With about 25 million vehicles sold in 2015, the "Middle Empire" is the world's biggest automotive market. Although that may sound a lot, we must remember that the purchase of a car in China is still reserved for a privileged elite, even today. And when two-thirds of Chinese customers – many of them young people – go into a showroom, they are buying their first car.
The Renault teams, in partnership with the Donfeng Renault Automotive Company (DRAC), pinpointed potential reasons for dissatisfaction by Chinese customers. Three of these have been seriously taken into account.
The Chinese are highly sensitive to noise – of whatever kind. They see cars as a way of getting about while remaining cut off from the surrounding sound and bustle. That is why this topic was observed very closely on the Chinese version of Kadjar. The thickness of the insulation was increased and another four rounds of foam were inserted into the door panels. The storage box in the boot was upgraded because the separation panels were not wide enough, which gave rise to some movement and therefore to unwanted noise. As a result, the size of the panels was increased.
In a country where atmospheric pollution is a real nuisance, people are particularly sensitive to unpleasant smells. So the cabin of a car is expected to smell particularly pleasant, with no unwanted odours.
After an internal survey, later confirmed by JD Power, the Groupe Renault teams are currently carrying out an in-depth analysis to determine sources of smell that could be potentially disturbing to Chinese customers. To solve one aspect of the problem, the technical specifications of the floor mats have been altered so that their smell is less pronounced. In addition, new materials and different types of glue should be used in forthcoming models aimed at the Chinese market.
Because the Chinese are very fond of exterior signs of social success, luxury vehicles are highly valued. Moreover, the driver is often a chauffeur, so a second row of seats is essential. Kadjar China was no exception to the rule, and the finishings were also the subject of particular care and attention. For instance, a few extra touches of chrome can be seen on the centre console. The seats are softer, to satisfy customers who like sharing their vehicle with their families, but who also enjoy being driven around and taking advantage of the comfort of the rear bench seat. These elements should appeal to the Chinese, many more of whom will, in all probability, opt for a Kadjar with leather upholstery than European buyers. Leather is more exclusive, more opulent, and therefore better suited to the Chinese market.