OREANDA-NEWS. Demand for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) expanded by 46.2% over the year to March 2016 on the back of manufacturer-led price cuts of best-selling models, indicating intensifying competition in the SUV segment, says Fitch Ratings in its latest China Auto Watch.

SUVs are a key growth driver for most Chinese indigenous and joint-venture original equipment manufacturers amid weakening sedan demand, which fell by 3.2% yoy in March 2016.

China's overall passenger vehicle (PV) market warmed in March 2016. Sale volumes improved by 9.9% yoy (6.7% in 1Q16), thanks to recovering retail demand and dealers restocking after the Chinese Lunar Year holidays. Fitch expects further PV market growth in 2Q16, driven by improving consumer sentiment, increasing promotional efforts and a low 2015 base caused by stock-market volatility.