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[YesAuto Deep Comment] The popularity of SUVs in the domestic market is obvious to all, and it is no exaggeration to describe the process of China's auto industry as a change. But how long can SUVs remain popular in China? Who can end the rapid rise of SUVs in the future? Is the car back to the king? Or pick up trucks, MPVs and even station wagons? For many questions, please see the in-depth analysis of this issue.


●What is “Deep Commentary Questions”?

Deep Commentary Questions ” is the first column created by Autohome for industry-end users. It is written by senior practitioners in the auto industry to exclusively analyze/demystify major industry events. In addition to lively appearances, we want to present you with exploration and thinking about the nature, cause and effect, and future possibilities of things.


The industry commentators in this issue -the intelligent electric automobile expert group, consists of a group of automobile professionals with master's and doctoral degrees, and more than ten years of work experience in the automobile industry. They are distributed in universities, automobile industry associations, parts companies, OEMs, consulting companies, etc. The formation of senior people in the industrial chain. As the auto industry is transforming and upgrading to intelligent and electrified, we will share the new technology of the auto industry with more people.

The author of this article: Hu Yufeng, has successively engaged in automobile electronic control development, vehicle testing, energy saving and new energy automobile industry consulting, etc., has participated in the national 863 major project, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology “Energy Saving and New Energy Vehicle Technology Roadmap”, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering More than 10 major research/actions such as “Strategy”. He is good at review analysis and policy analysis of the automobile industry.


Highlights of this issue

★Looking back on the future, SUVs have contributed to the rescue of the Chinese brand from crisis.
★Essentially speaking, different countries have different national conditions and SUVs perform differently, but it is the demand and environment that determine its market performance.
★From the perspective of the Chinese market, the growth trend of SUVs depends on changes in the five major demands.
★From the environmental point of view, in addition to the application environment, policy orientation should also be considered, and regulations will have a subtle effect.

1. SUV saves Chinese brands from critical survival

Geely acquired Daimler, Changan Smart Car test won the championship, the future electric supercar K50 was priced as high as 686,800 yuan, and the WEY brand challenged the most stringent American standard small overlap crash test. Now this series of actions will give rise to the rise of Chinese brands Good feeling?

However, in fact, more than ten years ago, Chinese brands faced a serious survival crisis. Statistics show that in 2002, the market share of Chinese brand passenger cars was only less than 25%, and the sales volume was only 314,500.

It is no exaggeration to say that with foreign brands' strong enemies at the time, the car market of more than 100,000 yuan has been firmly controlled by many joint venture products, and Chinese brands are at stake.

Finding a way to survive is more urgent than anything else. The SUV is just abruptly making a bloody road like this. At that time, the prices of joint-venture SUVs in the Chinese market were all high. The SUV market of RMB 200,000 to RMB 300,000, and the SUV market of RMB 100,000 to 150,000 was a blank. This potential business opportunity was keenly captured by Chinese brands.

Starting with models such as the Great Wall Safe, whether it is a pickup chassis modification or a sedan chassis modification, whether it is an SUV or a CUV, the SUV market of 100,000 to 150,000 yuan has been discovered by Chinese brands and has been cultivated for several years. Soaring into the sky.

The surging sales are in exchange for cash flow of real money, and in exchange for the hard-won survival of Chinese brands. It can be said that the SUV saved the Chinese brand.

2. Looking at the world, China's SUV boom is extremely rare

Is SUV hot only in China? Is it different in other countries and regions? Let's look at the data first.

The above is the result of JATO statistics: In 2017, the SUV market share in China was 41.6%, ranking first in the world; the second place was 39.3% in North America; the three regions of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA, commonly used in foreign statistical methods, will These three regions combined) is only 29.4%; Japan is even as low as 11.9%.

The high proportion of SUVs in North America includes pickup truck statistics, and geographical reasons have led to strong demand for SUVs. First of all, the SUV statistics in North America are not entirely pure SUVs, but some pickup truck models are included. This is related to the different models of various countries.

If all the pickup truck models are included in the statistics, this value should exceed that of China, reaching more than 60%. The reason why the car market has been compressed is mainly because North America is sparsely populated. Most people need to travel between urban areas and towns in their cars. Goods and traffic are the major demand points for car purchases. This is why North American pickups are more popular than SUVs. s reason. Of course, North American fuel consumption regulations are relatively loose, which also has a certain release effect on the supply side of SUVs.

Europe and other regions prefer cars, which have a greater impact on the concept of life and road environment. Europeans prefer family travel together, and Europe is small and the road environment is generally better (unlike China's heavy vehicle overload and potholes), so cars and station wagons are very popular. Statistics show that the proportion of station wagons (SW: Station Wagon) in Europe is always higher than that of other countries and regions, and is three times the global average.

Japan’s urban roads are narrow, and the cost of use and taxes have made small cars extremely popular. The situation in Japan is quite special. Its characteristic model K-car accounts for more than 40%, completely occupying the living space of SUVs. The reason for this is that the roads in Japan are narrow, it is not easy to park, and the parking fees for large vehicles are expensive. In addition, the Japanese government levies taxes and fees based on the size of the vehicle, and reduces taxes and fees based on the displacement. This combination has made SUVs in Japan unpopular.

In addition, Japan's fuel consumption regulations are relatively strict, and OEMs have also made certain adjustments on the supply side, but on the whole, this is not a decisive factor.

3. The performance of SUVs in various countries is affected by demand and the environment

From this point of view, although the performance of SUVs in various countries is different, they all point to two major influencing factors: one is demand and the other is the environment. This environment includes the application environment and the policy environment. Of course, the former is more effective, while the latter is only slightly more effective. So, is this also the case in China? From the perspective of demand and environment, we can actually find the relevant logic:

1. The preference of Chinese consumers for SUVs has a lot to do with the cost-effectiveness of vehicles. Many consumers consider the size of the vehicle when buying an SUV, and subconsciously think that SUV is more cost-effective than a sedan. Here, we will not discuss whether this kind of thinking is correct or not, but this kind of thinking does exist in many consumers' car buying concepts. This is a manifestation of a consumer outlook that is still in its infancy. In essence, this is in line with China's It is related to the late development of the private car consumer market (it only started after joining the WTO in 2002).

2. “Face thinking” influences the values of car purchase. The thing about face has been passed down in Eastern culture for five thousand years, and the Chinese people have suffered from this kind of thinking. In the initial stage of automobile consumption, the automobile has not yet reached the level of universal popularity, and the automobile has assumed the function of reflecting the prosperity of the family in the country. An SUV is more atmospheric and magnificent, and it is very popular in third-, fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-tier cities.

3. The concept of safer SUVs is naturally formed. An SUV is safer than a car, which is a natural concept in many consumers' minds. Of course, this concept is not necessarily valid from a technical point of view, but consumers are more simply derived from the “big car crash”. There is no doubt that this concept is guided by 4S sales language, and the result of safety first overwhelms other reference conditions such as appearance, interior, power, configuration and so on.

4. SUV has better passability. This point is very similar to the situation in China and the United States. The road conditions between urban and rural areas have not yet achieved 100% of the conditions for cars to pass. The elevated SUV chassis does meet the needs of many people for vehicles such as going to the countryside, engineering, and emergency rescue. Just need. In essence, this is a manifestation of China's short urbanization process and strong urban-rural ties.

5. Stronger ability to pull goods. In fact, the trunk space of an SUV is not large. To be precise, some of them can't even keep up with the trunk space of a sedan. However, in many towns and villages, the rear of the SUV can be nearly completely flat, instantly killing the car's cargo space, thereby meeting the dual needs of manned and cargo.

The above five major needs are Chinese characteristics. Cheap SUV or CUV products developed by Chinese brands accurately grasp the five major needs of this grounding atmosphere. This is the main reason for the popularity of SUVs in China. Of course, we also have pure hard-core off-road needs, but after all, the volume is too small to be the main force.

Fourth, the demand side: SUV is suppressed in the short-term and it is even more difficult

Therefore, how the product structure of the automobile market will change in the future and whether the SUV boom will recede should mainly be considered from these five major demands. When the five major demands are suppressed, the SUV heat will naturally be untenable.

First, the issue of SUV cost performance. This problem should be solved better, because the main car buyers in the previous 20 years were mainly the middle-aged and elderly people nowadays, with traditional consumption concepts; while the current consumer group is gradually becoming younger, and the post-80s, post-90s and even post-00s have accepted the Internet and mobile With the baptism of the Internet, the concept of consumption is shifting from cost-effective to points of interest.

Second, the problem of SUV face. This problem is the same as the above. Rejuvenation of consumption will change this concept. Brand, appearance, and internal are the areas where they pay more attention and can be solved.

Third, SUV safety issues. With the advancement of technologies such as ADAS and L3 autonomous driving, consumers' awareness of safety will rise from passive safety to active safety. For a car, collision avoidance will be more worthy of attention than collision resistance. Therefore, this point is also relatively easy to solve.

Fourth, the issue of SUV passability. This problem has been deviated from pure product attributes, and is also related to the application environment. Due to China's vast territory, changeable landforms, and a relatively short urbanization process, much effort is needed to transform the transportation infrastructure. Therefore, there is a rigid demand for the trafficability of SUVs. It is difficult to be solved and replaced by cars in the short term.

Fifth, the problem of strong SUV carrying capacity. What is not exactly the same as the fourth point is that although this demand appears mostly in urban and rural markets, it has been diluted by other models, such as MPVs. In addition, with the accelerated pace of pickup truck lifting, the advantage of SUV's strong carrying capacity will be greatly diluted. In cities, SW station wagons can also cannibalize part of the SUV market.

In general, cost-effectiveness and face-saving belong to the level of consumption concepts. Over time, they will be gradually disintegrated by the younger generation of consumer groups, and the consumption concepts of the entire nation will gradually become mature; safety will be intelligent The popularity of chemical technology will greatly weaken, and the passability will continue to exist for a longer period of time; the last point of carrying capacity will be fully disintegrated by the lifting of the ban on pickup trucks.

Fifth, the environmental side: the guiding role of fuel consumption regulations is limited

Of course, what we have to consider is the environmental issue. We have already talked about transportation infrastructure. Here we will focus on the policy environment. The main policy tools are energy-saving vehicle subsidies, fuel consumption regulations, and points policies.

Among them, the subsidy for energy-saving vehicles should not be implemented according to the government's thinking, because the subsidies for new energy vehicles will be withdrawn after two years, and energy-saving vehicles whose status is lower than that of new energy vehicles are also difficult to get under 1.6 liters. Subsidies (or purchase tax concessions), so it is difficult for SUVs to be affected due to displacement factors.

The second is fuel consumption regulations and points policy. This point is considered. After 2020, a five-stage regulation to deal with 4.0L/100km will be introduced, and the fuel consumption disadvantage of SUVs will be magnified (the four-stage regulation is actually beneficial to large vehicles. This point has been criticized by the industry. The stage is likely to be adjusted). It is an inevitable choice for SUVs to reduce fuel consumption through the introduction of 48V, HEV, and PHEV. In itself, this increase in cost will allow OEMs to adjust the supply, but the point policy and the premium of PHEV on SUVs will overwhelm this adjustment.

Therefore, from a policy perspective, it is difficult to suppress the supply of SUVs, and even as the integral ratio increases, it is possible to increase the supply.

6. Prediction: The growth rate will slow down but will replace cars as No.1

From this point of view, the four of the five major needs will be diluted, leaving only the passing demand to fight alone, and the environmental side will have little impact. Therefore, it is impossible for the SUV boom to maintain the previous high growth rate, but it will continue to grow. It will take some time to complete the change. Therefore, during this period of growth adjustment, it is a high probability event that the proportion of SUVs surpasses that of sedans (this is The end of the bonus period ≠ the reason for the decline in sales, the former has a proactive nature), and after the SUV surpasses the sedan, it will eventually be overtaken by the sedan again. However, when to exceed, how much can be exceeded, and when to overtake, this is a very large consulting topic, and it is difficult to answer in a short space.

To accurately complete this analysis, OEMs must conduct extensive and in-depth user group research to accurately grasp the specific proportions of the five major needs, including the proportion of car purchase factors among the five major needs, and the specific changes in the purchase demand. Construct a unified mathematical model, and make a judgment of a more suitable result through data monitoring.

But in any case, Chinese brands can no longer sleep on SUVs. The era of walking on one leg should belong to the past, not the future. To complete the dream of a powerful automobile nation, cars are a road that must be walked through. Hope all Chinese brands can realize this.