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经济学人:中土王国汽车制造商 一朝得志

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China's carmakers

中土王国汽车制造商
Zoom, zoom, splutter
一朝得志,语无伦次
SAIC's domestic brands are unloved—a problem shared across the industry
上汽集团的国内品牌不受消费者欢迎,然而,这却是整个产业所遇到的问题
CHINA'S biggest carmaker does not seem to be doing so badly, a first glance at SAIC's third quarter results on October 30th would suggest. Net profits rose by nearly 5% compared with a year earlier, to 6.8 billion yuan ($1.1 billion). But SAIC, like the country's many other domestic car firms, is not firing on all cylinders and is far from living up to the hopes the government has invested in the state giant.
上汽集团在10月30日发布了本年第三季度报,乍一看之下,这家全中土王国最大汽车制造商的成绩似乎还过得去:与去年同期相比,净利润增长约5%,达到了68亿元人民币(约11亿美元)。然而,就像中土王国国内其余众多厂商一样,上汽集团不仅没有开足马力进行生产,同时也辜负了政府对这家汽车业国营巨头的期待。

SAIC makes a quarter of the vehicles that crawl along the country's congested roads. In the third quarter it sold 1.3m cars, 9% more than a year earlier. Overall Chinese demand, tempered by a cooling economy, grew by just 4%. But SAIC's success was mostly due not to cars bearing its own badges, but Volkswagen and General Motors models, made in factories jointly operated with these two Western giants.

目前,在中土王国拥挤不堪的道路上,有四分之一的轿车是上汽集团生产的。在本年第三季度期间,该企业共卖出了1300万辆轿车,比去年同期高出了9%。而相比之下,由于受到了经济下行的影响,今年中土王国汽车总需求量仅增长了4%。但上汽集团斐然的成果,不是由自家品牌所贡献出来的,而是通过与德国大众(Volkswagen)以及美国通用汽车(General Motors)这两大西方巨头的联合,在合资企业里所推出的车型当中取得的。
Foreign carmakers were forced to collaborate with Chinese ones as the price for entering what is now the world's largest automotive market. SAIC's partnerships with VW and GM are flourishing, as are the other Chinese-foreign joint ventures. The government had hoped that, by now, domestic firms would have absorbed all they needed to know from the foreigners about making and selling world-class cars, and be ready to get by without them.
要进入中土王国这个目前全球最大的汽车销售市场,得付出一定的准入代价:外国汽车制造商必须要与本土厂商成立合资企业来进行生产销售。不仅是上汽集团正与大众、通用合作无间,其他中外合资车厂也呈现出欣欣向荣的态势。中土王国政府本期待着现在国内制造商们已经学习吸收了一切必备的外来经验技术,并且已经做好了自力更生的准备以生产“世界级”轿车,但事情不尽如人意。
But the success of the joint ventures has made the Chinese firms complacent. They have failed to develop their own technology, styling or marketing capability. SAIC has long been losing money on its own-brand cars, which sell under badges such as Roewe and MG (the latter a faded British brand it bought along with other parts of the collapsed Rover Group). In the latest quarter the losses rose sharply, to around 2 billion yuan. A vicious circle has set in: the poor financial performance of Chinese firms' own brands has sapped their will to invest in research and development to improve their performance on the road and in the showrooms. Little wonder, then, that Chinese motorists spurn pleas for patriotism and covet foreign-badged motors.
然而,合资企业的成功已经让中土王国制造商们欣喜不已。他们没有成功地发展出自己的生产技术、设计风格以及市场推广体系。在自有品牌的车型上,上汽集团已经损失了很多资金,其中包括“荣威”(Roewe)和“名爵”(MG,一个已经没落了的英国品牌),后者是上汽集团在“路虎”(Rover Group)破产之时一并买入的汽车牌子之一。在最近一季期间,上述部分的亏损额迅猛增加,达到了20亿元人民币。这是一个恶性循环:国产品牌的表现越差,中土王国制造商就越不愿意投入资金以提高技术研发能力,或者提高国产车无论是在行驶中还是在汽车展厅当中的表现。这也就能解释了,为何中土王国司机们会唾弃在驾驶上的展现爱国主义情怀的机会,反倒是极力推崇外国品牌的轿车。
The government has tried to fix the problem by pressing the foreign carmakers to work with the locals to create new brands combining international flair with Chinese characteristics. So far this has made little difference: Chinese brands account for only about one-third of domestic sales, and their share continues to dwindle.
中土王国政府想要通过强迫外国制造商与本土企业的合作来解决上述问题,希望能够创造出一批新的品牌,一批能够把国际上的优点与中土王国特色相结合的品牌。迄今为止,以上努力近乎徒劳,国产牌子的汽车仅占中土王国国内汽车销售的三分之一,而且该市场份额还在缩小。
Chinese vehicles have not travelled well. Exports, mostly to poor countries where drivers care about price more than image, were fewer than 600,000 in 2013, 10% lower than the year before. SAIC's hopes that Rover Group's brands and technology would help it do better in rich countries have yet to be met. Three years after it relaunched the MG brand in Britain, it is selling just a few hundred cars a month there. Likewise Geely, a smaller Chinese maker, has yet to see much benefit from buying Volvo of Sweden.
中土王国汽车的发展目前仍是处于“菜鸟”阶段。2013年全年汽车出口量已经不足60万,与前年同期相比下降了10%,而出口的汽车大部分是运往贫困国家。相比于外观而言,当地的消费者更在意的是价格。上汽集团希望能通过“路虎”旗下的品牌和技术,来提升自己在发达国家的市场地位,而这一想法还有待实现。三年前,上汽集团在英国重新推出了“名爵”汽车,而现在该牌子的销量也仅仅为每月数百辆而已。同样地,较小的中土王国汽车制造商“吉利”汽车,仍未从瑞典沃尔沃(Volvo)汽车收购案当中获得可观的回报。
China's carmakers are still trying to improve. A recent survey from JD Power, a market-research firm, shows that the quality gap with foreign rivals is closing. The Chinese firms are busy hiring Western designers to make their models more distinguished. But like many of its peers, SAIC lacks foreign managers who have the skills to market cars abroad and set up the service networks that buyers expect. No wonder the government's ambition for China to boast two or three world-class car firms, with badges as recognisable as Toyotas or Fords, remains a distant dream.
中土王国汽车制造商仍旧在努力提升自己。最近,一份由市场分析机构JD Power所做的调查显示,中土王国国产品牌汽车与外国对手的质量差距正在逐渐缩小。中土王国厂商们正忙着聘请西方设计师去完成车型的设计,力求“与众不同”。但就像其他许多同行一样,上汽集团缺乏来自国外的管理者,一些能够让汽车进行市场推广走出国门,并且能够建立满足于消费者期待的服务网络的管理者。中土王国政府想要培养出两三个能够生产“殿堂级”汽车的制造商,想要培养出能够跟丰田(Toyota)和福特(Ford)一样家喻户晓的厂商,在如此多的不利因素的作用之下,也难怪这些个“雄心壮志”最后只成了一个“中国梦”。译者:颜士竣
译文属译生译世

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performance [pə'fɔ:məns]

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n. 表演,表现; 履行,实行
n. 性能,本

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capability [.keipə'biliti]

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n. 能力,才能,性能,容量

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quality ['kwɔliti]

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n. 品质,特质,才能
adj. 高品质的

 
rebellion [ri'beljən]

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n. 谋反,叛乱,反抗

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joint [dʒɔint]

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adj. 联合的,共同的,合资的,连带的
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distinguished [di'stiŋgwiʃt]

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dwindle ['dwindl]

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complacent [kəm'pleisnt]

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adj. 满足的,自满的,得意的

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