FYI 2.03.2010

McDonald's Unveils New Look in Shenzhen and Dongfeng Plans to Launch a Hybrid in China This Year

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Twenty years after entering China, McDonald's has returned to its roots in the mainland to relaunch its image there. At McDonald's Guanghua restaurant at Dongmen in Shenzhen, a booming economic zone in southern China, the fast food chain unveiled the style it has created to make its restaurants a more inviting hang-out.

McDonald's new image at the Guanghua restaurant
McDonald's new image at the Guanghua restaurant
The Guanghua restaurant was McDonald's first site in China, and is one of the first locations to reflect the new modern interior.

The restaurant has cozy seating to encourage customers to linger, free Wi-Fi and free McCafe refills. Special promotions and new menu items are served by restaurant crew members wearing more contemporary uniforms.

McDonald's decided to overhaul the look of its restaurants in China in an effort to raise flagging sales cost-conscious consumers have turned to cheaper local alternatives.

Kenneth Chan in Shenzhen
Kenneth Chan in Shenzhen
In addition to extending the look into McDonald's existing restaurants, the company is breaking a new ad campaign, ""Make room for Happiness," and announced plans to open 150 to 175 new restaurants this year, including more drive-through outlets. McDonald's will also add more McCafes in key cities and next month is the opening of a Chinese campus of McDonald's Hamburger University.

McDonald's will "increase our capital investment by about 25% over last year," said Kenneth Chan, the company's CEO, China in Shanghai. "We're making a big investment this year to provide our customers with the most relevant, convenient experience."

Dongfeng Motor Corp., a leading state-owned automaker, plans to launch a hybrid and a crossover later this year to expand its lineup of passenger vehicles, company executives said.

Both models will be built on Dongfeng's existing mid-sized car platform, said Li Chunrong, VP in charge of sales and marketing at Dongfeng's passenger vehicle plant.

The hybrid will be launched in the first half of this year and the crossover in the second half.

Dongfeng, a leading commercial vehicle maker on the domestic market, is still a new player in the passenger vehicle sector. Last week, the company started selling its second own-brand car, the H30 hatchback in the southwest China city of Chengdu. The car shares its platform with Dongfeng's first own-brand car, the mid-sized S30 sedan.
--by Geraldine Guo at Automotive News China

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