Despite the fact that Chinese passenger automobiles sales have continued to grow in 2017, the sedan market has stagnated and even contracted this year. The SUV market has become a major driver for passenger automobiles sales growth in the country. However worth remembering is that different parts of the SUV segment are growing at differing rates.
Sales of domestically produced SUVs from January to July of this year totaled 5.25 million units, a little less than one million units less than the amount of sedans sold. Considering that SUV sales grew at a rate of 17.25% from January to July, while sedan sales have decreased 2.49% over the same time period, it would not be unreasonable to expect the SUV market to overtake the sedan market in China in the next few years.
The immense growth potential of the Chinese SUV market has not been overlooked by manufacturers, with many of them having released SUV models of all types. Despite the fact that the market is rapidly growing, competition is still very fierce, with manufacturers late to the game having to catch up. One of the more promising, relatively untapped segments in the market is that for mid-size SUVs.
While compact SUV sales have only increased 5.87% year-on-year, and small-size SUV sales have actually fallen 11.20%, mid-size SUV sales have grown a full 66.60%. The rapid growth in 2017 is due primarily to the introduction of many new mid-size SUV models over the past couple of months.
Statistics from Gasgoo.com (Chinese) reveal that 21 of the 50 SUVs that were introduced to the market just this year were mid-size models. Some of those include the VW Tiguan L, Honda Avancier, Honda URV, Chevrolet Equinox, GAC Trumpchi GS8, SWM X7 and Zotye SR9, just to name a few.
The entrance of so many new models to the mid-size SUV market has led to increasingly fierce competition. Of the 28 models already on the market from last year, 12 of them saw their sales decrease and 10 posted sales growth rates less than the market average; only six models managed to post sales growth rates that were above the market average. In terms of year-on-year sales growth, the three most successful mid-size SUV models Dongfeng Fengguang 580, Changan CX70 and Cadillac XT5.
With competition across the board increasing, own brand manufacturers have been facing with growing sales pressure. While as a whole own brand midsize SUV sales grew 109% year-on-year, six of the 11 own brand models saw their sales fall. By comparison, six of the JV mid-size SUV models from before have seen their sales increase, while only three have decreased. Sales of five mid-size luxury SUVs increased, while only two decreased.