China, the world’s largest auto market, has been growing tremendously over the past 15 years, with the market nowhere near maturity yet – as the recent road rage crisis showed.
Additionally, the rising number of road rage incidents has had an interesting effect – the rise in popularity of sport utility vehicles, seen as part of the self-defense culture, making analysts predict there could be no margin to the explosive success of the segment’s sales. The concerns for personal safety have been at the opt of the priority list for Chinese drivers as road rage occurrences have even attracted the government’s attention. This is one of the factors driving SV deliveries in the country up 48 percent over the first three months of the year, while the overall market is only soaring around 7 percent. According to a research note from Sanford C. Bernstein, SUV models commended a market share of 27 percent of all registrations, double the average rate seen three years ago during the same period.
Road violence has grown exponentially together with the tenfold jump in vehicle ownership in the country over the past ten years, and even China’s security ministry asked drivers in a statement this month to behave “civilized” – after a massive scandal triggered by the release of a viral video showing a women brutally dragged out of her car and violently abused in the province of Sichuan. Additional incentives to buy sport utility vehicles instead of passenger cars are the dropping gasoline prices, as well as the state of Chinese road infrastructure when leaving the larger cities.