Ford, GM, Chrysler rush to cater SUV-crazy consumers in China

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 30, 2014

China is definitely going crazy over sports utility vehicles and crossover, and Detroit 3 is moving to capture the surging demand for those units. He Sei, a dealer for Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac in Fushun, China, told Automotive News that Chinese consumer view SUVs as sportier, more fashionable and more youthful.

He even said that he was flooded with customer calls before the first Chevrolet Trax compact crossover arrived at his dealership last week. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler would not waste effort to ride on the SUV boom in China, which also occurred in North America in the early 2000s.

GM launched the Trax at the Beijing auto show last week and vowed to introduce 10 SUVs to its seven-nameplate lineup in the next five years. On the other hand, Ford showcased a Ford Everest Concept body-on-frame 4x4 and a Lincoln MKX Concept crossover, which production versions would greatly boost its current SUV lineup comprised of four vehicles.

Chrysler announced on the eve of the Beijing auto show that it will resume Jeep production in China along with local partner Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Chrysler plans to build three models in Chine by the end of 2015.

The current trend favoring SUVs, however, is creeping into the demand for mid-sized sedans, which are currently regarded as the status symbol in China.

According to data from Auto Foresight, SUVs accounted for just 4 percent of the Chinese auto market, in contrast to D-segment sedans that accounted for 47 percent of total sales in the country by that year.

Around 13 years later, SUVs grew to account for 19 percent of total China sales in 2013, while D-segment sedans saw their share drop to 15 percent. GM expects SUVs to account for 7 million units in China auto sales by 2020.

Topics: ford, gm, chrysler, china

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