Asian Consumers Challenging the NVH Performance of European Cars - Implications on the Product Development in the 2020ies 2020-01-1552
Sales of SUV and luxury cars on the largest market of the world - China - are growing at a high rate. The highways in large cities like Beijing or Shanghai are increasingly populated with cars from all over the world like Japan, USA, Europe and Korea and even some refined domestic brands. More than 10 million rich people can afford those cars and are skilled drivers. This huge group of potential consumers is targeted by luxury brand OEMs and by startup companies. It has been understood that these people have a high expectation of comfort. The twistbeam rear axle was replaced by multilink, double clutch transmissions were improved by comfort-mode drive programs, interior trims raised to Western standard performance levels, tyres specially developed for comfort in China, localized insulation materials and packages engineered to a one vehicle class higher level. The European avant-garde is capable of such high levels of complete vehicle NVH performance, whereas premium brands often compromise NVH with respect to high vehicle dynamics performance and passive safety requirements. Furthermore, the preference of Chinese consumers by long vehicles as a symbol of status and flaunting their riches, can also be consider a challenge for NVH performance. A longer wheelbase will require stiffer body and chassis structure to keep the ride comfort and squeak & rattle performance - to be more developed later on in the paper. At the same time Asian cars from Korea or Japan are sometimes outperforming the Europeans in terms of comfort. In future and in combination with the next evolution level of electrification and driving assistance the acceptable level of NVH annoyance will be reduced to a radically low threshold. In order to overcome the gap between this new threshold and current performances adjustments in vehicle specifications and the process to achieve those need to be implemented. The main focus is on powertrain noise, ride comfort and vibrations, rolling noise and wind noises and the overall NVH quality impression, e.g. of the door closing sound. The paper points out, which technical specifications are imperative for a good consumer reception and describes the processes that are needed for target achievement.