China February-March 2016: Focus on the all-new models

Baojun 510

We are catching up on two months at once with a laser focus on the all-new locally produced models hitting the Chinese market. A total of 18 new nameplates made their first appearance in the Chinese sales charts over the past couple of months.

1. Baojun 510: February 8.086 sales, March 18.016 sales

Unveiled last November at the Guangzhou Auto Show, the 510 is Baojun’s second incursion in the crossover segment after the immensely successful 560, but this time the design is daring, especially for a low-cost Chinese offer. It worked. As we have already detailed in the China March 2017 update, the 510 is already a blockbuster with 18.016 sales for its second month in market. However this has come with a price: the cannibalisation of the 560, freefalling 64% at the same time the 510 is extending its wings. As for all Baojun nameplates, the 510 price range stands at a cutthroat 59.800-75.800 yuan (US$ 8.700-11.000) which means it doesn’t overlap with the 560, priced from 76.800 to 89.800 yuan ($11.200-13.050). The 510 comes with a petrol 1.5L litre engine with a 6 speed manual or automatic gearbox. The success of the 510 so far is a sign that Chinese buyers are ready to purchase more daring designs by their homegrown carmakers. Keeping things in perspective though: at 18.016 sales in March, the 510 remains way below the 560’s personal best of 42.077 units reached back in March 2016.

Bar for success: 20.000 monthly sales

2. Roewe i6: March 7.015 sales

After the tremendous success of the RX5 crossover (personal best at 24.778 units), Roewe continues to climb back up the Chinese brands sales ladder thanks to this new i6 sedan replacing both the 550 and 750. The 4.67m-long i6 is equipped with a 1.5L turbo engine, and is priced from 89.800 to 143.800 yuan (US$ 13.000-20.900). An electric variant called ei6 will also be launched. The i stands for internet, innovation and intelligence. It has traditionally been harder for local manufacturers to be successful in the sedan segment, with the most successful being the cheaper Geely Emgrand EC7 (69.800-100.800 yuan), Changan Eado (73.900-94.900 yuan) and Chery Arrizo 5 (60.000 to 80.000 yuan). The task is therefore arduous for the i6 which is a clear stab at the best-selling VW Lavida both in terms of design and price: the Lavida is priced at 112.900-166.900 yuan and comes with a 1.4L turbo or 1.6L.

Bar for success: 10.000 sales

3. FAW Besturn X40: March 4.905 sales

Finally the FAW sub-brand Besturn is getting its compact SUV, the X40, which hits the bullseye of what Chinese customers are waiting for: from its first month of sales the X40 is the best-selling, selling ten times more than the next best-seller! The Besturn X40 is based on the Senya R7 launched in 2016 but proposes a slightly more aggressive design that gives off a little air of Mazda. Powered by a 1.6L engine mated with a five speed manual or six speed auto, the X40 is priced from 69.800 to 103.800 yuan (US$10.100-15.100) which is almost exactly the same as the Senya R7, whose personal best is 7.967 sales last September. FAW Besturn would be happy with the same for its X40.

Bar for success: 7.500 sales

4. Toyota Yaris L Sedan: March 4.317 sales

After launching the hatchback variant back in November 2013, Toyota finally kick starts the career of the sedan variant of the Yaris L, manufactured by the Guangzhou-Toyota joint-venture. The sedan gets the same engines as the hatchback: a 1.3 and 1.5L, and is priced between 75.000 and 110.00 yuan (US$10.900-16.000).

Bar for success: 7.500 monthly sales

5. MG ZS: March 4.264 sales

The new ZS crossover is built on the same platform as the MG GS and Roewe RX5. At 4.31m long, the ZS is entering the compact SUV segment which is arguably one of the most crowded at the moment.  The ZS has replaced the GS as the hippest MG around and as a result is the brand’s best-seller as early as for its first month of sales. The ZS comes with a choice between a 1.5L paired with a 5MT or 4AT and a 1.0T mated with a 6AT. It is priced between 73.800 and 115.800 yuan (US$10.700-16.800).

Bar for success: 8.500 monthly sales

6. Toyota Vios FS: March 3.467 sales

Introduced at the Guangzhou Auto Show last November, the Toyota Vios FS is the hatchback variant of the Chinese Vios, completing the entry-level offering of the FAW-Toyota joint-venture – it is the equivalent of the Yaris L by Guangzhou-Toyota. There is a choice of two engines: a 1.3 or 1.5, mated to a five-speed manual or CVT. The Vios FS is priced between 60.000 and 105.000 yuan (US$8.700-15.200).

Bar for success: 6.500 monthly sales

 

7. Honda UR-V: March 2.444 sales

This new UR-V is the same car as the Avancier launched late last year, but made by the other Honda joint-venture, Dongfeng-Honda – while the Avancier is made by Guangzhou-Honda. This situation already happened with the Guangzhou-Honda Vezel and the Dongfeng-Honda XR-V. Priced between 246.800 and 329.800 yuan (US$35.800-47.900), the UR-V comes with a choice between 1.5T and 2.0 engines.

Bar for success: 7.500 monthly sales

8. BMW 1 Series: February 887 sales, March 2.145 sales

China gets a country-specific 1 Series sedan as this format is favoured over hatchbacks here. At this stage there are no plans for exports to other countries. It is priced from 204.800 to 332.000 yuan ($29.700-48.200).

Bar for success: 7.500 monthly sales

9. JMC Yusheng S330: March 1.804 sales

This month JMC has decided to split the sales of its Yusheng SUV into S350 and S330, marking the appearance of the latter in the ranking even though it launched back in September 2016. Looking rather bland, the S330 is powered by a 1.5T engine matched with a six-speed manual or automatic. It is priced between 100.000 and 130.000 yuan (US$14.500-18.900).

Bar for success: 4.500 monthly sales

10. Zotye Damai X7: February 2.564 sales, March 1.722 sales

Announced for October, the Zotye Damai X7 finally hits the Chinese sales charts. After the Audi Q5 (Zotye T600), VW Tiguan (Damai X5), Audi Q3 (SR7) and Porsche Macan (SR8), this time Zotye clones the Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE concept, making it the first time a concept car is cloned into a production car by a Chinese carmaker. At 4,74m long, the X7 is powered by a choice of two turbo engines: a 1.5L and a 1.8L and priced from 78.800 to 153.800 yuan (US$11.400-22.300).

Bar for success: 6.500 monthly sales

11. Acura CDX: March 1.055 sales

The CDX is the first Acura to be produced in China, and at this stage it is a China-only model. This 4.50m long compact crossover is made by GAC-Acura, a branch of GAC-Honda, in Zengcheng, Guangzhou. It shares the styling of the 2017 MDX and was unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show in April 2016. Powered with a 1.5T engine mated with an 8-speed DCT, the CDX proposes both FWD and 4WD variants. Honda has chosen a steep pricing for the CDX: from 229.800  to 309.800 yuan or US$ 33.400 to 45.000, which will make it harder to reach high volumes.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly sales

Dongfeng Fengxing CM7

Yema T80Changan Linmax. Picture autohome.com.cn

Notice also the Dongfeng Fengxing CM7 landing in February with 462 sales and improving to 1.006 in March, the Yema T80 with 347 March sales, the Jinbei F50 landing in March with 610 sales, the Changan Linmax landing in February with a tiny 28 sales and improving slightly to 60 in March, the Bisu T5 appearing in March with 17 units and the Hawtai xEV260, the EV variant of the Shengdafei, selling its first 7 units in March.

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