If you’ve ever wondered why the Chinese car market dominates so many decisions in today’s automotive industry, consider that 2.3 million cars were sold there in 2003, and 16.9 million in 2014, just 11 years later.
Although that boom is set to slow dramatically, predicted growth of about 5% still means that it is the world’s largest car market, eclipsing that of the US.
It matters to you and me because Western car makers are increasingly tailoring their investments to take advantage of the Chinese and Asian markets, not least in the booming sectors for medium and small-sized SUVs.
Where old platforms or stretched and adapted versions of existing cars were once enough, you now sense that the pivot point has been reached and cars that will be sold globally are being shaped largely by the requirements of China.
It’s a balancing act, of course. You can’t trade on being a quintessentially British brand, for instance, and then abandon your founding principles to design for China only. But have no doubt: Chinese car buyers are increasingly influencing the cars that we, too, will drive.