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Image courtesy: Twitter@oneplus
Image courtesy: Twitter@oneplus

A OnePlus car? How the smartphone maker is taking lessons from auto market

  • OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei says Porsche have race cars and also have mass-market cars to explain why his company has returned to the mid-range field.
  • Asked about a OnePlus car, Pei says it is hard to forsee what happens after a few years.

The time for traditional giants in both smarpthones as well as automotive industry may be under threat from new players who have not just announced their presence but have carved out a sizeable chunk of market shares around the world. So while Tesla has managed to pip some of the biggest car companies in the world, OnePlus has risen to become the third biggest player in the smartphone business, after Apple and Samsung. The company has been launching high-end products for some time now but recently returned to offering a capable mid-ranger courtesy the Nord.

What prompted the Chinese phone maker to return to the mid-range field? The answer may be in lessons learnt from the automotive sector.

In a recent interview with UK's Wired, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei made several references to the automotive sector when asked about the company's plans and thought process behind offering a budget phone once again. Asked if OnePlus would move away from flagships if Nord makes more money for the company, Pei referred to Porsche explain the strategy. "Some consumers want the latest and greatest and some just want a device that works and has a great day-to-day user experience, so why not do both? And why would we want to move away from flagships? It’s like asking Porsche to move away from their race car DNA," he said.

Comparing flagships to performance cars, Pei further said that people can have varying needs when asked if it is getting hard to justify flagships. "I don’t think it’s an issue, because you can see it in other consumer categories. Look at cars, for instance. There’s a lot of people who want performance cars because they are performance cars. And, like, even Porsche. They have high-performance cars, but they also have more mass-market cars. So I think it’s not a conflict," he said.

It was but obvious that Pei would be asked whether OnePlus has plans of going into the automotive industry, considering he had made references to it several times. "It’s probably not on the cards for the next couple of years, but then it’s really hard to foresee what happens after that," he said, adding that smartphones would remain 'the most important category for mankind in the next couple of years at least.'

Yes, the smartphone and car businesses may be poled apart but there are also certain uncanny similarities which just cannot be overlooked. Much like tech updates in phones, car makers are also loading up vehicles with the latest gadgets and gizmos. Facelifts are becoming increasingly common and dominating the market is not just a privilege for established players.

Car launches are also fast moving to digital platforms in Covid times - much like phone launches - while post-sales network in terms of service centres and workshops are as crucial as ever to ensure sales remain robust. The key - whether in the car-selling business or the business of smartphones - is to constantly adapt to the needs and aspirations of buyers while offering relevant products across the spectrum.

Source credit: Wired

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