We have been following this phenomenon for a while. Joint ventures in China create faux Chinese brands. Because? Because it’s the right thing to do, at least as far as the Chinese government is concerned. Officially, the reason for those fake Chinese brands is to make cars more affordable. Off the record, automakers roll their (slanted and round) eyes at this reasoning. A new brand doesn’t miraculously make a car more affordable. In the contrary. To establish a brand costs money. To establish dealer networks costs money. To build new cars costs money, even if they are on passé platforms. But you’ve got to do what China’s bureaucrats think you’ve got to do. Possibly, all these joint venture brands, from GM’s BaoJun on out, will end up in nice statistics that prove that homegrown Chinese brands are selling, and that exports are up.
Why the rant? Nissan and Dongfeng show the first production model of the faux Chinese Venucia brand at the Guangzhou auto show. It is a mid-class sedan, allegedly engineered at Dongfeng Nissan Technical Center,” it is called D50 and will be introduced to the market in the first half of 2012.
When the D50 launches in 2012, the plan is to have 100 exclusive Venucia dealers across China. Died-in-the-wool subscribers to Japanese production methods will shudder at the muda (waste, uselessness) of this operation: 100 new dealers, with only one car to sell. At least, “Venucia dealers plan to share parts of service operations with certified Nissan dealers.”
By 2015, the dealers will have more to do and sell, because “five new models will be launched under the Venucia brand by 2015.” By that time, Venucias will be sold through 250 dealers nationwide. Dongfeng Nissan is targeting annual sales of 300,000 units with these five models.
Back in Chengdu, Pangda’s Chairman Pang Qinghua also thought that these new Chinese brands are “muda,” or whatever the Chinese word for it may be. “Chinese customers expect to pay 20 percent less for Chinese brands. For foreign brands, they often pay above list just to get them early.”
Carnewschina has pictures of the car taken at the show. Ours is from Nissan.