Shanghai Auto Show 2013: Chinese Consumers, Like Americans, Want Giant, Gas-Sucking SUVs If They Can Afford Them
By Angelo Young | April 23, 2013 1:04 AM EST
The nine-day Shanghai auto show kicked off over the weekend in the world’s largest and fastest-growing auto market, showcasing SUVs and luxury sedans that are being embraced by the growing numbers of wealthier Chinese consumers.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) is promoting its larger, fancier Lincoln brand of vehicles, which the company is bringing to China next year.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is unveiling its new Cadillac XTS and its newly styled Cadillac SRX SUV and has said it plans to release nine SUV models in China over the next five years.
Chrysler LLC, a subsidiary of Italian company Fiat SpA (Milan:F), has said it is opening a plant in the southern city of Changsha to make Jeep Cherokees.
Not to be outdone by the foreigners, all major Chinese automakers such as BYD Auto Co., Ltd., FAW Group and Dongfeng Motor Corporation have unveiled their own less costly SUVs.
“Our focus is on luxury vehicles and SUVs going forward,” Bob Socia, president of GM China told the New York Times.
This is not music to the ears of Chinese government officials, who have been promoting policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions and the country’s overall oil consumption though a series of incentives and tariffs in the marketplace. For example, the country charges hefty premiums on cars with engines larger than 4 liters.
But consumers are buying nonetheless.
SUV sales in China grew 49 percent in March compared to the previous year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Meanwhile, the country’s demand for electric vehicles is virtually a blip. SAIC Motor, which builds its owns cars and has a manufacturing partnership with GM, has sold only about 200 of its Roewe E50 electric vehicles since its debut in November, even with a government-backed purchase subsidy amounting to 55 percent of the car’s 234,900-yuan ($37,996) sticker price.
"Just like everywhere else in the world, China did not make any significant breakthrough” [in promoting electric and hybrid vehicle use], John Zeng, head of the Asia-Pacific for LMC Automotive, told AFP. "Firstly, the infrastructure in not there, and secondly, the consumer mind-set is not there."
Smaller, cheaper sedans are still prominently displayed at the auto show. They might not be as profitable, but they are still the fastest-growing segment, as lower-income Chinese gather enough wealth to afford their first vehicle purchase. Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) is one of the major global players betting on smaller entry-level cars in the Chinese market. The Japanese carmaker is giving makeovers to its Vios and Yaris sedans and is hoping the demand for entry-level sedans will be strong enough for it to claw back sales it lost last year because of the political row over the Senkaku/Diaoyu territorial dispute.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- Tourre on stand says email in SEC case 'not accurate'
- Syrian authorities blocking access to needy in Homs - Red Cross
- Faith in European Union at low ebb, EU poll says
- Former UBS banker gets 18 months, $1 million fine, for muni bid-rigging scheme
- U.S. judge halts challenges to Detroit's bankruptcy bid
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- iPad Air 2 Release Date Will Skip IGZO Panel; To Rollout with Super-Slim iPad Mini Air
- Upcoming iPad Mini 3 Could be 30% Thinner and Likely be Called iPad Mini Air; Apple Q3 Results Show 9% Decrease in iPad Sales
- HTC Google Nexus 8 Release Date Imminent with New Nexus 7 Deals, Two New Tablets Soon