Full-sized ve­hi­cle seg­ment is on the rise

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Holiday - By LI FUSHENG li­fusheng@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Large SUVs and MPVs, de­spite their small vol­ume in China, are grad­u­ally gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in the coun­try, at­tract­ing for­eign and do­mes­tic car­mak­ers to en­rich their line­ups with such mod­els.

The full-sized SUV seg­ment is on the rise, as the ve­hi­cles serve the needs of Chi­nese cus­tomers who want more room and a com­mand­ing seat­ing po­si­tion, said Volk­swa­gen China Pas­sen­ger Cars Brand.

One ex­am­ple is Volk­swa­gen’s Ter­a­mont, a full-sized SUV made by the Ger­man car­maker’s joint ven­ture SAIC Volk­swa­gen. More than 60,000 were de­liv­ered in the first eight months of 2018, one of the big­gest suc­cess sto­ries for the Volk­swa­gen brand in China.

Con­fi­dent in the Chi­nese mar­ket, Volk­swa­gen is ex­pand­ing its SUV port­fo­lio to more than 10 mod­els by 2020.

“We will ex­pand in all SUV types, in­clud­ing the full-sized mod­els. On top of that, we may also have an idea or two for more MPV-like body styles,” said the com­pany in an e-mail to China Daily.

Volk­swa­gen is also ob­serv­ing a fast rise in its MPV sales in the coun­try. Its Touran sales grew more than 30 per­cent from Jan­uary to Au­gust, to­tal­ing

mil­lion 27,000 units. Its Sha­ran, which is avail­able as a six and seven seater, now sees China as a main mar­ket glob­ally.

“There is a sub­stan­tial cus­tomer group for MPVs. These cus­tomers are even more ori­en­tated to­ward prac­ti­cal­ity. For that rea­son the MPV also has more com­mer­cial users,” the com­pany said.

Other for­eign car­mak­ers in­clud­ing GM and Honda have also been suc­cess­ful in the high-end MPV mar­ket.

Sales of the Buick GL8 from Jan­uary to Au­gust went up 7.5 per­cent year-on-year to 98,875 units, and Honda’s Odyssey saw its sales up 26.3 per­cent year-on-year to 28,690 units for the same pe­riod, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from the China Pas­sen­ger Car As­so­ci­a­tion.

With its Buick GL8 be­ing one of the most pop­u­lar busi­ness choices, GM is of­fer­ing the smaller GL6 that is de­signed to meet fam­ily use.

Bao Ye, a Buick sales chief, said 40 per­cent of Chi­nese grand­par­ents take care of their grand­chil­dren, but more of­ten than not they will be ab­sent from fam­ily trips be­cause of lim­ited seat space.

“Our six-seat Buick GL6 is tar­geted at such fam­i­lies, en­abling them to travel to­gether,” said Bao when the MPV was un­veiled last year.

Chi­nese car­mak­ers are revving up their ef­forts as well. BYD’s Song Max, which was launched in late 2017, has proved suc­cess­ful, seiz­ing a top three spot on the list of MPV sales in Au­gust. Geely is ex­pected to in­tro­duce its first MPV in the fourth quar­ter this year.

The China Pas­sen­ger Car As­so­ci­a­tion ex­pects MPV sales to reach 3.5 mil­lion units by 2020 from 2.4 mil­lion units in 2016.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Mod­els stand next to a Volk­swa­gen Ter­a­mont, a full-sized SUV made by the Ger­man car­maker’s joint ven­ture SAIC Volk­swa­gen, at an auto fair in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince, on Sept 12.

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