Toyota Veloz Cross is a rookie in the MPV segment in Vietnam – Photo: TUAN CAO
The popular MPV segment in Vietnam occupies a fairly large market share, but in the last 3 years, it has mostly concentrated in one place. Mitsubishi Xpander from a suspicious name rose to occupy most of the market share in the segment. In 2021, 13,616 Xpander units were sold, helping this model to rank 7th in the market, leading the segment with a market share exceeding 44%, according to VAMA.
The success of this car line makes it impossible for other brands to ignore, upgrade products, launch new cars and even reduce the price of best-selling cars. Most of the possible tricks are launched to capture market share.
In March 2022, Suzuki launched an upgraded version of the XL7 series with a number of new features such as hands-free trunk opening, a dash cam with built-in mirror display, 360-degree camera and wireless charging for smartphones. These are trendy features that rarely appear on popular MPV lines, especially Xpander does not have.
Suzuki XL7 special edition at the dealer – Photo: DONG TRUONG
Almost at the same time, Toyota Vietnam launched two models of Veloz Cross and Avanza Premio to the market. These are considered the MPVs with the leading comfort content today, even surpassing many cars of the same price range of Toyota.
Capital associated with a pragmatic image, the Japanese automaker also had to change and bring up new products a series of utilities to increase competitiveness. This was inherently what was lacking, leading to the failure of Rush and Avanza before. This car company also clearly shows its ambition to dominate the segment with two products that overlap in price range, targeting separate customer groups.
XL7 or Veloz Cross are typical examples showing the indulgence of Japanese automakers when they want to gain market share in a potential segment. There are even many opinions that Toyota cars follow the Korean car model, installing a lot of equipment to increase competition.
“In a flat world, the difference between car manufacturers is not much, it is understandable to follow the trend of success,” said Thanh Duy, a longtime car industry expert.
In the face of the threat from rivals, the king of the Mitsubishi Xpander segment took advantage of discounts to attract users before competing models hit the shelves. The sales strategy of the Japanese automaker during the past time has been to give gifts and incentives to car buyers.
However, the appearance of new products, while Xpander has not had a significant upgrade, causes dealers to actively reduce prices to quickly push out the old version. MPV Japan will have an upgraded version in the near future, adding more features to increase competitiveness.
Avanza Premio at the dealership – Photo: TUAN CAO
In the MPV segment at the moment, users are experiencing the feeling of being a real “god”, favored by products with many equipments, with different options for measurement. In the past, users had almost no choice than Toyota Innova, despite its high price and poor equipment. It was Innova’s slowness to change that caused this MPV to fall into recession before a younger Xpander and understand customers better.
The problem that car manufacturers need to solve now is to meet the supply, avoid the situation of “beer with peanuts”. Mitsubishi’s strategy has been reapplied by Toyota and Suzuki themselves for a new market share race, a new chapter of comfortable MPVs.