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

According to the World Automobile Organization, world car ownership reached 1.5 billion in 2021, of which China has more than 300 million cars, accounting for 20% of the world car ownership.

At the same time, China has grown to the size of the world's largest single market, with its current sales share already 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 kind of manufacturing is manual manufacturing, characterized by not seeking efficiency but seeking uniqueness. It all depends on the technician’s experience and proficiency with the tools. Even in modern times, Rolls-Royce cars stick to being completely handcrafted. Rather than relying on an assembly line, each step of the manufacturing process is performed by a dedicated individual who carefully moves the body to the next work area once the task is complete.

The second kind of manufacturing is mass manufacturing, which includes large-scale high-volume production, large-scale small-batch production, and mass-customized production. The manufacturing line is the peak of mass manufacturing and also the most important sign of modernization. 

The third kind of manufacturing is that the product after production is not the final form, but more like a semi-finished product. It needs dealers, refitting 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 shifts some of the factory's processes backward, with assembly and manufacturing occurring after the sale is completed.

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

For automakers, this may seem easier. But in fact, it requires a change in the traditional design philosophy: not only the perfection of the product itself but also leaving room for subsequent modifications. For example, according to the previous design thinking, the door gaps of the front and rear doors of the car tailgate should ideally be tightly sealed, to obtain a sense of quality. However, if you consider the subsequent users may apply films on their own, and if the door gap is too small, it is hard to close the edges when attaching the film. 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.

To sum up, it is a trend of the younger generation to pursue personalization of their cars, which involves customizing the exterior to their preferences and even completely overhauling the interior. 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 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' capacity for low-volume production can satisfy the demands for customized, small-batch car parts in a timely and cost-efficient manner. The modification needs to be undertaken by modification factories or brands that must be customized, personalized, and few. The production needs are very suitable for the small-batch processing 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.