SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 30, July 29, 2010

Are You Making Products for the Japanese and Korean Cars on China's Roads?

With all the news about Chinese workers striking against Honda suppliers, you probably know that Honda-brand cars are on the road in China. What you might not know is that non-Chinese Asian brands accounted for 25% of the light-vehicle market in China in 2009. And tuner shops in China are looking for high-quality performance parts for those vehicles. For SEMA-member Injen Technology Co. Ltd., that’s good news. Injen, a manufacturer of high-performance air intakes and filters, is signed up for the SEMA-CIAPE Business Development Conference in Beijing in late September.

“We are clearly the leaders in the Japanese and Asian import market in this category,” said Injen president Ron Delgado. “Honda, Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, Mazda. If those applications are in China, we’re a shoe-in.”

Japanese brands accounted for 18.4% of light-vehicle sales in China in 2009, according to J.D. Power and Associates. Korea brands accounted for 6.6%. Sales of Japanese brands rose 50% in 2009; Korean brand sales nearly doubled. SEMA members can learn more about this growing market at the SEMA-CIAPE Business Development Conference in Beijing in late September. Participating SEMA members will be paired with relevant Chinese buyers in up to a dozen private, pre-scheduled meetings. One-on-one meetings with potential Chinese partners at this ground-breaking event will allow you to get to know them and the market.

Beijing Tuning Shop works mainly on Toyota, Honda and Subaru models, said owner Zhang Yu. The most popular modifications are shock absorbers, wheel rims and body kits, he said. “We need better-quality suspensions," said Yu. "We need harder shock absorbers to make sure that when we drive on uneven roads, it is not bumpy."

The China modification market is young to be sure. But young Chinese are avid Internet surfers and they are learning fast. Though most Subaru models in China are imports, it's a very popular brand for modification, said Liu Qingfeng, manager of Carnet, an online business-to-business company selling high-performance motor oil, oil filters, brake pads and suspension products, among other products.

“We found that about 40% of Subaru consumers seek high performance," said Qingfeng. "In China, there are about 40,000 Subaru car owners. They bought it because it is suitable for modifications,” .

SEMA member Amsoil Inc. makes a full range of high-performance synthetic lubricants. Greg Sandbulte, Amsoil’s vice president of international, will be in Beijing. “My impression is that it is a tremendous opportunity,” he said. It’s an opportunity Injen’s Delgado doesn’t want to miss. “We want to be part of the growing auto enthusiast segment,” he said. “We don’t want to be one of those who say, ‘we should have been there 10 years ago.’”

Being in Beijing in September with SEMA can help you be part of the China market, too. For more information, contact Linda Spencer at lindas@sema.org or visit www.sema.org/china.