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China July 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Venucia R30 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of R30

* See the Top 318 models by clicking on the title! Thanks Carnewschina for the pricing info *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after going through detailed sales figures for July, I spend a bit more time acknowledging the all-new entrants in the models ranking, to ensure you are across the latest news in the biggest car market in the world. After a surprisingly quiet month of June (no new model!), July is back to the traditional 4 all-new models making their first appearance in the Chinese ranking, like in April and May. Keep in mind all models detailed here are locally produced as import data for China is not communicated.

First in line we have the Venucia R30 landing at #164 with 1,662 sales. Quick reminder for you readers that Venucia is the low-cost brand created by the Dongfeng-Nissan joint venture, for the moment only selling in China and distributed via the existing Nissan dealer network. The R30 is based on the current Nissan March and is the 4th model launched under the Venucia brand after the D50 and R50 both based on the previous generation Nissan Tiida and the Morning Wind, a rebadged Nissan Leaf with a very unfortunate name. This makes Venucia the most prolific low-cost Chinese brand so far, taking the lead on SAIC GM’s Baojun.

Venucia R30 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of R30

The R30 will primarily be marketed in second and third tier cities where price matters more than badge, as the R30 is very conveniently priced indeed: starting at a cut-throat 39.900 yuan (US$ 6.490) and ending at 49.900 (US$ 8.100): straight in the territory of the legendary Chery QQ which is more expensive, smaller, less powerful and losing 47% year-on-year in July at a low #117… Another model in the R30’s line of fire is the (also smaller and less powerful) BYD F0, itself down 30% to #154, with the R30 already not far below for its first month of sales in the country. As a reference point, the R50/D50 currently ranks #48 year-to-date with just over 60,000 sales, so a monthly Top 100 ranking very soon for the R30 seems unavoidable, and a Top 50 ranking this end of Christmas would mark a significant change of guard and the advent of a new Chinese brand that could do wonders overseas…

Mazda CX-7 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of xgo.comLanding as all-new this month: the Mazda CX-7!

Just below at #179 with 1,328 sales we have a well-known nameplate but its appearance as a new model is rather puzzling. Discontinued in 2012 to make room for the CX-5, the Mazda CX-7 just launched as an all-new locally-produced model in China by the FAW-Mazda joint-venture! This is actually a pretty clever move in an SUV market growing at 20%+ with room for many more models than the US for example. Priced between 199.800 and 237.800 yuan (US$ 32.500-38.700), the CX-7 could help Mazda sandwich SUVs like the VW Tiguan (#10 this month), Toyota RAV4 (#23), Nissan X-Trail (#24) and Honda CR-V (#66) along the CX-5 at the other end. Keeping in mind the CX-5 is currently #110 so far in 2014, I don’t see the CX-7 climbing too much higher than #120 but then again, it could go much higher in a market that tend to like their SUVs bigger and doesn’t mind them old-fashioned – see the Nissan Qashqai first generation still on sale…

Haval H2Haval H2 at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

The most promising all-new model to make its first appearance in the Chinese ranking this month is the Haval H2, the little brother of the tremendously successful Haval H5 and H6, landing at #184 with 1,260 sales. If you are a regular BSCB reader, you will know that Haval has been the best-selling SUV brand/sub-brand in China for the past 12 years and that it impressed me so much at the last Beijing Auto Show that I chose it as the Show’s ballsiest Chinese carmaker. More on this here. With a sporty bi-colour outfit, the H2 is already heralded as one of the best-looking SUVs on sale in China. Priced around 100.000 yuan (US$ 16.300), it competes with the Chery Tiggo 5, Haima S7, and Geely GX7, and is extremely important for Great Wall’s SUV brand in order to cement its domination in the segment even further.

Haval H2 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of autosina.comHaval H2

Needless to say the H2 won’t stay at its current level very long, but the jury is out as to how far up it can go. Given the popularity of small SUVs in China at the moment and sporting a very attractive design, the sky is the limit for the H2 but will almost certainly involve a reasonable level of cannibalising of the H5 and H6. With the H6 ranking at an out-of-this-world (and, let’s be clear, unattainable for the H2) #6 overall in July but the H5 at a low #125, a Top 50 ranking in the next few months for the H2 would seal its success, anything further up will mean it will most probably bring the H6 down along with it, exactly how the H6 did to the H5 a couple of years ago. Are the glory days of the H6 atop Chinese SUV charts counted? The answer could very well be yes. Reveal in a few months…

Maxus V80 China July 2014. Picture courtesy of xcar.comMaxus V80

Finally the 4th all-new model in China in July is the Maxus V80, landing at #267 with 208 sales. SAIC bought Maxus from bankrupt British LDV in 2010 and set up production in China. If the Maxus G10 that launched last May at a much lower #303 was a truly all-new model, the V80 isn’t exactly. It started production as an LCV back in July 2011, and may owe its sudden appearance in the passenger car ranking to both a new front and potentially a MPV version hitting dealerships now. The V80 is priced between 145.800 and 239.800 yuan (US$ 23.700-39.000) so clearly not a cheap investment for Chinese entrepreneurs out there, although these vehicles are used by many businesses as mobile offices, and by taxi companies for VIP transport. Given the recent appearance of the brand inside the ranking it is almost impossible to predict the V80’s long-term sales level, but let’s just note that the more modern and cheaper G10 is now #234 with 491 units sold in July, so a Top 200 ranking is within the ream of possibles for the V80.

Previous new models post:  China May 2014: Focus on the all-new models

Previous post: China July 2014: Market up 10% thanks to MPV and SUV sales

Full July 2014 Top 318 All-models Ranking Table below.

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