“This report is all about why consumers purchase certain types of cars and how they use their cars. Mintel identifies that consumers’ initial purchase intentions can be diverse, although they are likely to purchase the same car model. For example, both high earners and parents use driving as a means to facilitate their social lives, but parents tend associate driving with family commitments, while high earners are likely to drive for business-related occasions in order to meet more clients.
Therefore, understanding consumers’ car usage habits can not only help auto brands to seize more market opportunities but also could provide insight and inspiration for car model development. Marketers can also discover white space in terms of differentiation when comparing consumers’ driving attitudes.”
– Yujing Li, Senior Research Analyst

In this report Mintel answers the following key questions:

  • How do consumers use their cars?

  • How do consumers feel about driving?

  • Is there any opportunity for brands in terms of marketing?


Passenger cars in this report are divided into basic passenger cars (sedans), sport utility vehicles (SUV), multipurpose vehicles (MPV) and cross-type passenger cars.

  • Basic passenger cars (saloon cars): used for the transportation of personnel and luggage; the driver is usually the central focus, with an emphasis on driving and riding comfort. Saloon cars generally come in two-box configuration (hatchback) and three-box configuration (sedan).

  • Sport utility vehicles (SUV): combine the comfort of a saloon car with off-road capability, functional versatility, and a two-box configuration (hatchback).

  • Multipurpose vehicles (MPV): combine the comfort of the saloon car, the space of a tourer and can be used to transport goods like a van. These vehicles usually come in a two-box configuration. MPVs are targeted mainly at household users, and the majority are manufactured based on passenger car platforms.

  • Cross-type passenger vehicles: also known as minibuses. This type of vehicle can transport either passengers or goods, and is therefore known as a cross-type. Usually single-box.

In terms of power source, alternative-fuel cars are cars with an unconventional power source or new types of power plants. Alternative-fuel cars might also be referred to as alternative-energy cars (新能源汽车).


This is a marketing intelligence report published by Mintel. The consumer research exclusively commissioned for this report was conducted by a Chinese licensed market survey agent (see Research Methodology China for more information).

For the purpose of this report, Mintel commissioned a quantitative research survey carried out online via QQsurvey to explore consumer attitudes towards car usage habits.

Fieldwork was conducted in December 2014, in four tier one cities and six tier two and three cities of 3,000 internet users aged 20-49 who can drive a car. The tier one cities are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The tier two and tier three cities are Shenzhen, Jilin, Taiyuan, Nantong, Wenzhou and Changsha.


SUV Sport Utility Vehicle
MPV Multipurpose Vehicle
CNNIC China Internet Network Information Centre
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