Chinese love buying houses and cars, China became the hottest real estate market in the world over the past few years and it is no secret that China is the worldâ€™s largest auto market. But what if both were combined?
RV and motorhomes are picking up in the Middle Kingdom, Chinese consumers are combining the best of their addictions at a rapid pace. Chinese consumers are beginning to see the appeal of a car that is also their home, a perfect getaway vehicle to get away from the hustle and bustle of Chinaâ€™s major urban centers that despite their size, give a claustrophobic feel.
Chinaâ€™s RV industry is at the starting point, feet have just left the brakes but it is in a fully fledged sprint towards an imagined finish line of RVâ€™s becoming a common site. In 2001 just 1 single RV was sold in China, by 2010 900 units were sold with about 4500 units on the road since then. Sales for 2012 are expected to be around 1500 units with total units expected to breach 6000.
America on the other hand has around 8.9 million RVâ€™s on the road and 16,500 official places to park up, Korea has around 10,000 RVâ€™s and 100 official camp sites, but Japan is the Asian RV king with around 78,000 RVâ€™s and 1350 places to camp. China has roughly 100 places with more being added at a rapid place.
Great Wall was one of the first companies to understand the potential behind the domestic RV market, it bolted a basic camper to the back of its then flagship Wingle vehicle in 2007, since then the company has improved its product range and seen many around 30 domestic competitors join the market with self developed products, or existing cargo vehicles that have been adopted for RV life. International manufacturers such as Iveco, Unicat, Evergreen, Forest River etc have been eager to enter the Chinese market, there are currently 10 such brands in the Chinese market and more are expected to join in the next few months. Chinese RVâ€™s are not cheap, the Great Wall Wingle 3 RV comes in at 250,000RMB, an IVECO based RV made by Zhong Tian sells for 478,000RMB, an RV based on Nissanâ€™s NV200 from Wuzhou retails for 198,000RMB, even a simple caravan from Beijingâ€™s ZhongTian sells for 138,000RMB. Not cheap.
Chinese made RVâ€™s may be a hard sell in the Middle Kingdom, high prices coupled with slightly interesting designs are likely to put off Chinese consumers in the short term. Also those that want to have a small trailer or caravan maybe off put by the Governmentâ€™s requirement that anybody towing anything requires an â€˜A1 or A2â€™ truck driving license, where as the vast majority of car owners opt for C1 or C2 licenses that allow them to drive regular 7 seat or lower passenger cars.