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MPVs might become hot as China relaxes one-child policy

MPVs in China, SUV in China, Chinese market

Automakers are betting that Chinese families will embrace the mini-van, hoping the larger, unsexy sibling of the bestselling SUV will become the next big thing just as Beijing relaxes the one-child policy.

汽车厂商正押注中国家庭会拥抱家用旅行车,指望随着北京放宽独生子女政策,目前炙手可热的SUV的这种体积更大、外形却不甚诱人的姊妹车型将成为未来的畅销车型。

Mini-vans, or multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs), were front and centre at the Guangzhou auto show, where Volkswagen AG presented a supersized version of its Touran and Guangzhou Automobile Group subsidiary GAC Motor showcased a prototype mini-van.

又称多用途车辆(MPV)的家用旅行车成为了广州车展上的一线明星。在本届车展上,大众集团展出了其途安旅行车的一款加大版本,广汽集团旗下的广汽乘用车公司则展开了一款家用旅行车样车。

These seven-seaters currently account for just 10 percent of passenger car sales in China, but sales are growing at a faster pace than the entire auto market, the world's largest.

七座旅行车目前只占中国乘用车销量的10%,但是其销售增速超出了汽车市场的整体增速。中国的汽车市场是全球最大的。

Industry experts say the appetite for bigger cars is strong enough in China, where extended families often live under one roof, to potentially turn it into the largest MPV market after the United States, where automakers have sold big cars to families for years.

汽车业专家称,中国的家庭常常是数代同堂,中国市场对体积更大车辆的需求强大得足以使之成为继美国之后最大的MPV市场。在美国,汽车厂商多年来一直向家庭销售大尺寸汽车。

At the end of October, China further relaxed its one-child policy, a move which experts said would not necessarily lead to a sudden increase in the size of the average family. But Chinese authorities hope it will help boost the population to 1.45 billion by 2030 from 1.37 billion at the end of last year.

在今年10月底,中国进一步放宽了其独生子女政策。许多专家认为此举未必会导致家庭平均人数出现突然增长。不过中国官方希望新政策将有助于使去年底为13.7亿的全国人口到2030年增加到14.5亿。

"After the roll out of the two-child policy, I believe the market share of 7-seat SUVs and MPVs will further strengthen," Wu Song, GAC Motor's general manager, told Reuters.

广汽乘用车公司总经理吴松告诉路透社:"在二孩政策全面铺开后,我相信七座SUV和MPV车的市场份额将进一步增长。"

MPV sales for the first 10 months of the year grew 7.8 percent, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, outperforming the 1.5 percent growth in the overall car market.

据中国汽车工业协会统计,今年头10个月MPV销量同比增长7.8%,远超整个汽车市场1.5%的增速。

The focus on Chinese families is relatively new for MPV makers which for years targeted companies seeking large, luxurious models for executives or small businesses that need a workhorse to haul goods and staff.

MPV厂商对中国家庭市场的重视相对来说是最近的事情,这些厂商多年来一直把为高管物色大尺寸豪华旅行车的企业或是需要一种客货两用车的小企业作为销售目标。

Many households include at least one set of grandparents, as they play a key role in childcare. These extended families, coupled with restrictions in most major cities on owning a second car, give MPVs an advantage over the five-seat sports utility vehicles (SUVs) that currently account for the bulk of passenger car sales growth.

许多中国家庭包括至少一对祖父母或外祖父母,因为后者在养育孩子方面发挥着关键的作用。这些大家庭,加上多数大城市限制家庭拥有第二辆汽车的政策,将使MPV获得比五座SUV更大的优势。SUV目前占据了乘用车销量增长的大部分。

"The cost of owning two vehicles is high. That is why demand for seven-seat vehicles has grown greatly," said Gustavo Céspedes, executive vice president of General Motor's joint venture with SAIC Motor and Wuling Motor which makes China's best selling MPVs.

通用汽车公司与上汽集团及五菱汽车公司成立的合资企业上汽通用五菱公司生产中国最畅销的MPV。该公司副总裁古斯塔沃·塞斯佩德斯说:"拥有两辆车的成本很高。这就是七座车需求大幅增长的原因。"

GM and its partners account for more than half of all MPV sales. The top seller is the Wuling Hongguang, a utilitarian mini van that starts at 42,800 yuan, but the more family friendly Baojun 730, which starts at 69,800 yuan, became the second most popular MPV just one year after it was launched.

通用汽车与其合作伙伴占了所有MPV销量的一半多。销量冠军是五菱宏光,这是一款最低售价4.28万元人民币的实用型微型面包车,不过更适合家庭的五菱宝骏730在上市一年之后便成为MPV销售榜上的亚军。宝骏730的最低售价为6.98万元人民币。

Spurred by the rapid success of the Baojun, rival Geely Automobile Holdings is designing a mini-van for families, a person familiar with the matter said. A company spokesman said it was too early to discuss future products.

一位了解内情的人士称,在宝骏迅速获得成功的刺激下,竞争对手吉利汽车公司也正在设计一款面向家庭的旅行车。该公司发言人称目前讨论未来的产品还为时过早。

GAC Motor also sees opportunity in families. Design director Zhang Fan said GAC started working on a car two years ago to fill the gap between basic mini-vans and high-end models such as Toyota Motor Corp's Alphard, which starts at 759,000 yuan. "That gap is actually quite lucrative," he added.

广汽乘用车也看到了家庭市场的机会。设计总监张帆两年前开始致力打造一款填补基本型家用旅行车与高端旅行车(如最低售价75.9万元人民币的丰田埃尔法)之间空挡的车型。他说:"这一空挡实际上有相当大的营利空间。"

The rising popularity of the lumbering MPV shows that more Chinese consumers are becoming savvy and choosing cars that meet their needs, and not because of the status they confer.

笨重的MPV车逐渐受到欢迎,证明越来越多的中国消费者正在变得成熟,并开始选择符合自己需求的车辆,而不再考虑车辆所赋予的身份象征。

2016-06-23

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