Ferrari, Audi, Porsche Move into New Fields in China

Luxury vehicle brands began to drive towards new fields in China. Italian sports car manufacturer Ferrari opened its first official clothing online store on China’s e-commerce platform Taobao. The most expensive item is a gray women’s mid-length trench coat, priced at 44,500 yuan ($6,187), and will begin pre-sales on October 24, which is also the first day of pre-sales for this year’s Double Eleven Shopping Festival in China.

Currently, there are 186 items on sale in the store, including clothing, accessories and bags, with prices ranging from 630 yuan to 44,500 yuan. There are only 4,283 fans but the sales of most products has been rather paltry. In June last year, Ferrari officially entered the fashion industry by announcing the launch of its first high-end clothing line which includes menswear, womenswear and accessories.

The trench coat priced at 44,500 yuan (Source: Ferrari)

Ferrari’s financial report for the second quarter of 2022 shows that the company delivered 3,455 vehicles to the world, a year-on-year increase of 28.7%, of which the delivery in Chinese market witnessed a year-on-year increase of 116%. Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna has said previously at the company’s annual general meeting that the global demand for luxury goods is growing, and Ferrari’s goal is to double its annual revenue in the next five years by betting on that space. However, most comments posted by Chinese netizens on the new clothing store were negative, while some of them advocated supporting Chinese products.

Ferrari is not the first car manufacturer to switch to other fields. In the past two years, more and more non-automobile manufacturers have begun to build vehicles, while these same manufacturers have begun to invest in other fields.

In June last year, Audi’s running shoe lineup, quattro sneakers, officially went on sale. In the same year, Mercedes-Benz launched its 2021 autumn and winter popular fashion series clothing – Mercedes Originals.

Although Porsche has not launched its own clothing line, it is ahead of many brands in boutique sales. Launched back in 1972, the Porsche Design brand is known for selling accessories such as sunglasses, pens and watches.

Previously, Porsche launched a “Chinese standard” stainless steel kitchen knife, which caused some discussion. In addition to the “pointy handle” that the public didn’t like, its price – $240 – also raised some eyebrows. On its official website, Porsche described the Knife P22 China as “Indispensable for the Oriental Kitchen. 17.3cm, 320g.” Some netizens called it a money-grab and a swindle, while others said they’d like to collect it.

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According to Chinese media outlet NBS Caijing, luxury brands are busy exploring new fields, but behind the effort is a combination of brand marketing, psychological marketing, fan marketing, and commercial purposes. However, someone thought that this was a signal that these luxury brands were targeting the lower-end market.

Another question that some have asked is: who buys these products launched by luxury brands? According to NBS Caijing, the target customer groups of these products includes mainly loyal users, fans, professional buyers, industry practitioners, and scalpers.

In addition, in the Chinese market, automobile startups have also been very active in working with clothing brands in recent years. Geely-backed Lynk & Co, with the younger crowd as its main target, not only launched sports car models, but also worked with Anta to launch basketball shoes with Lynk & Co’s unique color matching. NIO has cooperated with Li-Ning to launch 11 products including clothing, bags and shoes.