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Like in September, the October class of all-new nameplates amount to nine, including six above 1.000 units. Once again, SUVs dominate new launches with 5 of them this month vs. 2 sedans and 2 MPVs.
1. Dongfeng Fengxing SX6 (#90 – 8.157 sales)
Dongfeng continues its onslaught of cut-throat priced quality SUVs: after the tremendously successful Fengguang 580 (14.382 units in October and the brand’s best-selling passenger car), here comes the Fengxing SX6, also unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show last April. Its initial selling rate, above 8.000 units, is instant proof that this is yet another blockbuster for Dongfeng. A seven-seater crossover variant of the Fengxing S500 MPV, the Fengxing SX6 is priced between 69.900 and 102.900 yuan ($10.120-14.900) which is exactly the same range as the Fengguang 580 (72.900-99.999) but Dongfeng – probably rightly – thinks there is room for both in market. The SX6 also competes with the likes of the SWM X7 (85.900-101.900 yuan), BYD S6 (79.900-123.900 yuan) and Changan CX70 (68.900-84.900). Given the success of all aforementioned nameplates, a reasonable target for the SX6 is a long-term 10.000 monthly average. It is already almost there. It is powered by a choice of two engines: a Mitsubishi-sourced 1.6 with 117hp and a Peugeot-sourced 2.0 with 138 hp. No automatic gearbox is available.
Bar for success: 10.000 sales
2. Hyundai New Verna (#130 – 5.887 sales)
Teased at the Beijing Auto Show and officially unveiled last September in Chengdu, the new generation Hyundai Verna hits the Chinese market this month and is counted separately from the previous generation which stays on Hyundai’s catalogue as it has now become the norm. Available with either a 1.4 with 100hp or 1.6 with 123hp and either six-speed manual or four-speed auto, the Verna is manufactured by the Beijing-Hyundai joint-venture and sharply priced from 60.000 to 90.000 yuan (US$8.700-13.000). The previous generations Verna hit a personal best of 31.469 units in December 2015 but only crossed the 20.000 unit-mark eight other times, so a mid-20.000’s monthly sales objective seems on par.
Bar for success: 25.000 sales
3. Hanteng X7 (#144 – 5.006 sales)
After SWM (Start Win More) last month, we welcome another all-new Chinese manufacturer in the local sales charts: Hanteng. The number of Chinese carmakers in activity now stands at a mind-blowing 92 – we will cover them all in an Exclusive Chinese Brands Guide coming soon. Hanteng Autos was founded in 2013 and is based in Shangrao in the Jianxi province. Like Zotye, Hanteng is owned by Tech-New Group and it shows: its first offering, the X7, is basically a rebadged Zotye T600. Hanteng has very ambitious plans: launching four additional nameplates by 2020, starting with the X5 A-SUV, already unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show last week, but also an A0-SUV called I3, an MPV called M6 and a B-SUV called X9… (see illustration below).
The X7 is a 4.67m long five-seater SUV powered by a choice of two engines: a SAIC-sourced 1.5T with 150hp and a Shenyang Aerospace Mitsubishi 2.0T with 190hp. It is priced from 79.800 to 148.800 yuan (US$11.600-21.500) and will be almost exclusively distributed outside of the big cities on the East coast, more so in second-tier cities. For comparison, the Zotye T600 is priced from 79.800 to 115.800 yuan. The Hanteng enters one of the most competitive segments in the Chinese market, but also one that is still expanding a break-neck speed. There is room for many more Chinese SUVs, and its initial score of 5.006 sales is already very impressive. Keeping it this way in the long-term would be a step in the right direction for newcomer Hanteng.
Bar for success: 5.000 sales
4. Foton Gratour (#220 – 2.007 sales)
Foton launched the Gratour ix5 and ix7 at the Beijing Auto Show last April but had since been accounted for in the LCV sales charts. The Gratour sub-brand now changes segments and appears in the MPV ranking – one of the intricacies of a Chinese market still finding its labels… With a very sharp design for the segment, the ix5 is priced at an impossibly low 48.900-58.900 yuan (US$7.100-8.500 while the more sophisticated ix7 goes from 59.900 to 69.900 yuan ($8.700-10.100). Given its value-for-money, we’d expect at least double the current level of monthly sales to call the Gratour a success.
Bar for success: 5.000 sales
5. BAIC Weiwang M50F (#244– 1.500 sales)
Beijing Auto is on a new launch frenzy this year: after the Weiwang S50 and Changhe Q25 in March, the BAW BJ80 in April, Senova X35 in May, Borgward BX7 in July and BAW BJ20 plus Changhe Q35 in August, it’s the turn of the Weiwang M50F to make its first appearance in the Chinese sales charts ahead of its official launch in market in early November. The M50F is is a 7-seat MPV based on the Huansu H3 platform and is unabashedly aiming square and fair at the Baojun 730. Sized almost identically at 4.72/1.80/1.72 vs. 4.71/1.79/1.72 for the Baojun, the M50F undercuts its rival as far as entry prices go from 67.800 to 91.800 yuan ($9.800-13.300) vs. 69.400-81.800 for the 730. It is powered by a choice of 1.3T with six-speed manual or 1.5 with five-speed manual.
The M50F is the second MPV sold under the Weiwang brand after the M30, launched in August 2013 and with a personal best of 23.344 sales in December 2015. As for the Weiwang S50 SUV it hit a much more modest record of 4.132 in June 2016. In this context, it is reasonable for the M50F to aim at 7.500 sales with four-digit peaks most welcome.
Bar for success: 7.500 sales
6. Honda Gienia (#253– 1.197 sales)
One of the biggest foreign beneficiaries of the SUV surge in China with its twin mini crossovers XR-V and Vezel, Honda doesn’t neglect the sedan segment and launches this China-only Gienia, a sort of mini Crosstour liftback based on the Greiz platform, itself an evolution of the City. It is manufactured in China by the Dongfeng-Honda joint-venture, powered by a 1.5 with 131hp and either a five-speed manual or CVT to benefit from the government’s tax cut currently in effect for cars with engines of or smaller than 1.6L. It is priced from 89.900 to 127.900 yuan ($13.000-18.500) but should set the sales charts on fire with its sporty grille and crossoverish profile.
Bar for success: 6.000 sales
7. Honda Avancier (#301– 629 sales)
The second Honda to land in the Chinese sales charts this month, the Avancier was teased at the Shanghai Auto Show 2015 as the Concept D then unveiled at this year’s Beijing Auto Show. It’s a sporty five-seat (only) AWD SUV made exclusively for China and based on the third generation Honda Pilot’s platform. It slots in above the CR-V in Honda’s range and is manufactured by the Guangzhou-Honda joint venture. A twin, the UR-V, coming from Honda’s other joint-venture in China with Dongfeng, will arrive in early 2017, the same way Honda markets the XR-V and Vezel. Priced from 269.800 to 328.900 yuan (US$ 39.000-47.600) which makes it a luxury SUV, the Avancier with compete with the likes of the Buick Envision, Ford Edge, Toyota Highlander and the upcoming VW Teramont. The price range is set to go down next year though with the arrival of a 1.5T priced around 220.000 yuan, to support the 2.0T currently available. Given the tremendous success of Honda’s SUV lineup in China so far, it is legitimate to expect four-digit monthly sales figures as the norm for the Avancier.
Bar for success: 12.000 sales
8. Weichai Enranger G5 (#305– 566 sales)
After launching the Enranger G3 SUV in July 2015, the 737 MPV in September 2015 and the 727 MPV in March 2016, Weichai Auto, a new Chinese manufacturer owned by Weichai Power specialised in diesel engines, now has a fourth nameplate in its lineup. The G5 SUV is in fact a crossover variant of the 737 MPV, priced between 69.800 and 93.800 yuan (US$10.100-13.600) and for this you get an incredible 16-inch touch screen! (see below)
The 737 peaked at 5.139 monthly sales over a year ago but hasn’t gone above 2.000 since January this year, the G3 at 1.654 and the 727 at 774, so in this context the G5 cannot aim at very high scores, with mid-thousand a reasonable target.
Bar for success: 1.500 sales
9. Peugeot 4008 (#340– 324 sales)
Behind this 4008 hides in fact the new generation Peugeot 3008 unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show this year and already on sale across Western Europe. The reason for this name change is the fact that the current 3008 will remain on sale in China. The new 4008 is manufactured by the Dongfeng-PSA joint-venture and comes with a choice of three engines: 1.2T with 136hp, 1.6T with 167hp and 1.8T with 204hp. It is priced between 185.700 and 273.700 yuan (US$ 26.900-39.600) and although in Europe it competes squarely with “twins” Renault Kadjar and Nissan Qashqai, in China this pricing sets it against the larger Renault Koleos (179.800-269.800) with the Kadjar at a lower 163.800-219.800, and against the Nissan X-Trail (181.800-267.800) with the Qashqai at 139.800-189.800. An ambitious (pompous?) pricing policy from embattled Peugeot given the 4008 has the heavy task to turning the brand’s fortunes around in China by riding the unstoppable SUV wave. The 2008 peaked at 8.010 monthly sales and the 3008 at 7.352. The 4008 will have to do at least as well to be deemed a success.
Bar for success: 8.000 sales
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