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Explore China 2019: The cars of Dali, Yunnan

Wuling Hongguang V in Dali old town

After ShanghaiManzhouli in Inner Mongolia and Kunming in Yunnan, we continue on our exploration of Chinese regions following the Shanghai Auto Show. This time we travel 350km west from Kunming to reach the small town of Dali on the shores of the Erhai Lake, still in the Yunnan province. At 40,000 inhabitants, Dali qualifies as a Tier 4 city, the lowest Tier level and assimilated to a rural area. See an excellent Tier city classification map and explanation here.

Location of Dali and our previous 3 stops in China.

Dali is the county-level seat of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture which counts 650,000 inhabitants. Building codes mandate that new construction in the old town and surrounding countryside must conform to the traditional Chinese style, with tiled roofs and bricks, plaster, or white-washed walls – as you can see in the pictures below. This is very rare in the whole of China. The old town was the medieval capital of the Bai Kingdom between the 8th and 13th centuries. The Bai are a separate ethnicity to the Han and nowadays count 1.5 million members.

Haval H2 in Dali Old Town

The first observation in Dali is the prevalence of the Haval brands with multiple examples of their blockbuster H6 seen in town, but also the H2 (pictured above) and H7. This is in accordance with the tastes of Tier 4 cities, so no surprises there.

Baojun 560, 730, Wuling Hongguang and Maxus G50 in Dali Old Town

SAIC GM’s Baojun and Wuling models are also extremely popular, but again this is to be expected in small countryside town. SAIC’s Maxus brand also made itself noticed with the first G50 MPV of the trip spotted here.

2 x FAW Xiali in Dali Old Town

There is also a very strong heritage of FAW Xiali sedans and hatches in Dali, a testimony to what the Chinese market looked like almost 15 years ago as the Tianjin Xiali was the best-selling passenger car in the country in 2005.

Borgward BX5 and Jetour X70 in Dali Old Town

Chinese SUV brands are back in force now that we are in a lower Tiered city, notably the Jetour X70 and a couple of Borgward spotted in town.

Skoda Kodiaq and VW Jetta taxi in Dali Old Town

The Volkswagen Group is also strong here with the VW Jetta the taxi of choice and a few examples of recently launched Skoda SUVs such as the Kodiaq pictured above with some sporty decals on the grille.

ZX Auto Terralord in Dali

I’ll end this Explore Dali photo report with a couple of snaps of a rather radical ZX Auto Terralord spotted in the dealership district in town, with new, angular, metallic front bumpers of the best effect.

Stay tuned for the next stop in our Explore China 2019 series in Lijiang.

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