Sales of SUVs in China between January and April topped 2.57 million, up 46.27% compared with the same period last year, according to data from the China Automotive Industry Association (CAIA).
CAIA’s data showed that among the top 10 best-selling SUVs in the first four months, seven models were made by Chinese car manufacturers, including Great Wall Motor, Chongqing Changan Automobile, Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC) and Chery Automobile. Only three models were foreign brands, reflecting the level of price-consciousness Chinese drivers have picked up after shifting away from costly foreign brands as the country’s economy slows down.
Despite its popularity in the market, most of the cheaper domestic SUVs do not contain the electronic stability control (ESC) feature, which is a compulsory outfit in all passenger vehicles sold in the United States.
ESC helps to quickly reorient a skidding vehicle to stop it from rolling, making it a crucial feature since SUVs have a higher center of gravity and hence a larger risk of upsetting. According to a study by an American institution, vehicles with ESC are two thirds less likely to flip.
Currently, ESC is not a compulsory requirement in China. Many manufacturers only offer ESC as an extra and more expensive option.
Analysts said that with China’s SUV market now being so competitive, domestic manufacturers have no choice but to forego some features in order to attract customers by offering low prices.