The Chery QQ Ice Cream has landed in the Chinese charts.
After detailing November 2021 Chinese wholesales, it is now time to study the all-new locally produced models for the month. This way you can stay up-to-date on the latest developments of the largest and most dynamic automotive market in the world. This month we have 8 newcomers, including 6 EVs which is in line with the latter segment’s boom this year. To thoroughly understand the dynamics at play in China, make sure you also consult our Exclusive Guide to all 183 active Chinese Brands.
1. Chery QQ Ice Cream (4,289 sales)
Unveiled at the Chengdu Auto Show last August, the QQ Ice Cream is probably the most threatening competitor yet to the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV. The Chery vehicle looks so similar in shape that it could almost be called a copy. Chery has pushed the personalisation features to the max, exposing the above pink-coloured model at the Chengdu Auto Show. It has also unveiled a heavily a racing-inspired tuned concept called Lightning Edition, equipped with a large rear wing, fender add-ons, side skirts, splitters, turbofan wheels, and a modified grille. There will also be a variant tailored for car-sharing companies. The Ice Cream comes with a 27 hp electric motor and is the first Chery model to use the iCar Ecology technology in collaboration with Haier and Alibaba Cloud to connect the car with devices at home, in the office and nearby businesses. All this cuteness and connectivity starting from 29,900 yuan (US$4,700 or 4,150€) and ending at 43,900 yuan (US$6,900 or 6,100€), In comparison the Hongguang MINI EV is priced from 28,800 to 48,600 yuan. Chery’s previous cheapest offer in the EV segment was the Little Ant (eQ1) priced from 66,900 to 82,900 yuan. Another competitor could be the cheapest versions of the Changan Benben E-Star (29,800-74,800 yuan). Although we can’t expect the Ice Cream to reach the same levels as the Hongguang MINI EV (over 45,500 sales in November), we’d still want the vehicle to top 15,000 monthly units to be deemed a serious opponent.
Bar for success: 15,000 monthly sales
2. Toyota Harrier 3,967 sales
Manufactured by the FAW-Toyota joint-venture, the Toyota Harrier is a mid-size SUV whose Japanese-made version used to be rebadged as the Lexus RX for export markets. Since the introduction of the Lexus brand in Japan, they are two distinct models. The Harrier is also sold in the U.S. under the Venza nameplate, which is the name of a Chinese twin to the Harrier, this time manufactured by the GAC-Toyota joint-venture. The Harrier is priced from 211,800 to 297,800 yuan (US$33,300-46,800 or 29,400-41,300€), sliding into the Toyota lineup above the RAV4 (175,800-259,800 yuan) and the Crown Kluger (275,800-350,800 yuan). It will compete against the likes of the VW Tiguan L (215,800-281,800 yuan) and Honda Avancier (220,000-332,800 yuan).
Bar for success: 12,000 monthly sales
3. Sehol Yao (3,208 sales)
Sehol, previously known as SOL, is the new brand of Passenger Vehicles of JAC. The Sehol lineup is growing fast to match JAC’s previous range, and this month comes the sporty-looking Yao. Originally unveiled as the A5 Plus at the Shanghai Auto Show last April, it seems executives at Sehol wanted to differentiate it a little more with its own nameplate. It features an impressive dashboard with a large vertical touch screen. It is powered by a 1.5 liter TGDI turbo engine mated to 7-speed DCT gearbox. The Yao is priced from 98,800 to 134,800 yuan (US$15,500-21,200 or 13,700-18,700€), and will compete against the likes of the MG 6 (103,800-139,800 yuan), GAC Trumpchi Empow (98,300-131,800 yuan) and Dongfeng Aeolus Hyun MAX (93,900-137,900 yuan). We want it around 6,000 monthly sales to call the Yao a success.
Bar for success: 6,000 monthly sales
4. Baizhi Daxiong (1,867 sales)
Baizhi (百智) is a new marque by Leading Auto selling mini EVs. Its first model is the Daxiong (Big Bear), a four-door hatch whose two versions offer autonomies of 138 and 181 km. Baizhi is also aiming its efforts at the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV, popular in Tier 2 and 3 cities. The Daxiong proposition is to offer a cheaper and more spacious alternative to the MINI EV, with 4-doors and a much more voluminous boot once the rear seats are folded down, that will be more attractive in semi-rural and rural areas in Tier 4, 5 and 6 cities and towns. The Daxiong is priced from 27,800 to 33,800 yuan (US$4,400-5,300 or 3,900-4,700€) compared to 28,800-48,600 yuan for the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV, 26,800-41,800 yuan for the Pocco Duo Duo, 29,900-43,900 yuan for the Chery QQ Ice Cream and 32,800-53,800 yuan for the 4-door Lingbao Box.
Bar for success: 3,500 monthly sales
5. Geometry EX3 (1,491 sales)
Geometry is a brand of affordable EVs launched at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2019. Its buildup has been slow, with the A sedan and C crossover based on the Geely Emgrand GS the only models in its lineup for a while. The EX3 is the third nameplate in the Geometry range but it’s simply an EV variant of the Geely Vision X3, also available as the Maple 30X. Almost a decade after streamlining its multiple brands and sub-brands, Geely is indeed falling again into the trap of creating many brands and filling them with rebadges. The EX3 is powered by a 37.23 kWh battery that offers up to 322 km (200 miles) of range under the NEDC cycle. A single electric motor is rated at 94 hp. It is priced from 58,800 to 68,800 yuan (US$9,200-10,800 or 8,200-9,500€) and will compete with the likes of the Neta V (60,900-120,800 yuan), Changan Benben E-Star (29,800-74,800 yuan) and Leap Motor T03 (59,800-76,800 yuan).
Bar for success: 4,000 monthly sales
6. Hycan Z03 (1,029 sales)
Hycan (in Mandarin 合创) is an EV brand created by a new joint venture between GAC and NIO and introduced in May 2019. Originally at 45%, NIO’s share was subsequently reduced to 5%. After the 007 SUV, starting at 259,800 yuan (US$40,800 or 36,000€) launched in early 2020, Hycan had been quiet up until this month with this new Z03. A much more affordable SUV which is in fact a GAC Aion Y with a redesigned front, rear end and interior. It’s always a bad sign when a brand starts to rebadge other models so we’re unsure where to next for the Hycan marque. Priced from 132,800 to 168,800 yuan (US$20,900-26,500 or 18,400-23,400€), the Z03 competes with the likes of the Neta U (99,800-179,800 yuan), Leap Motor C11 (159,800-199,800 yuan) and its muse the GAC Aion Y (104,600-157,600 yuan).
Bar for success: 3,000 monthly sales
7. Mercedes EQB (232 sales)
8. Mercedes EQA (172 sales)
Mercedes also launched two EVs known in Europe this month: the EQB priced at 437,800 yuan (US$68,800 or 60,800€) and the EQA at 365,800 yuan (US$57,500 or 50,800€). They fit below the EQC (499,800 to 579,800 yuan) and compete with the BMW iX3 (399,900 to 439,900 yuan).
Bar for success: 2,500 monthly units