I was reading Suvs Are a big sell in China. Fuel-efficient vehicles are the rage in the United States, but “in China gas-guzzling SUVs are looming large.” Automakers including Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group, Daimler and Land Rover are seizing on soaring popularity for the vehicles here, tailoring new models for Chinese consumers, and in some cases shifting manufacturing to China.
Chinese drivers purchased about 2.1 million SUVs last year, according to LMC Automotive, a figure that’s expected to double by 2014. That would put China neck-and-neck with the U.S., the world’s top SUV market, despite steep import duties and luxury taxes that can drive prices for some models well above $100,000.
“The luxury buyers cannot get enough,” said Michael Dunne, the Indonesia-based head of auto consulting firm Dunne & Co. “It’s ironic. Ten years ago, no one wanted to touch an SUV in China. They were considered construction or farming vehicles. They were associated with labor or hard work.”
How about SUVs here in the states? – A curious thing happened when former Gov. Gary Locke signed an executive order in 2005 freezing the purchase of four-wheel drive sport-utility vehicles — the state started buying more.
The year before Locke’s order, about 26 percent of all vehicles bought by the state Fleet Operations were SUVs. By 2010, they accounted for 77 percent of purchases by the agency, the largest vehicle buyer for the state. Most of them were more expensive four-wheel drive hybrids.
“The reasons for the SUV buying binge are complicated,” but state officials say the biggest driver was Locke’s order. Although meant to stop most purchases of gas-guzzling four-wheel drive SUVs, it exempted those rated to get more than 30 miles per gallon. It also encouraged the purchase of hybrid vehicles to cut fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In essence, the state treated all hybrids as equal.
Now For some fun – Young Buyers and Fast Cars! The Italian carmaker may launch its second ever sports utility vehicle (SUV) the Urus – showcased at the recent Beijing auto show – “by 2017 to tap into the growing demand of SUVs in developing markets.”
Lamborghini, which sells its two cars Gallardo and Aventador between Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 4.5 crore each, expects India to grow to about 50 cars by 2015 even as its biggest Asian market China saw orders decline by 20% over the last month.
The sports car brand will also expand its presence beyond Delhi and now Mumbai – where it debuted Wednesday – to another south Indian city. Stephan Winklemann, the global president & CEO, spoke to TOI in a one-on-one interview about the road ahead for the luxury car brand in India
I hope you enjoyed this overview of how fuel efficient cars will hep us at the fuel pump of the future.