As we go on with our lives, it can be easy to forget how many of our perceptions are formed through the influence of blind chance and the opinions of people around us. For businesses, this is a constant factor to contend with, and one that is often difficult to control.

The desire to control it is the great driver behind product design and marketing. The dichotomy and frequent disconnect between brand image and brand perception has caused many sleepless nights to CEOs; the countless hours and resources that companies invest into advertising, research and product design are an attempt to form a brand image that will influence public perception. This is always an uncertain process, since it's impossible to completely predict what people will see when they look at your brand. To a company trying to expand its market share, this is both a hazard and an opportunity.

The experiences of foreign automobile manufacturers in China, and the vagaries of their fortunes over the past two decades, as the hunger of Chinese consumers for modern conveniences have made the country the world's biggest auto market.

A strong emerging market provided Western automakers with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape their brands for an automotive culture that had not yet solidified in its perceptions and stereotypes. This meant that existing marketing strategies had to go out the window: Buick, for example, has a well-set reputation in America as a car for retirees; in China, however, the brand has established a strong luxury cachet, and is now moving hundreds of thousands units to young buyers in that country.

The different paths taken by Audi and BMW are also instructive, and show the importance of foresight. Both brands cater to the mid-range luxury market; however, Volkswagen signed an agreement with a Chinese auto maker as early as 1988 to begin building Audis on the mainland. This has allowed the company to secure significant market penetration at a time when foreign vehicles were still a novelty on Chinese shores. High-ranking government officials flocked to procure Audis as a not-too-flashy sign of status, and today, make up a large and reliable percentage of Audi's clientele.

BMW, however, was late to the game, only securing a Chinese manufacturing facility in 2003. As a result, owning a BMW is seen as a much more risque statement than an Audi; government officials tend to shun the brand, in order to avoid perceptions of corruption.

As the market for vehicles grows, so will demand for car-related services. Businesses that cater to drivers, such as auto shipping companies, will have to vie for market share and consumer attention in a competitive industry. For now, the sight of an auto shipping truck is a relatively uncommon sight on the highways of China, but this will soon change as consumer activity and mobility remains high.

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The author of this article has expertise in auto shipping companies. The articles on auto shipping rates reveals the author’s knowledge on the same. The author has written many articles on auto shipping quote as well.