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China new models March 2022: NIO ET7 and Roewe Whale land

Roewe Whale

After going through brands and models rankings for March 2022 Chinese wholesales, we can now share with you all-new locally produced models for the month. This way you can stay up-to-the-minute on the latest developments in the largest and most dynamic market in the world. This month we have 7 newcomers. To thoroughly understand the dynamics at play in China, make sure you check out our Exclusive Guide to all 190 active Chinese Brands.

1. Toyota Venza (4,401 sales)

The GAC Toyota Venza is the twin of the FAW Toyota Harrier, a very common practice in China to have one twin for each joint venture. Toyota has used this a lot, with the FAW Toyota RAV4 and GAC Toyota Wildlander, FAW Toyota Corolla and GAC Toyota Levin, FAW Toyota IZOA and GAC Toyota C-HR for example. And there are more… It is also sold under the Venza nameplate in the US. is a compact SUV and two engines are available: Toyota Venza: a 2.0L petrol engine of 171 hp mated with a 10-speed CVT gearbox and a 2.5L hybrid of 178 hp mated with a E-CVT gearbox. Each version is available in two-wheel or four-wheel drive.

Toyota Venza interior

The Venza is priced from 216.800 to 303.800 yuan (31,200-36,400€ or US$33,800-47,400) compared with 211,800-297,800 yuan for the Harrier. It will compete with the likes of the Honda CR-V (169,800-276,800 yuan), , VW Tiguan L (215,800-281,800 yuan), Buick Envision (209,900-309,900 yuan), Honda Avancier (220,000-332,800 yuan), GAC Trumpchi GS8 (186,800-246,800 yuan) and BYD Tang (195,800-314,800 yuan). The Toyota Harrier peaked at 4,924 sales for its second month in market in December 2021 and has stagnated between 3,500 and 4,500 sales since. We had a 12,000 monthly sales bar for success for the Harrier but we will lower our expectations for the Venza given the Harrier’s relatively soft launch. Indeed twins logically usually sell roughly the same. The Venza’s first month score is already quite high, so we’ll place the bar for success just above.

Bar for success: 5,000 sales

2. Dongfeng Fengon 380 (2,227 sales)

The Dongfeng Fengon 380 (or Glory 380) is the new generation Fengon 330/370 which will remain on sale for the moment. It is available in 2, 5, 7 and 8-seat configurations and comes with either a 1.5L or 2.0L engine which seems very high for this type of vehicle. The interior is disappointingly frugal and very dark, with not even a touch screen or wheel commands which have become the norm for Chinese vehicles, even the cheap ones.

Dongfeng Fengon 380 interior

The 380’s price has not been disclosed yet but should start around 50,000 yuan (7,200€ or US$7,800) given the Fengon 330 is priced from 44,900 to 68,800 yuan. This way, it competes with the likes of the Wuling Hongguang (46,000-59,900 yuan), DFSK C35 (53,800 yuan) and Wuling Hongguang Plus (58,800-79,800 yuan). The 330/370 launched in May 2013 and peaked at a whopping 25,089 sales in December 2015 but has only surpassed 2,000 monthly sales twice since January 2020. The 330/370 is overdue for a new generation after a career spanning almost 9 years so the 380 is welcome, but in a context when minivans are in difficulty (-23.7% in March 2022), we don’t see the 380 coming nowhere near the scores of the 330/370.

Bar for success: 6,000 sales

3. BYD Destroyer 05 (1,476 sales)

Unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show last November, the Destroyer 05 inaugurates a warship-series nomenclature, rather aggressive if you ask me. The new design language of the front of the vehicle is called marine aesthetics but the reason behind this name escapes us. The Destroyer 05 is a hybrid vehicle combining a 1.5L 170 hp engine with an electric motor and a Blade battery. The combined power is estimated at 190 hp.

BYD Destroyer 05 interior

The interior is classy with two digital screens, the central one able to rotate from landscape to portrait, a BYD trademark we also saw on the Tang during our test drive. The Destroyer 05 is priced from 119,800 to 155,800 (17,200-22,400€ or US$18,700-24,300) and will compete with BYD’s very own Qin PLUS (111,800-175,800 yuan) and Nissan Sylphy (99,800-174,900 yuan). The Qin PLUS has been a tremendous success for BYD, peaking at 28,151 wholesales in November and has helped push BYD sales over 100,000 monthly units for the first time in March 2022. It’s fair to say BYD is on a roll.

Bar for success: 8,000 sales

4. Fukang ES600 (502 sales)

The Fukang brand, reviving the nameplate that was used in the 90s for the Citroen ZX in China, is dedicated to sell EV variants of DongFeng/Peugeot/Citroen models. The new brand was launched in 2021. This is the third Fukang after the e-Elysee and the ES500. It is powered by a single electric 150hp engine coming from Dongfeng. The ES600 is in fact a barely updated Peugeot 408 electric which has become Fukang’s new flagship priced at 153,800 yuan (22,100€ or US$24,000). In comparison, the Fukang ES500 is priced at 141,800 yuan and the Dongfeng Aeolus E70 from 132,800 to 139,800 yuan. Price-wise, the ES600 will compete with the Peugeot 408 itself (119,700-159,700 yuan) and the Geometry A (126,800-199,800 yuan). The Fukang brand hasn’t set the Chinese charts on fire, to say the least: the e-Elysee peaked at 1,661 units in November 2021 but has been below 200 units for 13 of the 20 months it has been on sale. We expect a modest showing for the ES600.

Bar for success: 1,000 sales

5. Roewe Whale (330 sales)

The Roewe Whale is a coupe SUV that inaugurates a striking and bold exterior design with a grille inspired by a whale’s mouth (see top photo in this article) and the back also very original. The whale theme is also used for the gear shift and the mirrors, both shaped in the form of a whale’s tail. The Whale is powered by 2.0L turbo charged 231 hp engine mated with a 8-speed automatic gearshift. 

Roewe Whale interior

The interior is a lot more understated than this interior but sophisticated with lots of white inside. There is a simple twin 12.3 inch screen, for the instrument cluster and infotainment. The Whale is priced from 166,800 to 192,800 yuan (19,950-23,100€ or US$26,000-30,100) which is not cheap for a Chinese vehicle. It will compete with the likes of the Geely Xingyue L (132,200-185,200 yuan) and Changan UNI-K (145,900-184,900 yuan). It’s hard to anticipate the success or lack thereof for the Whale, its daring design is likely to appeal to city-dwellers but to what extent remains to be seen. We are conservative on its sales target.

Bar for success: 5,000 sales

6. NIO ET7 (163 sales)

Revealed at the Guangzhou Auto Show last November, the all-important and much awaited NIO ET7 finally hits the wholesales charts. The only Chinese brand to enjoy a Tesla-like near cult-level at home is the most famous EV startup ahead of Xpeng, LI and Weltmeister. The ET7 is NIO’s first sedan, after the ES8, ES6 and EC6 SUVs. It has been around as a prototype for a while so no surprises on its exterior design, very refined and simple, as well as the interior minimalistic but very sophisticated. We find the obligatory AI assistant Nomi on top of the dashboard. There is also a 10.2 inch instrument panel and a 12.8 inch digital screen. Note the absence of passenger glovebox.

NIO ET7 interior

The ET7 comes with two electric motors: one at the from with 345hp and one at the rear with 408hp. There are three batteries available for the ET7: one allowing 500 km of autonomy NEDC, one 700 and one 1000. The ET7 features a mind-blowing 23-speaker sound system and 33 sensors including 12 ultra-sonic sensors allowing bleeding edge autonomous driving options. It is priced from 448,000 to 526,000 yuan (64,500-75,500€ or US$69,900-82,000), putting it squarely against the German premium ICE sedans: the Audi A6 L (419,000-65,600 yuan), BMW 5 Series L (428,900-551,900 yuan) and Mercedes E-Class L (438,100-548,800 yuan). The ET7 is a make or break vehicle for NIO and as such its bar for success has to be relatively high. For comparison, the ES6 peaked at in 5,260 sales in September 2021, the EC6 at 3,482 wholesales in November 2021 and the ES8 at 3,349 in November 2018. To take NIO to the next level we’d want at least a regular 4,500 monthly units of the ET7.

Bar for success: 4,500 sales

7. Voyah Dreamer (15 sales)

Voyah is a new premium New Energy brand by Dongfeng. After the Voyah Free crossover launched in August 2021, the brand unveiled a 7-seat MPV, the Dreamer as a concept at the Guangzhou Auto Show last November. The final version now enters the wholesales charts with a tiny 15 sales for now. It is also available in a custom, mobile office 4-seat version. The two second row seats are reclining chairs with foot-rests. The oversized grille and two-tone colour scheme characterise the exterior of the vehicle. The Dreamer comes in BEV and extended range EV (EREV), The EV has 435hp split in two twin motors and does 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, making it the fastest MPV on sale at the moment. It as a claimed range of 600 km. The EREV has a 1.5L turbocharged engine recharging the battery and two electric motors with a combined power of 394 hp. Claimed range is 700 km.

Voyah Dreamer interior

Priced between 380,000 and 600,000 yuan (54,650-86,300€ or US$59,250-93,600), the Dreamer will compete with the likes of the upcoming LI L9 (450,000-500,000 yuan), Buick GL8 (232,900-533,900 yuan) and to a lesser extent the Toyota Sienna (309,800-405,800 yuan). It is also set to compete with upcoming premium electrified MPVs from Zeekr, Denza, and Hongqi. The Voyah Free peaked at 3,330 units in December 2021 but is down to 1,385 in March, so a relatively slow start for the brand, still honourable given the price points. We don’t expect the expensive Dreamer to do much better in a depleted MPV segment.

Bar for success: 2,500 sales

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