The Bestune T33 is the only new model in China this month.
After exploring the Chinese wholesales market for August, we now focus on the all-new locally-produced launches for the month, so you can keep up-to-the-minute on the fastest-evolving automotive market in the world. Note these updates are based on wholesales figures, and sometimes new nameplates appear first in the retail data, that’s the intricacies of the sometimes mysterious/unreliable Chinese market where manufacturers often report sales late. A rare feat, in August we have only one new nameplate coming into the sales charts: the last time this happened was in February 2018 with the Baojun 530. But all the new vehicles unveiled at the recent Chengdu Auto Show will make sure this figure climbs back up in the coming months. Make sure you also consult our Exclusive Guide to all 189 Chinese Brands to thoroughly understand the dynamics at play in China.
1. Bestune T33 (#191 – 2.100 sales)
As we detailed in our Shanghai Auto Show interview of Mr. Dong Wanfu, Deputy Car Sales for the FAW Group, FAW (First Automotive Works), the very first Chinese automotive producer, is now distancing itself from the FAW brand, instead launching a new passenger car label: Bestune. After the T77 SUV which started its career in November 2018 and convinced Chinese buyers with just under 42.000 wholesales since, here is a second SUV: the T33. This is in fact the new generation FAW Besturn X40 which in is being discontinued and is enjoying a swan song month at 3.728 wholesales in August.
Bestune T33 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn
The T33 is priced from 69.800 to 99.800 yuan (8.900-12.700€ or US$9.850-14.075) compared to 89.800 to 136.800 for the T77, which doesn’t give much room for future SUV sliding inbetween the two models (T55?). It competes at a busy end of the Chinese SUV segment with the likes of the Haval M6 (66.000-86.000), Roewe RX3 (69.800-132.000), Changan CS35 Plus (69.900-109.900), MG ZS (73.800-115.800), GAC Trumpchi GS3 (73.800-116.800) and Geely Binyue (78.800-129.800). Given its price the T33 should be able to command larger volumes than the T77 has (record of 7.686 in January 2019), but this is just a slight facelift of a vehicle, the X40, that dates back from March 2017 and has indeed a monthly record of 10.671 wholesales in November 2017. Bestune shouldn’t expect more than 4.000 sales of this T33 and will look to future Bestune launches to really establish the brand in the Chinese market.
Bar for success: 4.000 monthly units
Note also that electric variants of three Volkswagen nameplates make their entrance in the wholesales chart this month (they are counted as part of the principal nameplate): the VW e-Lavida with 1.124 sales, the VW e-Golf with 20 and the VW e-Bora with 10.
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