Recreational vehicles take to the roads in numbers

By YU RAN in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-23 07:09
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Lu Yinuo and her husband spent 460,000 yuan on a RV last year to experience camping holidays with their family. CHINA DAILY

Market growth

According to statistics released by the China Automobile Dealers Association in March, the nation's RV market grew by 30 percent in the past two decades. The first such vehicle independently developed and produced domestically came off the production line in 2001.

A report from Intelligent Research Group shows that the number of RVs in China rose from 48,600 to 69,432 from 2016 to 2017, and in 2020, the total exceeded 218,000.

In 2019, a total of 459,700 trips were made in self-owned RVs in China, and 72,500 journeys were taken in rented RVs. The following year, 648,100 trips were made in self-owned RVs, while the number of journeys taken in rented vehicles fell to 71,000.

Du, from Yuchen RV (Shanghai) Co, said, "The RV market in China is quite small compared with those in the United States and Europe, but it is expected to witness promising development, especially following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020."

The increased popularity of camping in smaller RVs priced from 200,000 to 300,000 yuan ($29,140 to $43,710) has attracted more young people to pursue so-called Vanlife (van plus lifestyle).

Vanlife, which has become popular globally in recent years, is pursued by the younger generation seeking more freedom. Numerous Vanlife videos have been posted on various social media platforms, attracting large audiences.

Influenced by Vanlife, Lu Yinuo, 33, from Hangzhou, spent 460,000 yuan on an RV last year for her family to enjoy camping holidays.

"In recent years, the term work-life balance has gained traction among the younger generation. I believe more young people will pursue freedom and pleasure in the future," said Lu, who has been on weekend camping trips with her family for the past two years.

A long period of traditional camping left Lu and her husband a little exhausted, so he proposed buying an RV. As the couple planned to have a second child, they thought a mobile home would be more convenient for camping and traveling.

The couple uses the vehicle as a remote office on weekdays — returning home the same day — for camping during weekends, and for road trips two to three times per year.

"We used to travel the world every year, so my first child had been to 11 countries before turning 4. The COVID-19 pandemic didn't stop us exploring and longing to see more of the world, and my family really took to camping," Lu said.

After buying the RV, the couple no longer needed to worry about preparing sleeping bags and packing lamps, kitchenware, food and heating equipment for trips in winter. Lu and her husband now have more time and energy to play with their children and enjoy a slow-paced life while camping.

"Life on the road is always full of surprises, difficulties and joy — time when we solve problems and enjoy nature. The children see insects and plants they learn about from picture books, and become more adventurous in trying new things," Lu said.

She added that her son realized his dream of falling asleep under the stars, before waking to see the sun rise.

According to the 2021 China RV Market Inventory released by the China Automobile Dealers Association, the annual sales volume for domestic self-driven RVs reached 12,582 in 2021, a rise of 43.2 percent year-on-year. The monthly average sales volume exceeded 1,000, while annual sales of towable RVs stood at 3,543.

In the first quarter of last year, cumulative sales of RVs reached 2,425, a rise of 17 percent year-on-year — the highest for that period for the past five years.

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