MPV – at the low end, they’re the bread shaped cars that send deliveries through narrow streets, and at the mid and high end, they’re the commercial vehicles companies use for official business. But without a doubt, they give off the image of a “commercial” vehicle.

As of today, with the implementation of the two-child policy, auto companies have successively launched the MPV model which is suitable for family use. In a short time, MPV sales have seen an enthusiastic increase.

In that case, will seven seater family MPVs see the same blowout sales as previous models?

Social environment

Early on, first tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai had already implemented a two-child policy for parents who were single children. However, based on a consideration for factors such as cost of living and the continuation of the single child concept, or perhaps to achieve a higher standard of living or to provide a better growing environment for children, many people conformed to the government’s standardized family unit, willingly giving up the chance to have two children.

On the other hand, aside from a higher desire to have a second child, the reasons families in some third and fourth tier cities have for leaning towards choosing seven-seater MPVs is due to close proximity of family and friends; a seven-seater would  more flexibly satisfy different functional needs (carrying people or goods). Moreover, third and fourth tier cities, with their wider roads and more numerous parking spaces, give large size models a better driving environment.

 Compared to the mid or highly priced MPV models used by first and second tier city private families, new opportunities for MPVs would come from third and fourth tier families with future structural changes in the form of mid or low end MPVs for low income consumers.

Market environment

Compared with other family models, the advantages of seven-seater family MPVs are very clear: comfort, high capacity, and spacious interior. But can these advantages directly reflect on market sales?

 TNS Sinotrust believes that if seven-seater family MPVs are to see widespread acceptance on the market, they must directly face their competitors: seven-seater SUVs. They must adopt their good points and avoid their shortcomings in order to succeed.

Compared with SUVs of a similar level, even though MPVs have advantages such as spacious interiors, comfort, and economy (unit price and gas mileage), their appearance, universality, and control are inferior to SUV competitors. Only through improving these shortcomings will MPVs reduce the distance between themselves and SUVs, and have market performance that is worth anticipating.

Crosswise comparison

In North American markets, seven-seater MPVs (minivans) are very common. Whether it’s daily commutes or shopping, the flexibility three-row seating and spacious interiors of seven-seater MPVs have incomparable advantages, receiving widespread recognition from large family units.

But in the Chinese market, are two-child families willing to purchase seven-seaters? Thorough comparison reveals that while Chinese markets lead on scale of sales, the car use notions of common consumers still have a definite gap from MPV adoption.

In China, what most consumers purchase is their first car, and also their only car. The change from not having to having allows owners to attach more emotional demands to their car purchasing and usage process.

For car owners, cars aren’t just a transportation tool, but rather a metal name card. It’s easily seen that there is still a definite gap between the appearance of MPVs nowadays and the traditional aesthetic of Chinese owners.

In summary, with the implementation of the Two-Child Policy, mid and low price car models have a chance to see quick development in a short time frame. However, if we are to expect development of seven-seater MPVs to be on par with that of seven-seater SUVs, factors such as consumer notions and product currently lack coordination.

Only through strengthening the concept of “Instrumentalization” will seven-seater family MPVs have more and more opportunities.