What Is It With China and Long Wheelbase Cars?
We explore China’s fixation with long-wheelbase cars and check out if it is something like our demand for SUVs.
China is one of the fastest growing auto markets in the world and almost every car manufacturer takes it seriously, especially given the number of cars that are sold there every year.
The 2016 Beijing Auto Show is currently underway. Surprisingly, auto manufacturers are coming out with long wheelbase versions of their existing cars made specially for China.
The cars that now have a long wheelbase sibling, thanks to its growing demand in the country, are the Mercedes E-Class & Jaguar XF, which is fine, but the same list starts to sound weird when names like Audi A4 and BMW X1 start popping up.
Why would they want a longer Audi A4, when there is the Audi A6 available. Same goes with the Mercedes E-Class, Jaguar XF and BMW X1 as the S-Class, Jaguar XJ and BMW X5 is there too.
After much digging, we did manage to find the reason behind this demand and realised that they are not so different from us Indians.
In China, if you have a chauffeur driven car then it means that you have, in a way, ‘made it’ in life. On top of that, the Chinese government has levied taxes on cars being imported into the country, and these taxes get even more heavy when these cars have high capacity engines.
So if you are living in China and really want yourself an European car, then the logical choice is to go for a car that is less than 3 litre in cubic capacity. The car should have ample space in the back when the chauffeur is driving it, so then, longer wheelbase cars make even more sense, after all who doesn’t like a ‘lambi gaadi’!
Now these extended models make sense don’t they?
How is this trait similar to our taste in cars? Well, the current surge and perhaps, creation of segments like Micro/Mini/Sub-4 metre “SUVs” have also come about because a lot of people in India wanted the SUV feel in smaller cars. And similarly, cars like Mahindra KUV100 and Ford EcoSport are selling like hot cakes even when there are cars like XUV500 and Ford Endeavour available in the market.
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