexus ES and B-class ace Camry are the car buyers in every Guangzhou veteran's heart. GAC Honda and GAC Toyota have also been the biggest boosters for GAC to become bigger and stronger. .

But since 2024, the downturn in Liangtian has obviously made GAC feel that the situation is serious.

Because joint venture brands such as GAC FCA and GAC Mitsubishi that originally had a place in the Chinese market have gradually withdrawn from the market, GAC Group currently has four main brands in sales: GAC Honda, GAC Toyota, Aion and GAC Passenger Cars (GAC Trumpchi ).

Taking May as an example, Guangqi Honda sold 31,931 vehicles, a year-on-year decrease of 41.31% from 54,408 vehicles in the same period last year. The cumulative sales from January to May were 173,580 vehicles, a year-on-year decrease of 24.30%.

GAC Toyota sold 61,088 vehicles in May, a year-on-year decrease of 17%. The cumulative sales from January to May were 265,928 vehicles, a year-on-year decrease of 27.26%.

At the same time, the situation of GAC Aian, which represents GAC New Energy and high-end transformation, is also very pessimistic this year, but this is more related to the saturation of the B-end market.

The Lexus ES, which once required a price increase of tens of thousands, is now discounted by tens of thousands. Every time it goes away, it is equivalent to the Lexus brand, which once represented the highest taste of car buying for Cantonese people, losing value, let alone Toyota and Honda.

In a word, when people in Guangdong don't like Japanese brands, and when the sales of GAC Toyota and GAC Honda plummet one after another, it really proves that Japanese cars have lost their last base and fire.

▲Cash Honda Accord interior

Guangqi Honda, whose sales have fallen even more, has also started layoffs. However, unlike the bleak layoffs of ordinary companies, after Guangqi Honda started layoffs, many employees began to rush to apply for layoff quotas. The main reason is that the compensation given by GAC for layoffs is quite generous: N+2+1.8 monthly salary.

Among them, N is the working years, 2 is the extra two months’ salary, and 1.8 is the bonus of the extra 1.8 months’ salary. In other words, the compensation conditions offered by Guangqi Honda are much higher than the N+1 lower limit stipulated in the labor law. In addition, Guangqi Honda's own salary package is also quite good, so such a layoff compensation is quite attractive.

For example, Perman Auto reported that some formal employees on the front line of Guangqi Honda's production can receive 25,000 to 30,000 yuan in monthly salary, in addition to various subsidies. The monthly salary of more senior middle-level employees may reach 50,000 to 60,000 yuan. If they have worked for 10 years, they can get 13.8 months' salary when they leave.

In addition to the relatively high amount of compensation for layoffs, the reason why Guangqi Honda employees are fighting for layoffs is their expectations for the future. Guangqi Honda's predicament is not temporary. The decline in sales now seems to be irreversible. Instead of continuing to worry here, In terms of work, it is better to see the sales trend of the brand, take the money and leave while the factory still has savings, and then look for another company.

After all, many companies have learned from the past that those who run away first get the most compensation, while those who stick to the end can only go to labor arbitration.

The rush to layoff employees at Guangqi Honda is just one link in the chain reaction of the decline in volume and price of Japanese cars, and it is also the mildest link.

As mentioned earlier, the used car price last year of a Corolla that has been on the market for 3 years and has 30,000 miles is not much different from the price of a new Corolla this year. The rapidly falling new car prices mean that the risk of collecting old cars is very high. You can make a profit by selling them within a month. You will not lose money if you sell within two months, but you will lose money if you sell the inventory for more than two months.

This is not a problem of one car, a brand, or a region, but a problem of the entire industry. The basis for the profitability of the second-hand car industry is based on the solid foundation of new car prices. Nowadays, the entire second-hand car industry is in trouble due to industry involution. , the new car price war has led to bleak operations across the board, and the turnover cycle is slightly longer and the company will immediately lose money. Japanese cars are naturally no exception, and they are even the hardest-hit areas.

▲Cash Honda Accord

For example, the Honda Accord, which is as famous as the Toyota Camry, has a loan discount of 60,000 yuan for the 2023 260 TURBO Smart Edition, and a full payment discount of 55,000 yuan. The price of the naked car has reached the 140,000 range, landing around 160,000, and the price trend of the Toyota Camry Not bad either.

This means that users who once had a budget of 140,000 and wanted to buy a Corolla can now buy a Camry or Accord with a little more. Just a few years ago, these two Japanese signature B-class cars still had the prefix 2. As mentioned earlier, in 1997, the Accord and Camry were luxury cars priced at 400,000 yuan. Now, 400,000 yuan can already buy the Audi A6L or even the A7L.

Dramatic price changes mean that consumers who bought these two cars in the past few years are also embarrassed. If they want to sell, they will have to pay a huge price, and the people who take over the car are even more frightened. No one knows how to reduce the price of the new car.

It can be said that second-hand cars are an important part of the car sales cycle. Whether it is the developed United States or the less-developed South America and Southeast Asia, the reason why Japanese cars dominate is not only that new cars are easy to sell, but also because used cars circulate smoothly and can be purchased everywhere. It can be seen that old Toyotas and Hondas are running on the road. They are large in size and have low maintenance costs. It is not troublesome to sell them again. However, the sales of second-hand cars are blocked, which means that the cycle is interrupted.

Even BYD, which has launched a price war, faces similar second-hand car valuation problems. But what is different about BYD is that prices are falling, sales are rising, channels are expanding rapidly, and front-line sales have no worries about not being able to sell new cars. However, the channels for Japanese cars will also shrink as volume and price fall.

The first to be affected are Honda's high-end brand Acura and Nissan's high-end brand Infiniti. Among them, the Acura brand has almost withdrawn from the Chinese market and its sales volume cannot be checked. Infiniti's sales in recent months have only ranged from dozens to two to three hundred units. During the period, only a few dozen distribution channels remained. In 2017, Infiniti's annual sales in China were close to 50,000 vehicles.

Since last year, some consumers have begun to complain. For example, a Dongfeng Honda dealer has withdrawn from the network, and the vehicle maintenance services purchased many times before have not been officially guaranteed.

The general environment behind similar complaints is the collapse of the car dealer system. For example, the capital chain of "Dongguan Yongao Automobile Group" shocked the automobile industry at the beginning of the year.

"Car fans" who have long been paying attention to car sales and channels summarized the current situation of Nissan's channels when they discussed the sales of Nissan X-Trail at the beginning of the year:

The decline in sales will trigger a vicious cycle in 4S stores. If the sales are not good, the price will have to be lowered in order to collect funds. The price reduction will bring down the market, and finally increase the losses. Every Nissan 4S store will face this problem: follow up and expand the losses. If you meet, you will die; if you don't follow, if the capital chain is broken, you will die immediately, and the end will be the same.

The situation in other Japanese channels is similar. Declining sales and falling prices will cause the channel to lose money, and then the channel will shrink, which will continue to drive sales to further decline.

Also in 2024, a consumer ordered a Lexus GX550 from Haikou Zhongsheng Lexus Automobile Sales and Service Co., Ltd. at a price of 931,900 yuan. Then the store notified the consumer that he needed to pay an additional service fee of 100,000 yuan. , otherwise the car cannot be picked up.

In the end, the dealer was fined 450,000 yuan.

This is probably the last time for Japanese cars to experience price increases.

In the plastic greenhouse of fate, every cabbage that has been sprayed with too many pesticides once had a dream of becoming a pollution-free organic vegetable.

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