The Wuling Xingchen / Asta has landed in the Chinese wholesales charts.
After studying the September 2021 Chinese wholesales, it is now time to go through the all-new locally produced models for the month, so you can stay up-to-the-minute on the latest developments of the largest automotive market in the world. This month we have 8 newcomers, including just 3 EVs, a weaker ratio compared to the previous months. To thoroughly understand the dynamics at play in China, make sure you also consult our Exclusive Guide to all 181 active Chinese Brands.
1. Wuling Xingchen / Asta (9.498 sales)
Still surfing on the tremendous success of the Hongguang MINI EV, Wuling also wants to both expand overseas and have a reliable presence in the SUV segment. The Xingchen fills both these roles, and will be named Asta in export markets. After the Victory MPV, the Xingchen is the second Wuling nameplate to feature the silver Wuling logo (not red) which is the sesame to a global career. Unveiled last April at the Shanghai Auto Show, the Xingchen is Wuling’s second SUV after the Hongguang S3 and uses the same platform as the Baojun 530. Its exterior design is rather bland and conservative while its cockpit is neat and features a large enough touch screen. Faithful to the brand’s tight pricing, the Xingchen is a low-cost compact SUV and is available from 69.800 to 99.800 yuan (9.400-13.400€ or US$10.900-15.600) and will compete with the likes of the Haval M6 (66.000-92.900 yuan), Geely Vision X6 (68.900-99.900 yuan), BYD Song (69.800-93.800 yuan) and COS X5 (69.900-102.900 yuan). The Xingchen already scores a very respectable volume for its first month and we’d want it to reach 15.000 monthly sales to call it a success.
Bar for success: 15.000 monthly sales
2. Venucia Grand V (1.271 sales)
Venucia, a brand by Dongfeng Nissan, has not been very forward with new models in recent years with the Star its only recent novelty, launched in April 2020. This Grand V therefore comes at the right time to redynamise the brand’s sales, down -2.9% over the first 9 months of 2021 and crumbling -48.1% in September. The Grand V takes the Venucia brand to a new level in terms of both exterior design, pretty aggressive and taking cues from BYD, and cockpit with a large two-screen digital tile in the same way as Mercedes. It will need these attributes to stand out in a very competitive SUV market. Priced from 99.800 to 128.800 yuan (13.400-17.300€ or US$15.600-20.200), it competes with the blockbusters of the segment: the Geely Boyue (89.800-146.800 yuan), Changan CS55 Plus (92.900-121.900 yuan) and Haval H6 (98.900-157.000 yuan). In terms of sales prospects, even if this segment has enormous sales potential we need to keep in mind the Venucia Star peaked at just 3.009 units in October 2020, so the bar for success needs to be kept to a realistic 4.000 sales.
Bar for success: 4.000 monthly sales
3. Citroen C5 X (1.259 sales)
Like all other French carmakers, Citroen had seen its sales dwindle down to just a trickle in recent years. They have finally bottomed out in 2021, with September wholesales up 292.7% year-on-year and YTD volumes up 35.5%. New offerings will help revive the brand, like this new C5 X. At a crossroads between sedan, SUV and station wagon, the C5 X innovates with its format and is produced in China for the rest of the world. It is already being exported to Europe notably. Attractively priced between 143.700 and 186.700 yuan (19.300-25.100€ or US$22.500-29.200), it will compete with the likes of the Skoda Superb (154.900-229.900 yuan), the poshest versions of the Honda Civic (119.900-169.900 yuan), the Hongqi H5 (145.800-190.800 yuan) and the Kia K5 (161.800-205.800 yuan). Already the 2nd best-selling Citroen in China, we’d want the C5 X to reach 3.500 units repeatedly to make it a success.
Bar for success: 3.500 monthly sales
4. Cowin Xuandu (482 sales)
Chery’s affordable brand Cowin has been left to fend for itself lately, with the latest new model before this month the XuanJie SUV launched in May 2020. The brand’s sales are down -59% in September and -19.5% over the first 9 months of the year, completely overshadowed by another brand from Chery evolving at a similar price range: Jetour. We’re not certain this new Xuandu will be enough to turn the tide. Although the rear of the car is interesting, overall it is a pretty common vehicle, adding to the myriad of comparable Chinese offers in the compact sedan segment. The Xuandu is priced from 67.800 to 93.900 yuan (9.100-12.600€ or US$10.600-14.700) and will compete with such established vehicles as the Geely Emgrand (62.800-91.800 yuan), Chery Arrizo 5 Plus (69.900-99.900 yuan) and MG 5 (67.900-104.900 yuan) but also the Jetta VA3 (65.800-92.800 yuan). The Xuanjie peaked at 5.092 units last December, so we’d want the Xuandu to reach at least 3.000 monthly sales to satisfy but not guarantee the survival of the brand.
Bar for success: 3.000 monthly sales
5. VGV U75 Plus (409 sales)
After the U70 from October 2019, the U75 Plus is VGV’s second model to hit the Chinese market. The VGV brand replaced Weichai Enranger back in 2019 and sold 10.160 units of the U70 over the Full Year 2020, a reasonable result. It appears to now be under the control of Sinotruk. The U75 Plus is a mere evolution of the U70, with not much separating the two models stylistically. This 5- to 7-seat SUV is priced from 137.900 to 145.900 yuan (18.500-19.600€ or US$21.600-22.850): the U75 Plus is not cheap and will compete with the likes of the Chery Tiggo 8 Plus (124.900-159.900 yuan), the Changan CS85 Coupe (119.900-164.900 yuan) and the Venucia T90 (118.800-154.800 yuan). Sales-wise, as a comparison point the U70 peaked at 2.176 units in June 2020 so expectations for the U75 Plus remain low.
Bar for success: 2.000 monthly units
6. Leap Motor C11 (272 sales)
EV maker Leap Motor is going fro strength to strength in the Chinese market, breaking its all-time volume record for four consecutive months between May and August 2021 to lift it to almost 4.500 units. Sales are up 290% in October and up a whopping 643.6% so far in 2021. This is mostly due to the success of its small hatch T03 which is surfing the wave of small EVs initiated by the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV. The S01 small coupe has been more discreet. This C11 is therefore by far the largest and most ambitious model to be launched by Leap Motor. And they went all out with it: under a not overly exciting exterior design hides a spectacular cockpit with a giant digital tile covering almost the entire width of the vehicle. This is a remarkable progression compared to the brand’s first two models. Priced between 159.800 and 199.800 yuan (21.500-26.900€ or US$25.000-31.300), the C11 will compete with the likes of the BYD Song Plus New Energy (146.800-199.800 yuan), Chery Big Ant (149.800-189.800 yuan), Xpeng G3 (149.800-199.800 yuan) and GAC Aion V (172.600-239.600 yuan). It’s difficult to predict sales for this model as it is unchartered territory for Leap Motor. Keeping in mind the T03 peaked at 4.409 units in August 2021, we will set the C11’s bar for success at 2.000 monthly units.
Bar for success: 2.000 monthly units
7. Xpeng P5 (244 sales)
Another EV maker on a roll right now is Xpeng: the brand surpassed the 10.000 monthly wholesales milestone for the first time in September. Sales are up 203.9% year-on-year in September and up 333.3% over the first 9 months of 2021. A big factor in this success is the Tesla-targetted P7 sedan, breaking its monthly sales record again in September at over 7.500. It seems logical therefore to launch a slightly smaller and less expensive sedan to capitalise on the P7’s popularity. Enter the P5. At 4,808 mm, the P5 is 80 mm shorter than the P7, and it is the first mass-produced car in history to be equipped with the advanced LiDAR Technology autonomous driving system. The 32 sensors include two LiDARs, 12 ultrasonic and 5 microwave sensors and 13 high-resolution image processing cameras. It is priced from 157.900 to 223.900 yuan (21.200-30.100€ or US$24.700-35.100) and will compete with the GAC Aion S (139.600-205.800 yuan), R ER6 (155.800-200.800 yuan) and BYD Qin Pro New Energy (136.900-204.900 yuan). Within 53 hours of its presentation at Auto Shanghai in April 2021, XPeng collected 10.000 orders for the P5, so we will set its bar for success at 5.000 monthly wholesales. The P5 should help Xpeng become even more mainstream.
Bar for success: 5.000 monthly units
8. JMEV Yi (41 sales)
The JMEV Yi, also known as the Mobilize Limo in Europe, is the first model from the Renault-JMEV joint-venture. It is a compact sedan with 147 hp and a NEDC range of up to 400 km. Renault indeed remains behind the scenes in China even though no Renault-badged vehicle has ranked in the wholesales charts for months and production of models sold locally has stopped. This Yi has a modern exterior and a large digital tile, here too modelled on the latest Mercedes offerings. It is priced from 139.800 to 195.800 yuan (18.800-26.300€ or US$21.900-30.700) and will compete with models such as the GAC Aion S (139.600-205.800 yuan), the aforementioned XPeng P5 (157.900-223.900 yuan) and the Venucia D60 EV (150.100-178.800 yuan). Here too we have an unchartered territory situation as JMEV doesn’t have similar models in its existing lineup, but we’d need at least 2.500 monthly sales to declare the Yi a success.
Bar for success: 2.500 monthly units