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Smaller vehicles to widen the market
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-11-13 11:27

Low cost, low emissions and low fuel consumption - that's the promise of the new compact sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

Smaller vehicles to widen the market

With prices starting at 100,000 yuan ($14,000), the toned-down road kings are expected to attract the eye of China's middle-income group.

"Compact SUV will be the main product in the future," said Lan He, editor of the Beijing-based Auto Times Magazine.

The Honda CR-V is the biggest seller so far, topping the charts since January last year.

The vehicle is 4.5 m long and 1.7 m wide, has 2.0 emissions and consumes 10 liters of fuel to the urban kilometer.

Besides the CR-V, compact models like the Toyota RV4, Chevrolet Captive and Hyundai Tucson have also proved popular, although prices for these models start around 200,000 yuan.

Due to its popularity, the CR-V has been out of stock in Beijing since its release in late 2007 and many customers must join a waiting list for a chance to buy one.

If they want to get one within one month, customers have to buy from car dealer accessories worth between 10,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan.

Liu Yang, a 34-year-old commercial photographer, simply gave up the idea of getting one. "At the moment, I don't want to wait two to three months. And I don't want to pay the dealer extra," said Liu.

But Liu said his plan to get a CR-V remains unchanged because he needs to hang out with his friends at the Beijing CRV Club.

The compact SUVs are more like cars than off-road vehicles, although models still have four-wheel drive.

"The off-road capability of the CR-V is weak. But this doesn't matter in city," said Liu, who is a member of a Beijing CR-V club.

Smaller vehicles to widen the market