China could see minivan boom, says Toyota exec
Toyota believes it has identified the next automotive trend in China, the world’s largest market for cars. The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is minivans.
In just the past decade, sedans, long-wheelbase luxury sedans, and crossovers have all had their moment in the sun, as China’s car buyers rapidly evolve. According to Hiroji Onishi, a senior manager for Toyota in China, this has largely to do with the abolition of the country’s one-child policy, reports Automotive News.
For decades, most Chinese families were allowed only to have one child, lest they face stiff penalties from the government, a solution to the extreme poverty and overpopulation of the 1970s. Only rare exceptions made for rural regions and ethnic minorities. However, starting in October 2015, the government announced it would begin to repeal those policies.
Currently, SUVs and crossovers are all the rage, with sales expected to increase by 13 percent of market share this year. Onishi believes that it could soon change as families take advantage of the new laws. Currently, the Toyota Alphard is a big hit in China, but it’s positioned as a luxury coach, often equipped with four recliners in the back. With the redfinition of China’s basic family unit, those Lay-Z-Boy-style VIP loungers may give way to bench rows with child seat tie-downs.