Chinese SUV brands have long been perceived as less safe and less desirable than Western brands, but a new study finds that, thanks to technological integration and more premium marketing, they are shaking off prejudice.

This is according to a study by Brand Finance, which finds that in particular WEY is considered both more “stylish” and more “cool” than Land Rover. It has done this, Brand Finance says, by targeting a slightly higher income segment using better technology and more differentiated, premium marketing than the typically middle to low-end market that most Chinese SUV brands target.

“Chinese brands have struggled to extend overseas largely because – at their price point – they have been seen as less safe and less desirable alternatives to Western brands,” said Alex Haigh, Auto Industry Director at Brand Finance.

The situation is changing. “WEY – which has a specific objective to expand overseas – appears to be breaking this mould. We may therefore start to see their models become as much a staple of not only Chinese but also European and American motorways as Toyotas and Volkswagens are today.”

Though international brands tend to score better on comfort, prestige, and technology, the perception of Chinese brands among younger consumers is increasing in part thanks to an awareness of their technical quality. Similarly, many aspirational Chinese consumers who would once have traded up to a Western brand are increasingly choosing to buy native brands.

“The key to breaking through into more premium segments is improving brand perceptions to move away from a competition on price,” Haigh stated.

“In the SUV segment, customers are mainly looking for spacious, reliable and high-tech brands. Whether a product is made overseas or made in China is actually the least important consideration for customers.”

Sourced from Brand Finance