Recently, the Working Group on Automobile Modification Standards led by China Consumers Association was officially established to improve the Guidelines for the Construction of the Automobile Modification Group Standards System as soon as possible. It will be a vital step for China to promote the legalization of modification cars. This article will discuss the car modification market in China in detail and the inspirations that metal and plastic prototype companies can get from it.

Car modification market in China

The World Automobile Organization figures that 1.5 billion people own automobiles worldwide in 2021, with China having more than 300 million cars, accounting for 20% of the total globally.

Meanwhile, China has grown to the world's largest market, with its current sales share accounting for 30% of the global market, ten percentage points higher than the second-ranked U.S. market. 

Many car owners make modifications to their vehicles to enhance their performance and appearance. These modifications can be categorized into two main types: performance and cosmetic. Performance modifications involve upgrading essential components such as the wheels, suspension, and exhaust system, while cosmetic modifications involve altering features such as stripes and speaker systems to improve the car's aesthetic appeal.

According to the forecast of OICA Foresight Industry Research Institute, with the improvement of China's laws and regulations on car modification, the scale of China's car modification market will grow by 200% in the next five years, from more than 60 billion yuan in present to more than 200 billion yuan.

The global car modification market size is expected to grow at 3.45% from 2022 to 2029, reaching nearly US$ 68.40 million, based on a report from Maximize Market Research.

Three stages of manufacturing

Lin Xueping, a Chinese quality expert, has proposed the third kind of manufacturing. In other words, the manufacturing method of human society will go through three stages of evolution, among which the third stage has a positive influence on the car modification processes.

The first stage of manufacturing is manual manufacturing. Its feature is not seeking efficiency but seeking uniqueness. Manual manufacturing depends on the technician’s experience and proficiency with the tools. Take Rolls-Royce as an example, even in modern times, they insist on entirely handcrafting their cars. Rather than relying on an assembly line, each step of the manufacturing process is completed by an individual. The technician carefully moves the car body to the next work area once the task is finished. People still love this kind of handcrafted product.

The second stage of manufacturing is mass production. It includes large-scale high-volume production, large-scale small-batch production, and mass-customized production. The assembly line is the peakedness of mass production and also the most important sign of modernization. 

The third stage of manufacturing is that after production the product is not the final form, but more like a semi-finished one. It needs dealers, modification plants, and end-users to do their own reprocessing. That is why the third type of manufacturing is also called off-factory or social manufacturing. It leaves some of the factory's processes backward, with assembly and manufacturing done after the sale is completed.

How does "the third stage of manufacturing" affect the car modification industry?

It could seem simpler to automakers. In actuality, though, it necessitates a shift from conventional design thinking, which emphasizes not only the perfection of the product itself but also provides opportunities for future revisions. For example, according to the previous design thinking, the door gaps of the front and back doors of the car tailgate should preferably be tightly sealed. However, if the door gap is too narrow, it is hard to cover the edges when attaching the film since the users might apply the film on their own. So the design should instead leave the door gap slightly larger.

Furthermore, users may replace the car's various parts themselves. The car factory should not be a closed system, but more like a platform, opening its diverse part interfaces to downstream modification factories. In fact, for world-famous car brands, there are already professional modification factories and brands. Together with the original manufacturers, they serve the same group of consumers at different times.

In general, the younger generation is pursuing the trend of personalizing their cars, which might include fully redoing the interior as well as changing the exterior to their preferences. This trend demands a fresh manufacturing force to accommodate these modifications. It represents an entirely new business model and growth trajectory, which is very valuable.

What kind of role should the prototyping company play in "the third stage of manufacturing"? 

The customer group served by the prototyping company is not only the car manufacturers but also the car modification factories and brands and even individuals with modification needs.

New design verification

The prototyping company can assist car manufacturers with validating new designs. When an automaker designs a car for possible subsequent modification needs, the prototyping company needs to be involved and create prototypes for them to verify the rationality of the design before going to mass production. With the help of the prototyping company, possible defects of the new design can be found at an early stage, thus saving costs.

Customized small-batch production

Plastic prototyping companies, with their low-volume production capacities, can manufacture small-batch and customized auto parts timely and cost-effectively to meet market demand. The modification needs to be done by modification factories or brands. It must be customized, personalized, and few. The production needs are very suitable for the small-batch production mode that the metal and plastic prototype companies are good at, such as Reaction Injection Molding (RIM). Its lead time is short as it usually just takes weeks for a prototyping company. The cost is lower than that of the traditional processing method.

Meeting personal modification needs

Plastic prototyping companies are also a suitable option for individualized modification requirements since they can produce custom parts with a minimum order quantity of just one piece. Take me for example, I would turn to a plastic prototype manufacturing company near me for my own modification needs. To find a proper plastic prototype manufacturing company near me, I usually consider its manufacturing capacities, material options, finishing choices, quality, and costs. Trial order is typically the easiest way to determine if the selected plastic prototype manufacturing company near me is the right choice for my needs.

As one of the Shenzhen-based metal and plastic prototype companies, X Rapid Technologies is looking forward to the worldwide progress of the legalization of automobile modification. Together with other plastic prototype companies, we are committed to helping car manufacturers, modification factories, and individuals meet their modification needs. 

Please stay tuned.