China's economy has undergone major changes over the past decade or so (basically, since Great Britain handed over the keys to Hong Kong). Though still hugely centralized by Western standards, the seeds of capitalism have begun to take root, and with capitalism has come a growing middle class. Today, China's middle class is 300 million strong, and it could reach 800 million within 15 years.
And at the heart of China's middle class sits the same, valiant figure that has helped keep America's middle class afloat: the soccer mom.
It turns out, China's soccer moms have a lot in common with their U.S. counterparts -- namely, they're busy running the kids to their various classes and extracurricular activities, while still trying to carve out a little "mommy time" of their own.
And as in America, the vehicles that lets them do all that are the SUV and its svelter sibling, the crossover.
In fact, China's "tiger moms" and their demand for SUVs are proving hugely important to the country's auto market. While some economists worry that China's total auto growth might not hit the 5% mark, sales of SUVs shot up 18% in the first quarter alone. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a spicy meatball.
As a result, automakers like BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen are unveiling loads of new SUVs at the Beijing Auto Show, and they're rushing those models to showrooms. Even Lamborghini is getting in on the action with its new Urus concept.
The rush isn't surprising, seeing as how sedan sales in China have slipped 2.2% in the first three months of the year. If anything's going to keep China's auto market motoring ahead (now that government auto subsidies have petered out), it's clearly going to be growing families, kung fu classes, tiger moms, and the noble SUV.
[h/t John Voelcker]