The two most popular specialized automobile forums in China are autohome and Xcar. Most automobile-related conversations happen on these two sites. As the two sites compete with each other, many netizens compare them when they are seeking information about cars. However, if we dig deeper, we can find that netizens’ real understanding of the two forums are different.
Chinese netizens regard Xcar a professional forum, while autohome is considered a forum for regular consumers. Autohome specializes in family car forums, interactive activities and clubs for engaging ordinary car buyers. Xcar is positioned as a professional forum for “automobile geeks” who use automobile industry lingo and come to the site for the latest information.
For example, more people post and get information on Lamborghinis on Xcar than on autohome, while there are many more pageviews regarding Toyota related information on autohome.
That being said, several netizens are members of both sites, so it’s hard to say which forum has more registered accounts.
Although it’s considered a professional forum, more cars on the road have the Xcar Fan Club sticker on them than autohome. Some netizens who have the Xcar stickers say they appear more professional. In fact, both autohome and Xcar have specialized fan clubs, like the Focus and Mazda fan clubs, but Xcar offers more high-end fan clubs, like one for Harley Davidson.
While there are other websites, such as Sina automobile, specialized in automobile related news, and Biauto, specialized in secondhand car dealing services, netizens prefer autohome and Xcar because “others feel too official… they are not for netizens to share information, interact, or even make friends with people who love the same kinds of cars or brands; autohome and Xcar are more like lifestyle forums.”