Gasgoo.com - The SUV segment is one of the most rapidly growing in the Chinese automobile market, and is one of the most popular among Chinese consumers. Sales growth in the segment has increased from 20.2 percent in 2011, then 15 percent above the market average, to an astounding 49.4 percent in 2013, a full 33.7 above the market average.
SUVs have gained a great deal of popularity for their utility, comfort and ruggedness. A total of 1.17 million SUVs were sold over the first four months of this year, representing year-on-year growth of over 30 percent. That said, SUVs only account for 14 percent of total automobile sales in China. By comparison, SUV sales in the more developed markets in North America and Europe are as high as 35 percent. There is still huge room for development, as demand is at an all-time high.
Automobile manufacturers have taken notice of this, introducing more and more SUV models in China. According to statistics, there were 165 SUV models introduced last year: 69 of those models are brand new models, while 31 are redesigns and 44 variants. Many SUV models brought over to China have also been specifically localized for the country's consumers.
As more and more SUV models have been brought over, competition in the SUV segment has becoming increasingly fierce. In the past few years, Great Wall's Haval SUVs and Honda's CR-Vs were comfortably leading the SUV market in China. However, both Great Wall and Guangqi Honda saw their market shares fall dramatically in the past few months. A slew of offerings from other manufacturers, such as the Changan CS75, Changan Ford Kuga, Changan Ford EcoSport, BMW X4, Volvo XC60 and Infiniti Q50, have all gained considerable success in the country.
A major trend in the SUV segment has been increasing diversification. Compact SUVs in particular has been making noticeable strides in the market. They have gained praise due to offering lower emissions and more affordable prices than traditional SUVs; they have also benefited from a higher field of vision and more safety features when compared to sedans. Both own brand manufacturers and foreign brands are scrambling to release new compact SUV models. The Dongfeng Peugeot 2008, Chevrolet Trax, Beijing Hyundai ix25, Jeep Renegade, Great Wall Haval H2 and Lifan X50 all made their respective market debuts this year alone
Studies show that the majority of SUV owners are second-time buyers. A primary motivation for buyers are more spacious interiors that are more suitable for families. However, with fuel prices becoming more of a sticking price, it remains to be seen how long the SUV craze in China will last for.