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Budget SUVs eye young explorers


SUV in China is previously stereotyped as big, bulky, expensive imported brands, such as BMW X5 and Audi Q7, which are not for most young professionals. But some home brands have detected business potential in this young explorer segment and begun to capitalize on it.

Liuzhou Motor Co, a subsidiary company of China's major auto group Dongfeng, is among those who focus on this customer group. It has recently launched a budget SUV Joyear X5, targeting those adventurers who love outdoor activities, yet cannot afford a luxury model. Its price starts at 79,000 yuan, and the best-equipped model costs slightly above 100,000 yuan.

Joyear is not the first one to tap this market, though. Great Wall Motors have launched its budget SUV model Haval years ago which later became its best-seller. It also invented the ˇ°city SUVˇ± concept which kept the space and high chassis of traditional SUVs, but eliminated some features to make it cheaper.

As the competition among sedans intensifies and the profit margin diminishes, more home automakers have turned to SUVs and MPVs for better returns. For instance, Liuzhou Motors have launched various niche products such as Joyear XL and Lingzhi V3. This strategy paid back quickly. Last year the average growth rate of passenger cars in China is less than 10 percent, yet the passenger car delivery of Liuzhou Motors grew by 34 percent year-on-year.



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