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Automakers bet on big SUVs after Beijing eases one-child rule
Yang Jian | 2017/4/14

SHANGHAI -- Beijing relaxed its one-child-only policy last year to allow each married couple to have two kids -- a decision that could bring an influx of big crossovers and SUVs to Chinese streets. 

Anticipating families' need for bigger vehicles, global automakers and their local peers are launching a new wave of full-size light trucks.

Several models arrived in March, and more will debut next week at the Shanghai auto show.

Last month, Kia introduced its first locally produced seven-seat crossover: the KX7, which is based on the Sorento. And Volkswagen has introduced the three-row Teramont, which is called the Atlas in the United States. 

Honda's Avancier flagship crossover hit the market last year, and last month the Japanese automaker rolled out a five-seat Avancier variant dubbed the UR-V. Both are assembled in China.

Meanwhile, PSA Peugeot Citroen has unveiled its first full-size crossover, the seven-seat Peugeot 5008. The vehicle, which will be assembled locally, goes on sale this summer. 

Over the past three years, China's domestic brands gained market share by launching fleets of small crossovers. Now they are jumping into the market for big crossovers and SUVs. 

Changan Automobile Co., China's largest automaker, has launched its first full-sized SUV, the CS95. Lifan Industry Group Co., a small carmaker, has started selling the seven-seat Lifan X80.

But it's a risky move for the domestics to venture into the market. 

Three years ago, Great Wall Motor Co. went upscale with the launch of its first full-size SUV, the Haval H9. A glitchy transmission forced the company to delay its introduction twice.

But never mind that. Attracted by China's fast-growing SUV market, domestic automakers want to try their luck. Next week, state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Co. will roll out its second full-size SUV, the Trumpchi GS7, at the Shanghai auto show. 

Other SUV introductions are likely. To date, only half of China's automakers have disclosed what they plan to display in Shanghai. 

With that many big SUVs on display, the Shanghai show might easily be mistaken for an event in Detroit, Los Angeles or New York. When it comes to SUVs, China and America have much in common.

Pictured: Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.


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