China has over 400 SUV models as customers lap up body style across fuel types

  • The preference for SUVs among Chinese car buyers has been on an upswing for around a decade now.
File photo used for representational purpose.
File photo used for representational purpose.

If you thought the US and the Indian car market is showing an unprecedented affection for SUVs, wait till you land in China, the world's largest car market. With over 400 SUV models to choose from, the Chinese customer is absolutely spoilt for choice regardless of the fuel preference. And manufacturers are only too keen to play cupid in this romantic tale.

The preference for SUVs among Chinese car buyers has been on an upswing for around a decade now. In fact, Reuters reports that four out of every 10 cars sold in the market here is an SUV now. And this share is only increasing. But while in years gone by, it was the petrol or diesel-powered options that gained traction, the buzz is now dominated by all-electric SUVs.

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At present, there are around 100 all-electric SUV models for Chinese customers to choose from, up from 76 in 2020. Some of the key players here are Tesla with its Model Y and local EV startups Xpeng and Nio are expanding options in the body type as well. Even established global players like Volkswagen, BMW and Toyota are determined to not just strengthen their respective EV portfolio in China but pepper the market with electric SUVs.

Sale, Sale, Sale

The Chinese car customer is the king. Not only are choices galore but manufacturers are waging price wars like never before. Tesla recently slashed prices of its models in the market here, prompting many others to follow. New models like Zeekr X from Geely's premium EV brand Zeekr are taking on well-entrenched rivals by offering near-same features and range but at lower purchase prices. Song Plus SUV from BYD is now $1,000 cheaper at $27,000. Mercedes cut prices of its models earlier this year. Others are trying hard to play strong as well.

Take the case of General Motors, a company that saw profits in China slide, forcing it to now concentrate big time on EVs in order to get back on solid footing. Others like Ford, Tesla and Renault are even shipping China-made EVs - SUVs and other body types - to European markets.

And with local Chinese players also looking at expanding to foreign shores, the fight within China may well spill over overseas. Question is - will the craze for cars - and for SUVs specifically - continue to power dreams?

(With inputs from Reuters)

First Published Date: 08 May 2023, 09:07 AM IST
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