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Urbanites falling in love with pickups for weekend trips to the great outdoors
Last Updated: 2022-07-18 10:17 | China Daily
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Pickup trucks, predominantly associated with farm work, are emerging as alternatives to SUVs as travel and outdoor activities become a lifestyle for a growing number of urbanites.

Huang Yi, an engineer in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, drives his Great Wall Poer pickup to the suburbs on weekends when the weather is good, especially in summer.

"I love camping. Sometimes we hike with family and friends, sometimes we go fishing," said the 45-year-old.

"SUVs can do this, but pickups are clearly a better choice. They are usually more powerful, have better ground clearance and larger space," he said.

In contrast to the United States, pickup trucks used to be one of the least popular segments in China's vehicle market.

Over the past two or three years, things started to change when Great Wall Motors, China's largest pickup truck maker, decided to develop models suitable for travel and nature lovers.

At the Shanghai auto show in 2019, the Hebei province-based carmaker revealed its plan for pickups to make their way into the passenger vehicle market.

Since then more than 300,000 units of its Poer series have been sold across the country.

In June, Poer sales reached 14,674 units, up 46 percent. It marked the 23rd month in a row for its sales to pass 10,000 units.

Analysts said its success is understandable because of the growing number of nature lovers in the country. Also, authorities are encouraging suburban trips and have become a way of life for many urban people.

There are around 140 million fishing enthusiasts, of which those aged between 25-44 account for 46 percent of the total, said the China Angling Association.

Statistics from iiMedia Group show that the revenues of camping sites across the country soared from 7.71 billion yuan ($1.15 billion) in 2014 to 29.9 billion yuan in 2021.

Beijing is issuing up to 30 million yuan worth of coupons for holiday accommodation in suburban areas, valid from July to late September, said Liu Bin, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism.

"We hope that people travel more often to the suburbs during summer vacation to experience local history, culture and folk customs by using the coupons," Liu said.

Another cause of pickups' popularity lies in that many new SUVs in the market are not capable of off-road driving. For those that are, like some from Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover, they are usually too pricey for most nature lovers, so pickups have found their niche, said analysts.

Radar, a new marque of Geely Auto, unveiled an electric pickup truck on Tuesday.

Ling Shiquan, CEO of Radar, said the brand focuses on technology, but also humanity and nature as a diversified outdoor lifestyle brand.

Radar has teamed up with outdoor brand Naturehike and National Geographic China to build a service ecosystem for its customers.

Their pickup, called RD6, is built based on Geely's SEA architecture. The platform was developed by the carmaker for electric vehicles only.

The pickup can accelerate from 0-100 kilometers per hour in around six seconds and has a driving range of over 600 km on one charge.

Yuan Weichao, an analyst at the State Information Center, said the vehicle sector is expected to grow as the authorities are to remove restrictions on pickups in urban areas.

In May, the State Council called on local governments to ease such restrictions. Since June, cities in more than 15 provinces including Sichuan, Liaoning and Guangdong have given pickups the green light, allowing them to travel through downtown areas, according to China Central Television.

(Editor:Fu Bo)

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Urbanites falling in love with pickups for weekend trips to the great outdoors
Source:China Daily | 2022-07-18 10:17
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