Cars from China's BYD

Foreign manufacturers have had a strong presence in the United States' new car market for decades now. Germany, Japan and Korea produce vehicles that many consumers find as appealing as our domestic offerings, if not more so. Those countries have had lots of time to win favor among American consumers, while other countries have yet to make a dent on our car-buying radar. That could change more quickly than one might think, however, as a new study by GfK Automotive shows that younger car shoppers are willing to explore cars made in countries other than the ones previously mentioned.

According to GfK, only 38 percent of U.S. car shoppers are open to a Chinese brand. That figure drops to 30 percent for a vehicle from an Indian manufacturer. However, looking at younger consumers, 52 percent of Gen Y car shoppers say they would be willing to take a look at a Chinese automobile, and 41 percent would consider an Indian-made vehicle. Conversely, America's Baby Boomers are less likely to give a chance to vehicle made in India or China, with 22 and 29 percent (respectively) giving those countries a thumbs up.

Still, those are more promising figures for Chinese and Indian automakers than we might've expected. Built and priced correctly and given the right marketing, China and India could have a waiting group of shoppers ready to take a chance on a new face in America's car park. Click past the jump to read the full press release and let us know if you think you'd be ready to go Chinese or Indian in our poll below.


Would you consider buying a car from a Chinese or Indian automaker?
Yes, I would2273 (14.1%)
No, I would not11605 (72.2%)
I would consider a Chinese brand, but not an Indian brand829 (5.2%)
I would consider an Indian brand, but not a Chinese brand1377 (8.6%)
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New Automakers on The Block - Indian and Chinese Automakers Must Overcome Obstacles to Gain Market Share Among American Consumers

Only one-third of potential buyers open to Indian and Chinese manufacturers, compared to 95 percent for US manufacturers


NEW YORK, August 18, 2011 – As a wave of new models from Chinese and Indian auto manufacturers, including BYD, Mahindra and Tata, are poised to debut in the United States in the coming months, researchers from GfK Automotive found that significant barriers exist for these automakers to gain market share among American consumers.

GfK's Barometer of Automotive Awareness and Imagery Study found that Chinese and Indian automakers could face a similar purchase consideration curve to Korean vehicles when they launched in the US In that case, it took more than 15 years for consumers to significantly increase their consideration to purchase Korean vehicles.

GfK's study found that approximately one-third of consumers intending to purchase a vehicle are open to a Chinese (38 percent) or Indian (30 percent) manufacturer, compared to 95 percent of consumers open to purchasing from a US automaker.

"When a relatively unknown auto brand enters the market, potential buyers are going to have some initial scepticism without a frame of reference into the company's history and differentiators from other brands," said Don DeVeaux, managing director, GfK Automotive. "Quality and repair support are critical factors that potential buyers evaluate before purchasing a new vehicle, and without an established history in the United States, Chinese and Indian manufacturers need to overcome the lack of knowledge of their brands among potential new buyers."

The openness to purchasing a Chinese and Indian vehicle is highest among Gen Y consumers, with 52 percent saying they are open to a vehicle from a Chinese automaker and 41 percent saying they are open to a vehicle from an Indian automaker. Openness is lowest among baby boomers, 29 percent of whom said they would be open to purchasing from a Chinese manufacturer and 22 percent said they would purchase from an Indian automaker.

"For Indian and Chinese auto manufacturers to accelerate the adoption curve and build loyalty quicker than Korean automakers did, they must hit the ground running and communicate their story to potential buyers," said DeVeaux. "They need to make consumers comfortable with the brand and secure in their purchase decision by providing their proof points for quality, customer support and technology, as well as demonstrating their commitment to innovation."