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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ford & GM To Aim Pickups At Upmarket Buyers In China

#Ford and General Motors are looking to sell their flagship pickups like the F-150 Raptor or the Silverado to wealthy buyers in China, despite a slight image issue.

According to Wesley Liu, Ford's Asia-Pacific sales director, the Chinese refer to the pickup as "pika", a very low-end worker's vehicle. Of course, models such as the F-150 Raptor are totally different.

Furthermore, trucks are mostly restricted to overnight driving in most Chinese cities. However provinces like Yunnan, Liaoning, Hebei and Henan have all launched trial programs allowing trucks into urban areas in an attempt to stimulate production and sales.

With these loose restrictions benefiting them, US pickup makers will look to distance themselves from local manufacturers such as Great Wall Motor or Jiangling Motors Corp and attract Chinese premium car buyers, as reported by Autonews.

"The people who buy the Raptor maybe own some other premium vehicle already," added Liu. "This is another toy." He also said that the F-150 Raptor is aimed at four types of buyers: the wealthy, business owners, drivers who want a single car for all situations and pure truck fans.

As of right now, pickups only make up a tiny fraction of China's market, or about 1.4%. In contrast, truck sales in the US are forecast at 2.7 million units, or about 15% of the market.

"China's pickup truck market will be very large in the future," said Yan Ningya, an official involved in the Hebei pilot project, while also adding that domestic brands could in fact upgrade their trucks in order to meet the expectations of middle-class buyers.


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