Photo: © General Motors
In the US, minivans conjure images of the suburbs and families. In China, they’re a symbol of the business world.Chinese high-powered executives have bought hundreds of thousands of the typically family-centered vehicle over the past decade, creating a surprising new luxury market, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Once you forget what minivans are generally used for in the US (although some businessmen here have picked up on their utility as well), they make sense for doing business on the road: they’re spacious, comfortable, and smooth. GM caught onto the trend, and in 2010 released a luxury version of its Buick GL8 minivan in China.
It was a smart move. GM now dominates the minivan market, selling nearly 67,000 GL8 Luxury MPVs in 2011. Sales rose 28% over 2010, to double the rate of the previous model,according to the Detroit Free Press.
The quiet, distraction-free GL8 belies the soccer mum image with an interior inspired by luxury yachts, featuring leather seats, power outlets, automatic doors, and a 10-speaker sound system by Bose. It sells for $45,000 to $61,000. If Audi is the preferred brand for China’s government officials, then Buick could now be the brand of choice for its businessmen.
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