China new models April 2023: Buick Electra E5 and WEY Lanshan arrive
Buick Electra E5
After detailing April 2023 Chinese wholesales, it’s now time to explore the new locally produced models for the month. This way you can stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the largest and most dynamic market in the world. This month we have 6 new models hitting Chinese roads, 3 of them Chinese. To fully understand the scope of the Chinese market, make sure you consult our Exclusive Guide to all 190 active Chinese Brands.
1. WEY Lanshan (1,050 sales)
WEY sales are down -66.1% so far in 2023 and therefore need all the help they can get. It comes in the shape of this new SUV, the Lanshan (meaning Blue Mountain). The brand has already scrapped its coffee inspired nomenclature (Latte, Macchiato, Mocha) as these were unsuccessful. The Lanshan is launched as a PHEV model after being unveiled in 2022 as the WEY 80. It is a six-seater 5.16m-long SUV equipped with 1.5L turbo engine mated with an electric motor for a total of 410 hp. The Lanshan eclipses the 0-100 lm/h in 4.9 seconds. Range is 1200 km.
This new WEY model has a 4WD driving mode as well as snow, mud and sand modes. It impresses with its dashboard composed of a digital tile expanding from side to side and composed of two main screens: one for panel instrument panel and another large one infotainment touch screen. The Lanshan is the 2nd most expensive WEY nameplate at 273,800 to 308,800 yuan (36,700-40,700€ or US$39,100-44,100). It will compete in size with the more expensive LI L8 (339,800-399,800 yuan) and AITO M7 (289,800-379,800 yuan). Given WEY’s recent underwhelming performance, we will be kind on the Lanshan’s bar for success at 2,500 monthly units.
Bar for success: 2,500 monthly sales
2. Buick Electra E5 (713 sales)
Buick sales are down -15.1% year-to-date in 2023 but up 176.2% in April so they seem to have perked up. The brand’s latest iteration is this Electra E5, a mid-size electric SUV. It looks like Electra is a new EV sub-brand for the American manufacturer, adding to the Velite sub-brand, and an E4 sedan is planned for later this year. The Electra E5 is a five-seater 4.89 m long vehicle. Wheelbase is 2.95 m, and the most expensive trim level offers 4WD. There are three ranges available: 545, 603, and 620km.
Unfortunately the exterior design of the E5 is no different to many Chinese SUVs, both from the front and from the rear and it will have a hard time standing out in an ultra-competitive segment. Note the charging port cover opens electrically and the door handles are pop up style as it now is all the rage with new models launched recently in China. Inside the cockpit, the dashboard comes with a 30″ digital tile oriented towards the driver. The Electra E5 is priced from 208,900 to 278,900 yuan (27,500-36,800€ or US$29,800-39,800) which is pretty competitive and pits it against the likes of the BYD Corvette 07 (202,800-319,800 yuan). Volume-wise, the Electra E5 received 8,000 orders in 10 days so it seems to be destined for a solid success.
Bar for success: 3,500 monthly sales
3. GAC Trumpchi E9 (65 sales)
Given the success of its Aion series of EVs, it’s been a while since we saw a new GAC Trumpchi launch. Here comes the E9, and as it was the case with the M8 MPV it ditches the G-led nomenclature, but also the M-led nomenclature that stood for MPV. The E9 is an upscale PHEV MPV and the new MPV flagship on the brand. Its exterior design is rather spectacular, as is the new habit for the segment. The oversized front grille is combined with reverse L-shaped headlights. The E9 is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged engine delivering 190 hp and comes in three trim levels: Pro, Max and Grandmaster.
The electric range is 100 km and the overall range is over 1,000 km. The dash has three separate digital screens: one for the driver, a central console one and a passenger one for entertainment. The E9 is priced from 330,000 to 390,000 yuan (43,500-51,400€ or US$47,100-55,650). For comparison the Trumpchi M8 comes at 179,800 to 369,800 yuan. The E9 will compete with vehicles such as the Denza D9 (335,800-465,800 yuan), Buick GL8 (232,900-473,900 yuan) and Voyah Dreamer (369,900-689,900 yuan). The M8 peaked at 8,839 wholesales in December 2022, so we have more limited expectations for this more expensive E9.
Bar for success: 3,500 monthly sales
4. Bestune M9 (33 sales)
The M9 is Bestune’s second MPV after the electric NAT and largest vehicle so far, it is a rebadge of the Hongqi HQ9 with different front and rear end designs. The M9 is 5.28m long with a 3.20m wheelbase, it is a 7-seater. As is the tradition for upscale MPVs, the owner is not the driver and therefore the second row seats are more luxurious and come with all bells and whistles, namely ventilation, heating, and massage, electrically adjustable leg rest and backrest. Surprisingly given the current trends, the M9 is an ICE model powered by a 2.0L turbocharged engine delivering 252 hp.
The dash features two digital screens moderately sized in the current Chinese context. The instrument panel is 7″ and the central touch screen is 12.3″. There is a 1.26 by 1.05m panoramic roof. M9 is priced competitively from 229,800 to 249,800 yuan (30,300-32,900€ or US$32,800-35,650) and will compete with the GAC Trumpchi M8 (179,800-369,800 yuan), the lower trims of the Buick GL8 (232,900-473,900 yuan) and the Maxus G90 (219,900-329,900 yuan). We are in uncharted territory for Bestune here so we’ll keep our expectations rather low.
Bar for success: 2,000 monthly units.
Also launching this month are the Dongfeng Honda HR-V with 199 sales (159,900-228,900 yuan), the twin of the GAC Honda ZR-V, and the Kia Seltos at 187 sales (109,900-139,900 yuan), identical to the Kia KX3.
Am quite surprised to see Great Wall’s slump, following its all out new models launch, in an attempt to keep up with the start ups and the NEV push.