On October 10, according to domestic media reports, Pan Jianxin, the current deputy general manager of Dongfeng Honda, has been promoted to executive vice president of Dongfeng Honda, becoming the new Chinese leader of Dongfeng Honda. Pan Jianxin, a graduate of Shanghai Jiaotong University, became deputy general manager of Dongfeng Honda in 2018, responsible for sales, according to public information.
This appointment has long been ominous. On August 10, according to domestic media reports, a meeting of cadres within Dongfeng Honda announced that Zheng Chunkai would no longer serve as the executive deputy general manager of Dongfeng Honda and would be transferred to Dongfeng Honda engine Co., Ltd. to become chairman. Pan Jianxin, deputy general manager of Dongfeng Honda, temporarily presided over the work.
Insiders said Zheng Chunkai retired to the second tier because of his age, but he was three years younger than Zhu Yanfeng, the retired chairman of Dongfeng Motor Group. Therefore, industry insiders believe that the slow transformation of Dongfeng Honda electrification and the decline in overall sales are the main reasons for Zheng Chunkai's departure.
Data show that Zheng Chunkai, 59, graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University, then joined Dongfeng Company, engaged in diesel engine research and development, and then served as deputy chief engineer of Dongfeng Motor Company's diesel engine factory. In July 2011, Zheng Chunkai served as Deputy General Manager of Dongfeng passenger car Company, responsible for manufacturing and quality management. In November 2017, Dongfeng Honda announced that Zheng Chunkai succeeded Chen Binbo as executive deputy general manager of Dongfeng Honda, becoming the third Chinese leader of Dongfeng Honda.
Relevant data show that from 2018 to 2022, Dongfeng Honda's terminal market sales were 697000, 789000, 820000, 793000 and 652000 respectively. Judging from the development process of Dongfeng Honda, after Zheng Chunkai became the leader of Dongfeng Honda, sales increased year by year from 2018 to 2020, especially under the influence of the global epidemic in 2020, Dongfeng Honda instead created a sales peak. however, with the electrification and intelligent transformation, Dongfeng Honda, as a traditional joint venture company, lost its market advantage. Even if the launch includes a new generation of CR-V, a new generation of Civic, a new generation of XR-V, a new generation of Esquire and other models, sewing and mending product performance can no longer restore consumer recognition. In the first half of 2023, Dongfeng Honda sold 227000 vehicles, down 32.8% from a year earlier.
In order to reverse the decline in sales, Zheng Chunkai was also actively promoting the transformation of electrified strategy when he was in charge of Dongfeng Honda, but with little success. According to the official website, Dongfeng Honda is currently selling only two pure electric models, e:NS1 and M-NV, of which e:NS1 was launched in April 2022 and positioned as a small pure electric SUV with a subsidised price range of 17.5-218000 yuan. Retail data show that cumulative e:NS1 sales in the first half of 2023 were 2882. As for the M-NV, which belongs to Dongfeng Honda Siming, the new M-NV went on sale at the 2023 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Auto Show at a price of 14.98-159800 yuan. The sales of this model can not be queried, obviously very bleak.
Whatever the reason, after taking over as the Chinese leader of Dongfeng Honda, Pan Jianxin is facing the arduous task of Dongfeng Honda electrification transformation.
On July 16, Dongfeng Honda announced that the proportion of electrification will reach more than 50% by 2025, no new fuel cars will be put into use after 2027, and more than 10 pure electric models will be launched by 2030. When Dongfeng Honda's new energy layout is further improved, it will compete directly with BYD.
On the evening of Sept. 21, Dongfeng Honda unveiled its new independent brand "Lingzhi", which will have an independent brand LOGO, and the first model, "Lingzhi L" concept car, will be put into mass production in 2024. No matter from brand positioning to product design, the "Lingzhi" brand wants to make a clear distinction with the existing e:NS pure electricity brand, and the products are more prominent and younger, but how the Lingzhi brand without Honda halo performs in the end market can not be answered until the Lingzhi L mass production version is put on the market.
The establishment of new energy sub-brands by joint venture car enterprises is a measure in line with the development trend of the market and helps to enhance competitiveness. However, for a number of joint venture brands such as Dongfeng Honda, it is not easy to gain a foothold in China's new energy vehicle market, and it may be easy to set up sub-brands, but it is uncertain whether they will succeed. Of course, for Dongfeng Honda, the courage to maintain keen insight and adaptability in the ever-changing market is at least the first step, but what is more important is to strengthen its own innovation ability and create competitive products and technology. only in this way can we gain a foothold in the fierce market competition and further gain more share.
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