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China’s Soccer Moms Want SUVs, Too

BusinessWeek
May 4, 2012
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Zhou Na, a 37-year-old Beijing mother, knows firsthand why sport utility vehicles are the fastest-growing segment in the world’s biggest automobile market: kids. “I have to drive my kid around practically nonstop on Saturday,” says Zhou, who ferries her 8-year-old son to the Children’s Palace of Beijing for kung fu and English classes on weekends before joining friends for yoga. “It’s pretty tiring, but I feel very good driving my BMW X5 around.”
 
Zhou represents the growing army of so-called tiger moms who may fuel the next spurt of growth for the auto industry in China. BMW (BMW), Ford Motor (F), and Daimler’s (DAI) Mercedes-Benz are among carmakers rolling out SUVs aimed at families looking for a second vehicle to carry children and groceries. “You look at the trend for more utility and family-oriented vehicles, and behind that is women,” says Bill Russo, a senior adviser at Booz who formerly headed Chrysler Group’s China operations. “In the U.S., we call it the soccer moms.”
 
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