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China Full Year 2017: Exclusive imports data by model and brand

The Lexus ES is the most popular import in China for 2017. 

* See the Top 50 All-brands and Top 300 All-models by clicking on the title *

Detailed 2017 imports data for China is now available on BSCB thanks to a new source in China. All-brands and All-models 2017 monthly data is available, please contact us here for more details. Chinese imports sales data is traditionally a very secretive part of the worldwide market representing over one million annual units, but we can now report on it monthly. No media outside of China is reporting on these figures, and BSCB being the first to do so, in line with our pledge to improve coverage of the Chinese market. Import sales in China tend to be stable year-on-year, not replicating the market’s growth simply because more and more manufacturers are opening factories in China and less and less remain pure importers. In 2017, 1.114.866 new cars were imported into China, that’s a slim 11% gain over the 1.007.088 of two years prior in 2015.

The BMW X5 comes in at #2 in the imported models ranking. Picture

BMW is the best-selling importer in China for 2017, with a slim 4.000 unit-margin over #2 Mercedes, both above 170.000 units. Pure importer Lexus is above 130.000 sales in third place followed by Toyota (76.000) and Porsche (69.000). Land Rover (#6), Lincoln (#7), Audi (#9) and pure importer Mini (#10) make it 8 premium manufacturers in the Top 10. With 20% import taxes being slapped on incoming nameplates, it makes sense that premium carmakers are the most popular. Subaru is the third best-selling pure importer at #11 overall and one of only 6 above 10.000 annual sales alongside Smart (#16), Maserati (#19) and Tesla (#20). Alfa Romeo makes its landing at #23 with just under 5.000 deliveries of the Giulia and Stelvio.

The Toyota Prado rounds up the imports podium. Picture 

Over in the models aisle, the Chinese tastes are clear: 8 luxury SUVs in the Top 10, although the overall best-seller is a sedan: the Lexus ES leaps from #4 in 2015 to pole position and earned its 2017 victory with 11 monthly wins (every month bar January) and an almost 7.000 sales gap with the #2, the BMW X5 which was leader two years ago and ranked #1 in January but #2 during every other month of 2017. #3 in 2015, the Jeep Compass has been replaced by a locally-produced model in 2017 and accordingly sees its imported ranking plunge to #139 this year, illustrating the fate of brands that become local producers. The Toyota Prado is knocked down to #3 and is one of only a handful of nameplates that sell well both their locally-produced and imported variants. The BMW X3 comes in 4th (+1 on 2015) while the Mercedes GLE rounds up the Top 5, almost exactly replacing its predecessor the M-Class (#6 in 2015).

The Porsche Macan ranks at a very impressive 6th place, one of Two Porsches in the Top 10.

Porsche maintains an impressive presence in the Top 10 with both the Macan (#6) and Cayenne (#9) up one spot on their 2015 rankings. Lexus adds the RX (#7, +32) and NX (#10, -1) to make it three nameplates inside the imported Top 10, the most of any importer. Fantastic performances of the Mercedes CLA at #8, BMW 7 Series at #11 with almost 25.000 sales, the Nissan Patrol getting a good kick at #16. Based on price and not brand, the Subaru Forester would remain the most popular “mass” nameplate and the only one in the Top 20 but drops 6 spots on 2015 to #17. Lincoln manages to place the MKC at #19, the MKX at #22 and the MKZ at #30.

The Mercedes GLS is the best-selling newcomer, ending 2017 just outside the Top 20. 

Which new launches have been the most successful among imports? By this we mean nameplates that weren’t present in the FY2015 ranking. No surprise: the most popular are luxury SUVs, led by the Mercedes GLS (#21), Jaguar F-Pace (#25), Maserati Levante (#35), Tesla Model X (#39) and Mercedes GLC Coupe (#43). The Smart Forfour (#47) and Lincoln Continental (#53) follow, while the Mercedes Maybach S-Class signs a very impressive 54th place with just under 6.500 sales over the past 12 moths, making China its #1 market in the world, and by far. Granted, China was probably the only reason why the Maybach brand was revived for this ultra-luxury sedan.

The Ford F-150 is now officially imported in China alongside Ram Pickup and Toyota Tundra.

Finally it’s worth touching on the latest new trend in official imports into China. At last reacting to the love of large American pickup trucks I witnessed in every single rural city I visited in the country (2016 Photo Reports are here), U.S. carmakers are now officially importing a handful of full-size pickups into China instead of counting on private importers and the grey market. This way, the Ford F-150 makes its appearance at #126, the Ram Pickup is at #183 and the Toyota Tundra #193. However expect these rankings to improve drastically in 2018 as well as a few additions to the list from General Motors, such as the Chevrolet Silverado, Colorado (both present at the Guangzhou Auto Show) and even the GMC Sierra.

Previous post: China June 2017: Exclusive imports data now available

Two years ago: China Full Year 2015: Exclusive imported models ranking now available

Full Year and December 2017 Top 50 All-brands and Top 300 All-models below.

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BSCB Exclusive: Your Guide to all 143 Chinese Brands

Our Exclusive Guide to all 143 active Chinese brands is here! It includes car, electric vehicles, pickup, bus and truck manufacturers and is the result of research spanning over two years and multiple investigating trips to China. Nowhere else will you find such a complete and up-to-date compilation of all active Chinese automotive manufacturers. Like it has been the case for this very website, it’s my need for such a list and its absence anywhere online that have triggered this endeavour. A very simple way to take stock of how much the Chinese brands list has grown over the years is this: there are probably just as many active automotive brands in China than there are in the rest of the world

The largest new vehicle market in the world, China is evolving at lightning speed with a myriad of local brands currently operating. Recently, the allocation of electric car production licenses by the Chinese government has triggered the creation of dozens of new NEV manufacturers and brands – 16 in the past couple of years. In a way, China is now where the USA and Europe markets were in the 1920s with dozens of brands competing for share in booming volumes. There is no doubt the number of Chinese brands will drastically reduce over the next few decades, but for now, with sub-brands becoming brands, brands appearing and disappearing on a monthly basis, it can be a truly confusing maze. No more. Thanks to our Exclusive Guide to all active Chinese brands, the Chinese market won’t have any secrets for you anymore.

This is a live Guide, updated as new information comes about. 8 new brands have been added (COS, Doda, Jetour, LvChi, ORA, Qingling, Sinogold and YGM), 1 discontinued (Hafei) and 1 demoted to sub-brand (Exeed) since the first version of this guide was published on January 5, 2018. If you have information that would impact this Guide please make sure to share it in the comments below.

Please contact us here for a more thorough analysis of the Chinese new car market. We can create tailor studies to suit your needs.

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The full Chinese Brands Guide is below.

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* Full Year 2017 Reports * 108 markets available

The Ford F-Series tops the US market for the 36th consecutive year in 2017. 

This article is the portal to all Full Year 2017 Reports, you can find below all updates already live. This list is updated in real time as more Reports get published.

See the Full Year 2016 Reports for 107 markets here

See the Top 1000 best-selling models in the world in 2016 here

See the Full Year 2015 Reports for 136 markets here

See the Full Year 2014 Reports for 134 markets here

See the Full Year 2013 Reports for 108 markets here

All markets available in alphabetical order:

Afghanistan Full Year 2017: Toyota Corolla still king of the roads

Albania Full Year 2017: VW Golf should lead, Mercedes dominates landscape

Algeria Full Year 2017: Renault Symbol and Sandero top atone market

American Samoa Full Year 2017: Ford and Toyota lead market up 6%

Andorra Full Year 2017: New passenger car sales up 19.1%

Argentina Full Year 2017: VW Gol, Renault Sandero and Chevrolet Onix top market up 27%

Australia Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger top record market

Austria Full Year 2017: VW Golf unbeatable, Toyota up 43%

Bahrain Full Year 2017: Toyota Land Cruiser holds onto #1, market down 25.6%

Belarus Full Year 2017: VW Polo #1 for 5th straight year, Geely up to #12

Belgium Full Year 2017: VW Golf #1, BMW X1 up to 5th place

Bosnia & Herzegovina Full Year 2017: Renault Clio first non-Skoda #1 in at least a decade

Botswana Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux down 23% but still #1

Brazil Full Year 2017: Chevrolet Onix threepeats in market back up 9.4%

Bulgaria Full Year 2017: Dacia and Renault lead, Kia up 123% to #4

Canada Full Year 2017: F-Series and Ram Pickup break records in first 2m year

Chile Full Year 2017: Hyundai, Mitsubishi L200 top market up 18.1%

China Full Year 2017: Geely becomes #1 Chinese brand in market up 3.2%

China Full Year 2017: Exclusive import data by model and brand

China LCV Full Year 2017: Wuling dominates, pickups gain 18%

Colombia Full Year 2017: Renault Sandero repeats win, market down 6.1%

Croatia Full Year 2017: Skoda Octavia #1 for the third time, market up 15.1%

Cuba Full Year 2017: Lada Vesta imports should make it the best-selling car

Cyprus Full Year 2017: Ford Focus back to #1, Toyota C-HR lands at #5

Czech Republic Full Year 2017: Octavia #1, 4 Skodas in Top 4, record market

Denmark Full Year 2017: Peugeot 208 holds on to #1, market down 0.5%

England (UK) Full Year 2017: Fiesta and Golf lead, Mercedes C-Class up to #6

Estonia Full Year 2017: Skoda Octavia and Toyota Avensis on top, sales up 11.5%

Europe Full Year 2017: VW Golf celebrates 10 straight years at #1 in largest market since 2007

Finland Full Year 2017: Toyota passes VW, Skoda Octavia remains #1 model

France Full Year 2017: Clio #1, Peugeot 3008 on podium, Top 12 100% French for 1st time since 1980

Fiji Full Year 2017: Hyundai and Isuzu catch up on Toyota

Germany Full Year 2017: Volkswagen places Golf, Passat and Tiguan on podium

Greece Full Year 2017: Toyota Yaris #1 for 5th year in a row, market up 11.7%

Hungary Full Year 2017: Suzuki and Vitara #1 again, biggest volume since 2008

India Full Year 2017: Five Marutis in Top 5, market above 3 million units

Indonesia Full Year 2017: Avanza #1, Mitsubishi Xpander #2 in December, Wuling ranks #10

Iran Full Year 2017: Chinese brands hold 15% of local production

Iraq Full Year 2017: Kia Frontier up to 32.1% in recovering market

Ireland Full Year 2017: Volkswagen back to #1, Hyundai Tucson repeats

Israel Full Year 2017: Kia Picanto reclaims lead, Hyundai Ioniq up to #6

Italy Full Year 2017: Fiat Tipo on podium in largest market this decade

Ivory Coast Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux leads, only pickups and SUVs in Top 10

Japan Full Year 2017: Honda N-BOX and Toyota Prius on top, Toyota C-HR wins one month

Japan Full Year 2017: Complete Japanese models data now available

Jordan Full Year 2017: Kia Frontier takes control at 14.5% share

Kazakhstan Full Year 2017: Toyota and Camry repeat at #1 in recovering market

Kenya Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux #1, RAV4 and Renault Kwid up

Kuwait Full Year 2017: Toyota Prado celebrates 7 years on top

Latvia Full Year 2017: Nissan Qashqai #1, Toyota C-HR #9, five SUVs in Top 10

Lebanon Full Year 2017: Toyota Prado and Land Cruiser on top, Datsun #10

Lesotho Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux #1, Fortuner and Isuzu KB on podium

Lithuania Full Year 2017: Fiat posts 1-2 with 500 and 500X

Luxembourg Full Year 2017: VW Golf and Tiguan on top, Mercedes GLC #5

Malawi Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux reigns, Foton storms in

Malaysia Full Year 2017: Perodua remains above 200.000 sales

Martinique (France) Full Year 2017: Peugeot 208 leads, Kia Picanto up to #5

Mauritius Full Year 2017: Nissan leads, Kia up 81% in record market

Mexico Full Year 2017: Kia and Hyundai break records, Nissan Versa #1

Moldova Full Year 2017: Dacia Logan leads, outpaces market up 33%

Morocco Full Year 2017: Dacia (+8%) and Renault (+27%) lead in record market

Namibia Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux and Nissan NP300 Hardbody on top

Netherlands Full Year 2017: Clio second Renault to rank #1 in 36 years

New Caledonia (France) Full Year 2017: Duster leads, Dacia 13 units off #1

New Zealand Full Year 2017: Ranger #1, 3 Toyotas in Top 4, record sales

Northern Ireland (UK) Full Year 2017: VW Golf #1 for the first time in 6 years

Norway Full Year 2017: Green cars hold world-record 52.2% share, Tesla up to #7

Oman Full Year 2017: Toyota Land Cruiser snaps top spot off Hilux

Pakistan Full Year 2017: Toyota Corolla leads, Honda up 49% in record market

Papua New Guinea Full Year 2017: Toyota remains above 50% share

Paraguay Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux and Chevrolet S10 top market up 33.9%

Peru Full Year 2017: Toyota Yaris, Hilux and Kia Rio top market up 6%

Philippines Full Year 2017: First win for Toyota Fortuner, 8th record year

Poland Full Year 2017: Skoda Fabia leads for second time in ten years

Portugal Full Year 2017: Renault Clio leads for 5th consecutive year

Puerto Rico (USA) Full Year 2017: Toyota Yaris, Corolla and Tacoma on top

Qatar Full Year 2017: Toyota Land Cruiser and Nissan Patrol dominate

Rep of Macedonia Full Year 2017: Dacia Duster discards VW Golf to remain #1

Romania Full Year 2017: Logan, Duster, Sandero: podium 100% Dacia for the first time

Russia Full Year 2017: Kia Rio 2nd foreign model #1 in 47 years, market up 11.9%

Samoa Full Year 2017: Toyota down, Ford and Hyundai up

San Marino Full Year 2017: Fiat catches up on VW in market up 21.7%

Saudi Arabia Full Year 2017: Toyota Camry leads for the first time this decade

Scotland (UK) Full Year 2017: Vauxhall Corsa snaps 9th win in past 10 years

Serbia Full Year 2017: Fiat 500L maintains lead for third year in a row

Singapore Full Year 2017: Toyota reclaims #1 spot, Mazda3 shines

Slovakia Full Year 2017: Skoda Octavia reclaims crown for the first time since 2014

Slovenia Full Year 2017: Renault Clio celebrates 20 years at #1, threatened by VW Golf

Solomon Islands Full Year 2017: Toyota up to 48.2% share in market down 28.5%

South Africa Full Year 2017: Toyota Hilux snaps 8th win in past 9 years

South Korea Full Year 2017: First win for the Hyundai Grandeur

Spain Full Year 2017: Seat Leon wins 4th straight crown in largest market in a decade

Swaziland Full Year 2017: Isuzu KB on top, 6 pickups in Top 8

Sweden Full Year 2017: Volvo reclaims #1 models spot with old gen XC60

Switzerland Full Year 2017: Skoda Octavia ends 23 year-long VW Golf reign

Syria Full Year 2017: Hyundai Tucson snaps lead in market down 11%

Taiwan Full Year 2017: Toyota and Corolla lead, Honda up 25%

Thailand Full Year 2017: Isuzu D-Max snaps crown off Toyota Hilux for first time in 12 years

Tonga Full Year 2017: Toyota holds 84.1% share in market up 12.5%

Tunisia Full Year 2017: Isuzu, Citroen, Renault top market up 5.1%

Turkey Full Year 2017: Fiat Egea and Renault Megane top market down 2.8%

Turkmenistan Full Year 2017: Mercedes most popular brand at 42.5% share

UK Full Year 2017: VW Golf and Nissan Qashqai break records in market down 5.7%

Ukraine Full Year 2017: Kia Sportage and Renault Duster top market up 25%

United Arab Emirates Full Year 2017: Nissan Patrol surprise leader

Uruguay Full Year 2017: Volkswagen and Chevrolet Onix #1, market up 19.5%

USA Full Year 2017: First decline since 2009, Toyota RAV4 & Nissan Rogue outsell all passenger cars

Venezuela Full Year 2017: Old gen Toyota Hilux leads market down 98% in 5 years

Vietnam Full Year 2017: Toyota Vios tightens grip on market down 10.4%

Wales (UK) Full Year 2017: Podium 100% Ford: Fiesta, Focus and Kuga

Yemen Full Year 2017: Toyota Land Cruiser holds 36% of market up 25.7%

BSCB Exclusive: The car landscapes of 30 Chinese cities and regions

All the cities and regions explored by BSCB since 2013.

Across five years, BSCB has been lucky enough to visit no less than 30 Chinese cities and regions spread all around the country. We came back with extensive Photo Reports so you can discover how the car landscapes vary geographically but also through time as we were able to return to a few cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou. Every year, BSCB attends at least one major Chinese Auto Show, and these are also covered extensively in separate reports. You will find below all Photo Reports covering the cities and regions BSCB has explored since 2013, and all of them indicated on the map above.

1. Wuling Rongguang DegeWuling Rongguang in Dégé, Sichuan Province.

The cars of Guangzhou and Huangge, Guangdong province (2017)

The cars of Tagong and Daocheng Airport

The cars of Dégé, Sichuan province

The Chola Pass, Sichuan province (videos)

Chola Pass 12Just after the summit at Chola Pass, Sichuan Province.

The Kangding to Dégé road, Sichuan province

The cars of Kangding, Sichuan province

The cars of Chengdu, Sichuan province

The mountain road from Xiahe to Xining, Gansu province

The cars (and 3-wheelers) of Xiahe, Gansu province(video)

1. VW Jetta Taxi Kangding China 2016VW Jetta Taxi in Kangding, Sichuan province

The cars of Tongren, Qinghai province

The Chinese car dealerships of Xining, Qinghai province

The cars of Xining, Qinghai province

The cars of Beijing (2016)

1. Great Wall Wingle 6 Xiahe China 2016Great Wall Wingle 6 in Xiahe, Gansu province

The cars of Guangzhou, Guangdong province

The cars of Mohe, Heilongjiang province

The cars of Harbin, Heilongjiang province

The cars of Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang province

Chery QQ YanjiChery QQ in Yanji (notice the Russian sign)

The cars of Yanji, Korean autonomous prefecture

The cars of Changchun, Jilin province

The cars of Shanghai

Taklamakan Desert May 2014Crossing the Taklamakan desert, Western China

The cars of Turpan, Xinjiang Uyghur, Western China

The cars of Kuqa, Xinjiang Uyghur, Western China

Crossing the Taklamakan desert, Western China

The cars of Hotan, Xinjiang Uyghur, Western China

Travelling on the Chinese Silk Road like a Boss (videos)

2. K2On the Karakoram Highway: the pyramid-shaped mountain in the back is the K2, the world’s 2nd highest summit.

On the Karakoram Highway – China side

The cars of Kashgar, South-Western China

3. Dongfeng Pickup 4WDDongfeng Pick-up at Kashgar livestock bazaar

The pick-ups of Kashgar, South-Western China

The cars of Ürümqi, Xinjiang Uyghur, Western China Part 2

The cars of Ürümqi, Xinjiang Uyghur, Western China Part 1

1. Chana TaurusChana Taurustar in Chongqing

The cars of Chongqing, Central China

A voyage into Beijing hutongs (2014)

The cars of Badaling, Great Wall of China

A visit to the Chaoyang car market in Beijing, China

The cars of Beijing (2013)

Guangzhou Auto Show 2017: 20 Highlights, 150 Pictures

Lynk & Co 01 headlight detail

Last week was the opening of the Guangzhou Auto Show 2017, and for the second time after 2015 BSCB was able to attend. The main objective was to stay on top of the numerous new launches by Chinese carmakers so this report will mainly focus on these, with foreign brands covered in the last three points. I give you 20 Highlights of the Guangzhou Auto Show 2017 in 150 pictures. Remember to click on any pic to enlarge it.

1. Lynk & Co is where it’s at

Only one year after its unveiling, the Lynk & Co brand has already gained the title of coolest Chinese brand around. Its stand was by far the busiest in the entire show, including a very large delegation of Volkswagen executives that spent a good hour examining every millimetre of vehicle during the Press Day. On top of displaying two 01 crossovers as well as one 03 sedan concept, Lynk & Co masterfully managed to pull an almost impossible balance between premium and accessible. The stand is a smart black background that inversely heroes the cars, but the (mostly Western) staff is all-smiles and wearing a variety of playful/incongruous tees (“so rong it’s write”) and the space is populated with a multitude of inclusive areas such as multiple swings (yes), photo booths, a bar and a DJ booth playing music that makes me feel I should definitely get onto this Spotify subscription or risking feeling hopelessly old-fashioned very quickly: there is such a thing as a Lynk & Co rap (see video above at 2:00).

The 01 crossover itself is full of very satisfying finds, such as the unique front and rear lights, almost perfect interior allying plushness, modern design and liveability, and unquestionable four-wheel drive ability as featured in a stunning promotional video (see above) shot both in the Inner Mongolian desert and in Sweden – Lynk & CO also has Swedish genes as it shares its platform with the new Volvo XC40. Then there is the innovative 100% online sales strategy coupled with new subscription models also trialled by Volvo. Contrary to the other attempts at premium by Chinese carmakers, and in those I will include Qoros, WEY and Exeed – all covered further down in this Report – Lynk & Co has already understood that to succeed, premium doesn’t have to mean aloof. You can be welcoming and high quality at the same time, and it’s called confidence. Although Lynk & Co hasn’t sold a single vehicle in market yet, it already exudes a level of confidence I have not yet witnessed in a Chinese carmaker – even with Haval and Geely. There, I’ve said it, and I look forward to the next steps.

2. Changhe stuns with the Q7 SUV

Bought by BAIC in late 2013, Changhe had some kind of revival in 2016 with the successive launches of the Q25 and Q35 crossovers, based on BAIC Senova models but displaying their own personality. But despite the additional launch of the Freedom M70 MPV last January, I pronounced Changhe well and truly dead in 2017 with sales crumbling down 53% in May, 37% in August, 28% in September and 29% in October. But no, BAIC has not given up on Changhe, in fact the opposite is true. It is launching two new nameplates in Guangzhou: the good-looking A6 sedan with much-improved interiors, but the one that will shatter low-end perceptions of the brand is the Q7 SUV.

Above and below: Changhe Q7

Below: Changhe A6

The exterior is robust yet sober, with nice premium touches like the Changhe name in curvy writing on the back pillars, sharp head and backlights and a chromed grille, but it’s the interior that makes a remarkable statement, successfully applying a rectangular shape theme to the air vents, floor console, wheel commands, touch screen and electric window commands. Sown leather feels plush, all commands invite use and I just want to touch everything inside this very surprising car. Assuredly one of the best interiors ever released by a Chinese carmaker. Who would have ever thought that of Changhe?

3. The Arcfox Lite: the first truly cool Chinese EV

Almost managing to make more noise at the Show than Lynk & Co, Beijing Auto BJEV is the unexpected creator of the first truly cool Chinese EV: the Arcfox Lite. Arcfox is the group’s new EV brand launched in April 2016 at the Beijing Auto Show, and the Lite is its first model. However the accent is fully put on the Lite name, with Chinese media referring to it as Lite by Arcfox. Regardless, this is a cute little minicar and there were literally dozens of them inundating the Guangzhou Auto stand in both bright and pastel colours. Two main attractions in the Lite. First, the interior which is one of the most exciting ever launched for a Chinese brand, featuring not one but three 8 inch screens forming a full digital bar. Second, it has LED displays at the front and rear of the car where both the driver and passenger can ‘advertise’ their own messages, in Chinese or Western alphabets, and even emoticons. Above you can see the front display filled with hearts. Cute. It’s like the car is speaking with pedestrians! Plus you get to be able to write what you want, including insults. Now that’s cool.

Hanteng X7 PHEV and X5 interior

4. One year-old Hanteng is improving fast

Created in 2013, Hanteng Motors is, like Zotye, owned by Tech-New. It appeared in the Chinese sales charts a little more than a year ago with a Zotye T600 rebadge, the X7, then unveiled the smaller X5 at last year’s Guangzhou Auto Show in November 2016 but is yet to be sold nationally. So far, nothing spectacular. And this is why Hanteng ranks so high in my list of surprises this year: the carmaker introduced not one but two new designs for the X7 (the X7 PHEV and X7S) as well as a rejigged X5. The interiors are a giant leap forward with high perceived quality, sown materials and the brand name embedded in the armrest. I’m very impressed.

5. The new Landwind Xiaoyao is only a half-clone

That’s always better than a full clone, right? One of the best surprises of the Show is this stunning-looking Landwind Xiaoyao, originally unveiled as a concept one year ago at Guangzhou Auto 2016. It is simply the best looking Landwind launched so far and a far cry from the infamous Range Rover Evoque clone, the X5. Landwind has however not entirely given up on cloning, and a look at the car sideways and from the rear will undeniably remind you of a certain Mercedes GLA. The interior is okay if only a little too shiny and plasticky, but these sharp front headlights make it all worthwhile. Way to go Landwind.

6. Baojun gallops ahead, again

We are still digesting the astronomical sales figures of the latest Baojun launch, the daringly-designed 510 headed towards becoming the fastest nameplate in the history of automobile both in China and the world to reach 300.000 sales (10 months). Yet Baojun strikes again, giving the 510 a larger brother named 530. Don’t change it if it ain’t broke: the 530 utilises the cutting-edge design cues of the 510, adding a bit more chrome around the grille and down the bumpers. Although larger, the 530 remains a five-seater and is, too, destined to a stellar career.

But this Show was also the opportunity for me to step inside the 510 for the first time and see what the fuss is all about. And straight away I understood. With pricing starting at just 59.800 yuan (US$9.000 or €7.700), the 510 offers inside luxuries otherwise reserved to cars a few segments up: electric seats, sown materials, pleasant fabrics, rotary gear shift, Mercedes-style dials and my pet fave: a slow-opening glovebox. I want one. Could General Motors sell this as an entry-model crossover under the Chevrolet brand please? Or even better: as a Holden in Australia where I live?

WEY P8, VV7 interior and VV5 exterior details

7. Are WEY cars all the same?

New Great Wall premium brand WEY has decided all its models should be painted red at the Show, perhaps to better contrast with Haval cars mostly white here. And some contrast is needed as I still can’t shake off the feeling that both the WEY VV5 and VV7 look like more aggressive Haval H2s or H6, but are lacking differentiating personalities. The Chinese public certainly disagrees with me, having gobbled up no less than 45.000 WEY cars since sales started a mere four months ago. To this confusingly similar-looking tandem, WEY has added the P8 plug-in hybrid unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show last September, adorned with a Lexus-styled grille. The interior looks almost identical with a few additional rotary controls. Don’t get me wrong, interior quality is at its best for a Chinese brand but I’m left wanting more.

Exeed TX and Exeed stand at the Guangzhou Auto Show 2017.

8. Can Exeed succeed?

Contrary to Lynk & Co and WEY which both had their very own stand located in completely different halls than Geely and Haval respectively, Chery’s new premium brand, Exeed, remains closely linked to its creator. The mention “by Chery” is placed below the Exeed name on billboard advertising around the Show’s venue and the TX SUV was positioned right in the middle of the… Chery stand in Guangzhou. A half-baked attempt at this stage. The car design itself looks a little heavy and is lacking some dynamism, definitely showing that it’s Chery’s largest SUV to-date. Nothing outstanding exterior design-wise, if anything it looks less modern than the Tiggo 7 or 5x, and the interior is plush without being exceptional, with a very confusing asymmetrical central armrest in-between the front seats. A pretty unconvincing performance so far by Exeed, especially given all the hype surrounding both competitors Lynk & Co and WEY.

9. More SUVs from Dongfeng

There is only one word on the lips of Dongfeng executives: SUVs. Building on the historical success of the Fengguang 580 (almost 20.000 sales last month), Dongfeng has just unveiled the Fengxing S560 to market (see our October All-new models report) and will launch the Fengdu MX3 shortly, but that’s no excuse not to launch more, correct? Correct. Introducing the totally revamped Fengxing Joyear X5 five-seater and and the all-new Joyear X6… seven-seater, both coming with two slightly different snouts for the price of one and looking better and better with each launch, if only a tad too close to Volkswagen…

Haval H4 Red label Haval H4 Blue labelNew Haval H6 Coupe Red label Haval H6 Red label
Haval H6 Blue label. Below, Haval H4 interior.

10. Three more Havals

In 2016, Haval inaugurated a two-fold blue and red label strategy, in effect instantly doubling the size of its lineup. Not to be slowed down, after launching the M6 a couple of months ago (and a new brand, WEY), Haval surprises us with another identical-looking SUV: the H4, of course available in slightly different designs for blue and red labels. Its interior is of great quality as we have come to expect from the brand, but a little schizophrenic, hesitating between the straight lines of its touch screen and the more rounded aspects of the rest of the cockpit. Oh and for good measure, let’s throw in a totally new H6 Coupe Red label design looking like a… M6 which is blue label, obvs. Wait, what?

11. The FAW Hongqi H5 impresses with its interior

Ever since the first Chinese Auto Show I attended, back in Beijing in 2014, the FAW Hongqi brand has been big on promises but not so much on delivery. It now has a realistic model under its belt in the form of the H5, which really impressed me with its interior. Some fun design statements like the floating armrest, along with electric seats, plush materials and a well-proportioned and very digital central console are only let down by a glove box falling abruptly with a cheap “clang” – one of my pet hates. Pity no sales figures are communicated by the carmaker. The LS5 SUV was once again on display but seems to be destined to forever remain a dream.

12. Geely continues to launch like a Boss

There’s a confident air at the Geely stand with the information desk set up in minimalistic manner just next to an elegant tea bar. Quietly celebrating its highest monthly sales on record (125.201 units in October), Geely couldn’t go an Auto Show without a new model launch – the seventh in the past 20 months! – and here comes the Vision S1 hatchback, with simple yet sophisticated interiors. It’s good to see that Geely hasn’t got distracted in the least by the Lynk & Co fanfare.

13. Wuling proudly goes SUV with the Hongguang S3

Unveiled in Shanghai last April and on sale since earlier this month, the Hongguang S3 is Wuling’s very first SUV, albeit built on a Hongguang MPV platform as its name indicates. The brand has been struggling lately due to the freefalling of the commercial minivans that used to be its bread and butter. Even the best-selling Hongguang and Hongguang V are declining in the double-digits, so this S3 comes just at the right time. I wanted to see whether the interior was very Wuling of very SUV, and the latter is true, with bluffing materials for a starting price of 59.800 yuan (US$9.000 or €7.700)… The cherry on top: from Day 2 of the Show Wuling proudly displayed an extravagant race car version of the S3!

14. Chery confirms progress with the 5x – pity about the name

After showing us a much-improved design and interior with the Tiggo 7, the works of new design house Granstudio (the design agency established by former Pininfarina design director Lowie Vermeersch), Chery confirms it is on the right path with this 5x, whose interior shows, well, actual style with just enough chrome and quality materials. Now about the naming. Chery seems to have now got into the habit of denominating with x their new models: choosing Tiggo 3x instead of the more logical Tiggo 4 and now Tiggo 5x instead of, why not, Tiggo 6?

15. Brilliance V6 a good exterior design let down by its interior

Brilliance is one of the worst-faring Chinese carmakers at home this year with sales down an abysmal 48% after ten months. A new SUV is just what the doctor ordered, and thankfully the V6 is here. It’s a marked progress in terms of exterior design, rather modern while keeping the brand’s proprietary grille. Unfortunately, the interior, albeit featuring a reasonably-sized touch screen – a must for Chinese cars nowadays – is all a bit too bland and shiny and seems stuck a few years back.

16. BYD offers a stylish concept, but that’s about it

It’s potentially the start of a renaissance at BYD, with the already successful Song MAX MPV the first model penned by new head of design and ex-Audi man Wolfgang Egger. The brand needs it, with sales down 20% so far this year. But it had not much else to show in Guangzhou, except for a sexy Dynasty concept featuring cameras instead of rear-view mirrors (the way of the future) and a gigantic and protruding touch screen inside – unfortunately the doors were closed.

17. The Chinese carmakers that disappointed

Although based in Guangzhou, local player GAC Trumpchi was far from being the star of the show. Granted, it had a pretty busy year already with the very successful launch of the gigantic GS8 and the arrivals of the GS7 and GS3. Still, it had one novelty at the Show: the enormous GM8 luxury MPV that will target the BYD Song MAX and try and steal some Buick GL8 buyers. Given how fantastically GAC Trumpchi has broken all taboos about successful Chinese large SUVs with the GS8, it could very well do the same in the MPV segment with this GM8…

Chery-owned Qoros is down 44% in 2017 on already very disappointing results, and it doesn’t look like a sales spark will be triggered any time soon: when you call your latest novelty “model Young” just in case your target market isn’t clear enough and launch a car which essentially looks like a Chery Tiggo 7, it reeks of desperation. Clearly, the priority now for Chery in terms of semi-premium brands is Exeed.

The only satisfying model on Lifan’s stand is the Xuanlang MPV, that’s if you’re willing to ignore it is almost a picture perfect clone of the Ford S-Max. The interior of the also-new X80 could have passed three years ago but not in 2017, and no sign of the X70 SUV which would have given the moribund stand a much needed touch of sexiness. Weird.

It has disappointed me before, but this year Haima has reached new lows. Yes, the “camping holiday” theme on the stand is cute with staff wearing Hawaiian shirts, but the “new(?)” F7 crossover is just a stilted version of the V70 which itself was recycling a decade-old design. But it gets worse when you step inside: shiny plastics and analogue speedos galore. It would appear Haima got lost somewhere around 1994. The market responded accordingly with sales down 35% in 2017 so far.

Although very well represented, not all Chinese carmakers were attending the Guangzhou Auto Show this year, with the most notable absentees being Zotye, followed by Leopaard, Cowin, Karry, Zhi Dou, Bisu and Yema. Hopefully they will all make up for it at the next Beijing Auto Show in April 2018!

18. Is PSA Peugeot-Citroen hungry enough?

With Peugeot down 28% so far this year, Citroen down 56% and DS down 62%, PSA Peugeot Citroen is in serious need of a couple of blockbusters. If Peugeot logically put all its energy on the 4008/5008 tandem, Citroen shows us the C5 Aircross. Neither the new C3 nor the C3 Aircross convinced me (cheap interiors), so this is a good test that Citroen passes with highest honours. Contrary to the aforementioned models, the C5 Aircross’ cockpit does feel premium and very original yet pleasantly understated. A huge step in the right direction for the French carmaker.

Over on the DS stand, it’s all about the new DS 7 Crossback that has launched almost simultaneously in Europe and China. I was totally impressed by the DS Experience at last year’s Paris Auto Show, but this time the stand feels cramped with the brand bent on showing absolutely all its models in one go. Granted, the DS 7 is sophisticated, with the Chinese opting to play up its “sponsorship” of France’s new president Macron’s inauguration – a la Hongqi with Chinese presidents – but the over-use of the DS logo’s angular motif virtually everywhere inside is trying too hard. DS hasn’t posted a four-digit sales month since last January and the DS 7 will need to create a lot of momentum to reverse the trend. A tough ask.

19. Korean carmakers are all SUV guns blazing!

For very different reasons than PSA, 2017 is also a nightmare year for both Hyundai (-34%) and Kia (-49%), losing in the space of a few months years of diligent sales progression in China. There is only one way to remedy this hell: SUVs, and lots of them. Reassuringly, both brands answer present with Hyundai adding a thoroughly revamped ix35 on sale locally since last week as well as the all-new Kona scheduled for early 2018 and renamed Encino for China. The Encino will aim right at the über-successful Honda Vezel/XR-V tandem. For Kia, the thinking behind the mysteriously named NP is less clear: it’s relatively big for China while the small KX3 is in dire straits. This Korean SUV assault just as Japanese Mazda, with the CX-3 only dipping its toes in China now, and Toyota, not even showing the C-HR slotted for a summer 2018 release here, are lagging way behind.

Both the Chevrolet Colorado and Silverado were on display in Guangzhou.

20. General Motors got it right

Still ultra-dominant In China, the Volkswagen Group maintained a steady presence in Guangzhou, showing off the new Skoda Karoq, a deliciously sporty VW T-Rocstar (see what they did there?) which reminds us the T-Roc should have been launched in China before Europe and not the other way around, and the dreamy Audi Q8 Concept, a very sexy proposal indeed.

Audi Q8 Concept

But one foreign manufacturer got it more right than others in Guangzhou this year: General Motors. Even when putting aside the very impressive showing of SAIC joint-venture brands Baojun and Wuling, GM shines with its American brands Buick (new GL6 and Avenir) and Chevrolet, which very interestingly showed both Colorado and Silverado pickups as well as a very aggressive Equinox RS. This as Ford didn’t even bother with the F-150 Raptor albeit now officially imported into China, and just when Nissan announced it will start importing the Titan full-size pickup to China next year, to come alongside the locally-produced Navara.

VW T-Rocstar 

That’s all for our coverage of the Guangzhou Auto Show 2017. Stay tuned for a thorough exploration of the car landscape of the city, coming shortly on BSCB.

* Full Year 2016 Reports * 107 markets available

Wuling Hongguang S1 China 2016The Wuling Hongguang posts a 4th straight year at #1 in the world’s largest car market: China. 

This article is the portal to all Full Year 2016 Reports, you can find below all updates already live. This list is added in real time as more updates get published.

See the Full Year 2015 Reports for 136 markets here

See the Full Year 2014 Reports for 134 markets here

See the Full Year 2013 Reports for 108 markets here

All markets available in alphabetical order:

Algeria Full Year 2016: Import quotas bring market to standstill

Angola Full Year 2016: Fiat Doblo and Panda in the lead

Argentina Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux takes control for the first time

Australia Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux first ever “ute” to lead annual sales

Australia Full Year 2016: Exclusive State by State rankings available

Austria Full Year 2016: VW Golf celebrates 40 consecutive years at #1

Azerbaijan Full Year 2016: Lada 4×4 new leader in market down 47%

Bahrain Full Year 2016: Toyota Land Cruiser and Prado on top

Belarus Full Year 2016: VW Polo leads for 4th year, Renault Kaptur in Top 10

Belgium Full Year 2016: VW Golf back to #1, Hyundai Tucson on podium

Bosnia & Herzegovina Full Year 2016: Skoda Octavia and VW Golf on top

Botswana Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux leads, Land Cruiser Pickup up 60% to #2

Brazil Full Year 2016: Chevrolet takes control in market down 20%

Bulgaria Full Year 2016: Dacia Dokker and Nissan Qashqai dominate again

Canada Full Year 2016: Ford F-Series at peak in 4th straight record year

Chile Full Year 2016: Chevrolet Sail resumes domination, Hyundai #1 brand

China Full Year 2016: Tax cut boosts market up 14% to 28 million sales

China LCV Full Year 2016: Wuling Mini Truck leads, pickups up 11%

Colombia Full Year 2016: Renault keeps momentum, places Sandero #1

Côte d’Ivoire Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux and Renault Duster on top

Croatia Full Year 2016: VW Golf leads, Ford Focus and Suzuki Vitara up

Cyprus Full Year 2016: VW Golf resists, Ford Focus and Hyundai Tucson shine

Czech Republic Full Year 2016: 4 Skodas in Top 4 for the first time

Denmark Full Year 2016: Peugeot 208 ends VW Up reign in record market

Ecuador Full Year 2016: Great Wall soars 11% to #5 in market down 22%

Egypt Full Year 2016: Hyundai takes control in market down 40%

England (UK) Full Year 2016: First podium for the VW Golf

Estonia Full Year 2016: Skoda Octavia reclaims top spot

Europe Full Year 2016: Volkswagen flat, Renault up in highest market in 9 years

Europe Full Year 2016: Discover the Top 385 models and Top 60 brands

Finland Full Year 2016: Skoda Octavia on top, Opel Astra up 180%

France Full Year 2016: Private sales under 50% for the first time

Germany Full Year 2016: Volkswagen down, Mercedes up, strongest market this decade

Greece Full Year 2016: Toyota Yaris #1, Nissan Micra on podium

Greenland (Denmark) Full Year 2016: Mitsubishi Outlander likely leader

Gulf Cooperation Council Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux reigns supreme

Hungary Full Year 2016: Suzuki resumes domination after 8 year-lull

Iceland Full Year 2016: Toyota Yaris resumes domination, Kia Sportage shines

India Full Year 2016: The year Renault cracked the Indian market

Indonesia Full Year 2016: Toyota Avanza leads, Calya lands at #3

Iran Full Year 2016: Saipa Pride & Peugeot 405 lead, Brilliance H330 in Top 10

Iraq Full Year 2016: Kia Frontier and Sportage outsell Toyota Hilux

Ireland Full Year 2016: Hyundai Tucson signs historic win

Israel Full Year 2016: Kia Sportage first ever crossover to lead charts

Italy Full Year 2016: 6 Italian models in Top 7 for the first time in 32 years

Japan Full Year 2016: Toyota Prius returns to #1 spot after 3 year-hiatus

Japan Full Year 2016: Now with exclusive Top 170 All-local models

Jordan Full Year 2016: Toyota Land Cruiser takes control, market down 27%

Kazakhstan Full Year 2016: Toyota takes control of market down 52%

Kenya Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux only 10 units above Isuzu KB

Kuwait Full year 2016: Toyota Prado and Camry top market down 26%

Latvia Full Year 2016: Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Octavia top market up 15%

Lebanon Full Year 2016: Toyota Prado snaps top spot

Lesotho Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux ultra-dominant, Fortuner up to #3

Liechtenstein Full Year 2016: Volkswagen AG places 10 nameplates in Top 12

Lithuania Full Year 2016: Fiat 500 ultra-dominant, 500X in Top 5

Luxembourg Full Year 2016: VW Golf leads, BMW X1 up to 4th place

Malawi Full Year 2016: Toyota at 46.7% share, Hilux and Land Cruiser lead

Malaysia Full Year 2016: Perodua hits record share in market down 13%

Malaysia Full Year 2016: Models data now available (BSCB Exclusive)

Malta Full Year 2016: Toyota Aygo and Yaris top rental-biased market

Martinique (France) Full Year 2016: Peugeot and 208 reclaim #1 spots

Mauritius Full Year 2016: Nissan topples Toyota in market up 9%

Mexico Full Year 2016: Record market pounces up 18.6% above 1.6m units

Moldova Full Year 2016: Dacia Logan resists Hyundai Tucson assault

Monaco Full Year 2016: Mercedes takes off, Porsche on podium

Morocco Full Year 2016: Dacia places entire range in Top 7 in record market

Namibia Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Isuzu KB in the lead

Netherlands Full Year 2016: VW Golf holds off Renault Clio for 50 sales

New Caledonia (France) Full Year 2016: Dacia Duster ends 7 years of Ford Ranger domination

New Zealand Full Year 2016: Ford Ranger repeats in third straight record year

Northern Ireland (UK) Full Year 2016: Hyundai Tucson and Renault Kadjar in Top 10

Norway Full Year 2016: VW Golf #1, Mitsubishi Outlander and BMW i3 shine

Oman Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux overtakes Land Cruiser Pickup to #1

Pakistan Full Year 2016: Toyota Corolla tops market down 10%

Philippines Full Year 2016: Toyota Vios leads, Fortuner shines in 7th consecutive record year

Poland Full Year 2016: Opel Astra catches up with Skoda Octavia, Fabia

Portugal Full Year 2016: Renault Clio, Peugeot 208 top market up 16%

Puerto Rico (USA) Full Year 2016: Toyota Yaris outpaces Corolla to #1

Qatar Full Year 2016: Toyota Land Cruiser towers above competition

Rep of Macedonia Full Year 2016: Dacia Duster snaps top spot

Romania Full Year 2016: Dacia Logan leads strongest market this decade

Russia Full Year 2016: Hyundai Solaris ends 45 years of Lada domination

San Marino Full Year 2016: Volkswagen and Audi add up to 30% share

Saudi Arabia Full Year 2016: First ever crown for the Hyundai Accent

Scotland (UK) Full Year 2016: Vauxhall Corsa leads, Astra up 20%

Serbia Full Year 2016: Fiat 500L leads, Opel Astra on podium

Singapore Full Year 2016: Honda takes control thanks to Vezel parallel imports

Slovakia Full Year 2016: Skoda Fabia leads, Hyundai Tucson and Suzuki Vitara shine

Slovenia Full Year 2016: Renault Clio leads, Captur in Top 5

South Africa Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux sovereign in market down 11%

South Korea Full Year 2016: Hyundai Porter first LCV to #1

Spain Full Year 2016: Renault, Seat Leon win in market pushed by rentals

Swaziland Full Year 2016: Isuzu KB reclaims pole position off Toyota Hilux

Sweden Full Year 2016: #1 car not a Volvo for the first time in 54 years

Switzerland Full Year 2016: VW Golf snatches last minute 23rd win

Syria Full Year 2016: Kia Frontier tops market down 36%

Taiwan Full Year 2016: Toyota Corolla, RAV4 and Yaris reign, CMC Veryca up

Thailand Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux snaps last minute 11th straight win

Tunisia Full Year 2016: Isuzu D-Max and Kia Rio superstars

Turkey Full Year 2016: Fiat Egea already in the lead in record market

Uganda Full Year 2016: Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200 on top

UK Full Year 2016: Second annual record in a row despite Brexit

UK Full Year 2016: Discover the Top 150 best-selling models (BSCB Exclusive)

Ukraine Full Year 2016: Kia Sportage takes the lead in recovering market (+41%)

United Arab Emirates Full Year 2016: Toyota Land Cruiser takes control

Uruguay Full Year 2016: Fiat takes control in market down 8%

USA Full Year 2016: Incentives lift market to second straight record

USA Full Year 2016: Exclusive State by State rankings now available

Venezuela Full Year 2016: Ford last man standing in market down 83%

Vietnam Full Year 2016: Toyota Vios leads market above 300.000 units

Wales (UK) Full Year 2016: Fiesta leads, Ford Kuga up

World Full Year 2016: Volkswagen #1, outpaces Toyota despite “dieselgate”

World Full Year 2016: Discover the Top 1000 best-selling cars

Yemen Full Year 2016: Toyota Land Cruiser #1, BMW X6 and X4 in Top 10

Photo Report: The cars of Malta in 50 pictures

1-land-rover-nadur-gozoLand Rover Pickup in Nadur, Gozo

Up until today, Malta was a rather secretive market on BSCB with no official sales figures and one lonely update based on Youtube videos dating back to 2010. This is no more. Sometimes car sales data has to be sourced from the very source and on-location research is the best way. There will therefore be two separate Malta updates: one detailing the overall car park of the two main islands (Malta and Gozo) forming the country, and one detailing the best-sellers so far in 2016 – exclusive info you won’t find anywhere else but on Bestsellingcarsblog. We will start with the cars of Malta in 50 Pictures. This is a selection from over 700 snaps of the most striking cars I found in Malta. Enjoy!

2-toyota-hilux-zebbug-gozoToyota Hilux in Zebug, Gozo

First about the actual experience of visiting Malta. If you are planning to visit Malta in the near future, don’t bother perhaps read these lines before you commit. Granted, the colourful balconies, Valletta, Vittorioso and the entire island of Gozo are unique and splendid. However, if you need a room and a car, you must be prepared to end up paying 3 times what you agreed to pay for, for something that will almost certainly end up being the opposite of what you paid for…

3-daihatsu-hijet-marsaxlokkDaihatsu Hijet in Marsaxlokk

For example, a rental car booked online with Goldcar for 43€ ends up costing 118€ due to a ‘mandatory’ all-excess insurance to be paid in case you don’t have a credit card – no mention of this when the company accepted my debit card details online of course. It’s a seasoned business: the cancellation fee is set at 150€ so you are plain and simply hijacked. One hour wait later, I get a Peugeot 208 that was so damaged the staff rolled their eyes at having to write down all the bumps and scratches on the sheet. The hotel room and petrol stations were a similar experience, to the point that for each € spent, I ended up having to spend 3€ for things I had not agreed to pay for – or for actually nothing at all. One day, Malta will wake up with so many consumer law suits on their hands they won’t know where to turn. If all this sounds like an appealing proposition to you, then by all means go visit Malta. End of rant! Now onto the cars.

4-kia-picanto-toyota-rush-vallettaKia Picanto and Toyota Rush in Valletta

5-toyota-vitz-vallettaToyota Vitz in Valletta

A former British colony, Malta gained its independence in 1964 and therefore is a Left Hand Traffic country, requiring Right Hand Drive (RHD) cars. The two main islands that form the country are very small, therefore cars don’t get used that much and can be kept on the road for a lot longer than in a continental location. As a result, the Maltese car park is a striking collection of RHD imports, mainly from Japan, the UK and India. As soon as I hit the airport carpark a flow of used imports from Japan invaded the landscape, king of them being the Toyota Vits (aka Yaris) with original Japanese logo on the bonnet. A lot would follow.

6-birgu-street-sceneBirgu street scene

Malta being neutral during the Cold War, there is also a very distinct Eastern European influence on the streets with many 1980s and 1990s Skodas and Ladas. Korean brands have been present for longer than most European countries, with Kia trucks dating back to the early eighties still in operation.

fordson-thames-1948-1954-vallettaFordson Thames (1948-1954) in Valletta

6-ford-escort-rabatFord Escort Estate (1968-1974) in Rabat

7-kia-truck-xaghra-gozoKia Truck in Xaghra, Gozo

8-kia-picanto-peugeot-108-maruti-gypsy-mdinaKia Picanto, Peugeot 108 and Maruti Gypsy in Mdina

The best-selling new cars will be detailed in a separate post, but mini cars are the norm with the Kia Picanto, Peugeot 108, Hyundai i10 and Citroen C1 very frequent.

9-maruti-gypsy-san-lawrenz-gozoMaruti Gypsy in San Lawrenz, Gozo

The Maruti Gypsy imported as used straight from India has melted the hearts of Maltese drivers, especially on the island of Gozo where it is used as an airy taxi under the blistering summer heat that was enveloping the island when I visited.

11-maruti-omni-birzebbugaMaruti Omni in Birzebugga

10-maruti-800-vittoriosa2 x identical Maruti 800 in Vittoriosa

The Gypsy isn’t the only Maruti popular in Malta, with the 800 so frequent still despite its age that more than one example in the same street is a common occurrence as pictured above.

12-seat-ibiza-smart-fortwo-mdinaSeat Ibiza and Smart Fortwo in Mdina

13-tata-sumo-birzebbuga2 x Tata Sumo in Birzebugga

14-tata-telcoline-marsaxlokkTata Telcoline in Marsaxlokk

Tata has also had its very successful time, with some rarities popping up regularly such as various generations of Sumo and the Telcoline with its air of Mercedes pickup.

mitsubishi-l200-victoria-gozoMitsubishi L200 in Victoria, Gozo

One staple of Malta is the older Japanese pickups streaming along every single street and unsealed road, with the Mitsubishi L200, Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max of absolutely all generations extremely well represented.

land-rover-birzebbugaLand Rover Pickup in Birzebuggaland-rover-nadur-gozo-pic2Land Rover Pickup in Nadur, Gozo
land-rover-mgarr-gozoLand Rover in Mgarr, Gozo

But the main emblem of Malta will have to be the valiant Land Rovers spread all across the two islands and looking almost pristine. Malta is a fascinating voyage in time where most cars have been conserved to near their original state. Just for this, it’s well worth the trouble.

15-marsaxlokk-street-sceneStreet scene in Marsaxlokk

The Full Photo Report (50 photos) continues below.

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