CHONGQING, China (Reuters) - China’s indigenous automotive brands lack pricing power and lag established global brands in major market segments such as sedans, challenges that are slowing their otherwise rapid ascent in the world's biggest auto market, an industry executive said.
"Even as Chinese local brand cars experience rapid growth and progress, there are some relatively big competitive pressures," Zhu Huarong, President of Chongqing Changan Automobile Co <000625.SZ>, told the Global Automotive Forum, a two-day industry conference that opened on Monday in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing.
Zhu’s words of caution come as global automakers are increasingly concerned about a steady market share loss to Chinese brands at a time when the overall market's growth is slowing.
Chinese brands held 31.4 percent share of the Chinese passenger auto market last year, rising nearly 2 percentage points since 2013, according to data compiled by Changan.
But in the more mature and competitive sedan market, Chinese brand market share has fallen from 27 percent four years ago to 18.7 percent in the first four months of this year, Changan's data shows.
Chinese brands also struggle to command a price premium, with a 62 percent market share for local brand cars in the 80,000 yuan ($12,187.32) price range dropping to single digits at the 100,000 yuan mark.
Chongqing Changan Automobile Co has a joint venture in China with Ford Motor Co <F.N>.
Nissan Motor Co’s <7201.T> China chief Jun Seki told Reuters on the sidelines of the Beijing auto show in April that the Japanese automaker underestimated the competitive power of Chinese auto brands which steadily stole market share from global brands starting three to four years ago.
($1 = 6.5642 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Jake Spring, Writing by Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)