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China new models October 2021: Zeekr 001 and Lynk & Co 09 start

The Zeekr 001 has landed in the Chinese wholesales charts.

Now that the October 2021 Chinese wholesales update is complete, it is time to go through the all-new locally produced models for the month. This way you can stay up-to-the-minute on the latest developments of the largest  and most dynamic automotive market in the world. This month we have 7 newcomers, once again including just 3 EVs which is weaker than unusual. To thoroughly understand the dynamics at play in China, make sure you also consult our Exclusive Guide to all 181 active Chinese Brands.

1. VW ID.3 (1,335 sales)

Volkswagen continues its ID EV offensive in China with the ID.3 launched a little more than a year after its European debut. The ID.3 is produced locally by the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture, and surprisingly there is no twin of this vehicle under the FAW-VW joint venture, unlike the ID.4 X / Crozz and the ID.6 X / Crozz couples. The ID.3 is priced from 159,900 to 173,900 yuan (US$25,000-27,200 or 22,100-24,050€) and will compete with premium Chinese fares such as the Geometry A (118,700-198,700 yuan), GAC Aion S (139,600-205,800) and Xpeng P5 (157,900-223,900 yuan). After a blockbuster start in 2020, the ID.3 has seen some disappointing results across Europe this year. Volkswagen will be hoping to correct this situation with stronger Chinese sales, and we’d want at least 6,000 monthly sales to consider the ID.3 a success.

Bar for success: 6,000 monthly sales

2. Roewe i6 MAX New Energy (1,272 sales)

A common practice in China is to keep the outgoing model in production in parallel with a new offering. This is the case here, with the new Roewe i6 MAX sold alongside the old generation i6. The i6 MAX is also larger and more premium than the i6. Although launched back in 2020, the i6 MAX makes its first appearance in the wholesales charts this month with its New Energy variants PHEV and EV. The PHEV variant is powered by a 1.5 turbo engine. The Roewe i6 MAX New Energy is priced from 139,800 to 188,800 yuan (US$21,900-29,600 or 19,300-26,100€) and will compete with the BYD Qin PLUS (105,800-174,800 yuan), GAC Aion S (139,600-205,800 yuan), Geometry A (118,700-198,700 yuan) and BYD Qin Pro New Energy (136,900-204,900 yuan). The i6/ei6 peaked at 9,748 units back in April 2018 so we’d want the i6 MAX to reach at least 4,000 units in its New Energy form.

Bar for success: 4,000 monthly sales

3. WEY Macchiato (1,122 sales)

After the Mocha launched in June 2021, here is the Macchiato. WEY, Great Wall Motors’ premium SUV brand, has indeed chosen to now call its cars after coffee specialties. The Latte was also unveiled with the Mocha and Macchiato at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2021. All three models are very similar stylistically (and also similar to the previous VV5, VV6 and VV7) and based on the same Lemon platform by Great Wall Motors. This seems like a waste of energy, relaunching the same car over and over again. The Macchiato is available in hybrid variant, with a PHEV coming shortly. The hybrid model is powered by a 101 hp 1.5L engine and a 134 hp electric motor. The Macchiato is priced from 145,800 to 159,800 yuan (US$22,800-25,000 or 20,200-22,100€) compared with 175,800-218,800 yuan for the Mocha. It will compete with the likes of the Lynk & Co 02 (139,800-165,800 yuan), Geely Xingyue S (135,700-171,700 yuan) and Roewe RX5 MAX (138,800-169,800 yuan). Last June we placed the bar for success for the Mocha at 6,000 monthly units and it reached 4,732 in October. We’d want at least 5,000 units for the Macchiato to continue WEY’s rebound.

Bar for success: 5,000 monthly units

4. MG ONE (689 sales)

Unveiled last July, the MG ONE is a sporty compact SUV that uses a new, more aggressive design inaugurated by the new MG 5 and 6. The ONE is destined to be a global vehicle and first launches at home this month. It is powered by a 181 hp 1.5L turbo engine mated with a 7-speed DCT gearbox and comes with a very attractive interior featuring a giant bent horizontal touch screen. Priced from 111,100 to 138,900 yuan (US$17,400-21,750 or 15,400-19,200€), it slots above the ZS (78,800-112,800 yuan) while clashing somewhat with the HS (109,800-169,800 yuan). The ONE will compete with the likes of the Changan CS55 Plus (92,900-121,900 yuan), Changan UNI-T (115,900-138,900 yuan) and Roewe RX5 (99,800-139,800 yuan). Sales-wise, both the ZS and HS are blockbusters that have managed to sell over 10,000 monthly units. We’d want the ONE to sell 7,000 units to properly find its place in the MG lineup.

Bar for success: 7,000 monthly sales

5. Xiaohu FEV (200 sales)

The success of the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV continues to inspire a crowd of manufacturers to launch their own competitors. Case in point is Xiaohu, a new EV maker proposing this cute FEV (for Family Electric Vehicle), available in 2- or 4-seat variants. The 2-seat / 2-door variant comes in at 2.92m long while the 4-seat / 4-door is 3.4m. The FEV offers rear-view camera with dynamic markings and a tire pressure monitoring system. The exterior design and pastel colours betray a focus towards a more feminine clientele, while the interior is retro and original, with transmission controls in the centre of the dashboard and a rather touch screen tablet for the price. Speaking of which, the FEV is priced from 29,000 yuan (US$4,500 or 4,000€). It is also the starting price of the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV (28,800-48,600 yuan) and Letin Mango (29,800-59,800 yuan), two main competitors of the FEV. This is a new brand in a, granted, popular segment, but we’ll keep the bar for success at a low 2,000 units for now.

Bar for success: 2,000 monthly sales

6. Zeekr 001 (199 sales)

Last March, Geely launched a new premium EV brand called Zeekr, in Mandarin Jike (极 氪). It aims to compete locally with the likes of NIO, Xpeng and LI and globally with Tesla. The first Zeekr model, the 001, is a production version of the Lynk & Co Zero Concept car unveiled in September 2020. Somewhat confusingly, Zeekr is using Lynk & Co design language for the front end of this 001, a shooting brake vehicle. The cockpit is sober in a Tesla manner, with a large rectangular touch screen the imposing feature of the dash. Priced from 299,000 to 360,000 yuan (US$46,800-56,400 or 41,400-49,800€), the 001 will compete with a raft of premium EVs including the Xpeng P7 (219,900-409,900 yuan), the Tesla Model 3 (251,700-339,900 yuan), the Arcfox αS (251,900-344,900 yuan) and LI One (338,000 yuan), as well as the Polestar 2 (252,800-338,000 yuan). NIO is currently one step up in terms of pricing with the smaller ES6 available from 358,000 to 526,000 yuan. In terms of sales potential, some of its competitors have reached very impressive sales figures, but we’ll keep our bar for success to 3,500 units in light of the current level of Lynk & Co models (current best-seller is the 03 with 7,700 sales in October).

Bar for success: 3,500 monthly sales

7. Lynk & Co 09 (160 sales)

Unveiled five years ago, Geely’s Lynk & Co semi premium brand is a success with 600,821 sales since its debut in the Chinese market in December 2017. It is up 33.7% year-on-year over the first 10 months of 2021 to 170,890 units and is assured to break its annual volume record this year. Its European launch is in progress, with the 01 breaking into the Dutch Top 10 both in September and October. After the 01, 02, 03, 05 and 06 models, we now welcome the brand’s flagship, the 09. It is based on the same SPA platform as the Volvo XC90 and uses the same T8 plug-in hybrid all-wheel drive powertrain. The 09 is priced from 265,900 to 320,900 yuan (US$41,600-50,250 or 36,800-44,400 €) and will compete mainly with foreign vehicles such as the Toyota Highlander (258,800-348,800 yuan), Buick Envision (279,900-379,900 yuan) and Chevrolet Trailblazer (229,000-329,900 yuan). This is a large segment sales-wise and the 09 should be able to find its place. We’d want it above 4,000 monthly sales to declare it another success for the Lynk & Co brand.

Bar for success: 4,000 monthly sales

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