The Chinese car market is one of the most diverse in the world, with over 400 locally produced passenger car models from more than 70 domestic and foreign brands. If we include imported vehicles, minivans, pickups and commercial vehicles, there are more than 1.000 different models available. In the October 2016 China car sales ranking, we welcome 9 new models, of which 5 crossover/SUVs, one of which from an all-new brand, the fourth domestic new brand this year (offsetting the demise of 2), 2 sedans and 2 MPVs.
Dongfeng already has an impressive line-up of MPVs, and adds another one to it, even though the brand itself would like you to think of it as a crossover. The SX6 is based on the Dongfeng Fengxing S500, with a similar wheelbase of 2.750mm. The exterior dimensions are similar too at 4.650/1.820/1.790mm and the Fengxing SX6 also has three rows seating 7. Prices run from 69.900 yuan (€9.500,- / US$ 10,200) to 102.900 yuan (€14.100,- / US$ 14,950). Two engines are available: a Mitsubishi 1,6-liter with 117hp and 150Nm with a five-speed manual or a CVT, and a PSA 2-liter with 138hp and 200Nm with only the five-speed manual. The Fengxing SX6 clearly cannibalizes sales of the Fengxing S500 but combined still add volume to the brand, as sales of the latter have dropped from an average of 6.500 (and 9.000 in September) to just 2.349 units in October, while the SX6 adds 8.157 sales in its introduction month. That immediately makes it the brand’s #3 best seller after the Fengguang 580 and the Fenxing Lingzhi.
The Hyundai Verna, also known as Accent in other parts of the world, has been replaced by a new generation called Verna Yuena, but it’s not yet clear whether this is a replacement or an addition, as not uncommon in China. Some automakers keep both generations on sale alongside each other, with a lower price of the old version to satisfy the needs of budget buyers. In fact, Hyundai currently still sells 3 generations of the Elantra and two generations of the Sonata and the ix35/Tucson alongside each other. However, the Verna is already a bargain basement model and although both models are still featured on the Beijing-Hyundai website, prices are pretty much the same. Pricing for the Verna Yuena starts at 72.800 yuan (€9.950,- / US$ 10,600) and runs up to 105.800 yuan (€14.500,- / US$ 15,400).
The sedan version of the Verna Yuena is the first to be launched, with the hatchback following within the next few months. The Yuena will be available with two engines: an updated 1,4-liter with 100hp and 132Nm and a carry-over 1,6-liter with 123hp and 151Nm, both coupled to a six-speed manual or a four-speed (!) automatic. Dimensions are 4.380/1.728/1.460m mwith a 2.600mm wheelbase.
Hyundai sold 5.887 units of the Verna Yuena in October, almost as many as the previous generation Verna at 5.911. This is down from 18.050 in October 2015 and down from an average of 11.000 per month in the first three quarters of the year.
A new month, and another new Chinese brand, starting with a crossover called X7 as its first model. Last month we welcomed SWM with their first model the SWM X7, this month the latest brand to launch onto the crowded Chinese car market is Hanteng Autos with the Hanteng X7 crossover. Besides these two, there are another three cars with the X7 name in China, even before BMW launches its flagship SUV: the Lifan Maiwei X7, the Landwind X7, and the upcoming Zotye Damai X7. Hanteng has the same owner as Zotye: Tech-New Group.
Hanteng Autos has ambitious goals: the company has a total investment budget of 3,7 billion yuan (€ 500 million / US$ 537 million) and have built a factory with a capacity for the production of 100.000 cars per year. By 2020 the brand wants to offer a line-up of 5 vehicles on 3 platforms: 4 SUV/crossovers and one MPV, including at least one PHEV. One of those is the X7, a five-seater crossover with the following dimensions: 4.671/1.902/1.697mm and a wheelbase of 2.810mm. It is available with two engine options: a 1,5-liter turbocharged engine with 150hp and 215Nm mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and a 2-liter turbo with 192hp and 250Nm mated to a 6-speed DCT gearbox. Prices range from 79.800 yuan (€10.950,- / US$ 11,600) to 148.800 yuan (€20.400,- / US$ 21,600). If you think it looks quite similar to the Zotye T600, you’re right, both are built on the same platform and use the same engines.
In its first month of sales, Hanteng delivered 5.006 units to its dealers, similar to Borgward which started with 4.000 in July and has been stable just above 5.000 per month for the BX7 since, and also similar to SWM which started with 6.000 in September and sold just over that figure again in October.
Foton, the commercial vehicle brand under the umbrella of BAIC Beijing Automotive and owner of the Borgward brand, has now launched a new subbrand Gratour, with its models in two versions: the ix5 base model and the ix7 luxury model which is also 10cm longer, 2,5cm wider and 4cm higher. Both are available with a 5, 6, 7 or even 8 seat configuration. In its introduction month, the Gratour models already made up 79% of total Foton passenger car sales, which include 2 more models: the MPX van and the Sauvana crossover, launched last year. Both these models have never sold more than 1.000 units a month but the Gratour sold 2.007 in its first month.
The cars are powered by a 115hp/150Nm 1,5-liter engine coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission. Dimensions are 4.505/1.725/1.780mm for the ix5 and 4.515/1.750/1.820 for the ix7, which appears to be caused by higher ground clearance and bigger bumpers to give it a rugged SUV-like look. Both have the same wheelbase of 2.760mm. Prices for the ix5 start at 48.900 yuan (€6.700,- / US$ 7,100) and run up to 58.900 yuan, which is where the ix7 continues at 59.900 yuan up to 89.900 yuan (€12.300,- / US$ 13,000).
Foton’s parent company BAIC has been on a launching spree this year, with 5 new models in the past 8 months, mostly focusing on the MPV and SUV markets. It has now launched yet another MPV, aimed squarely at the immensely popular Baojun 730. Launched under its Weiwang subbrand, the M50F is positioned above the Weiwang M30 and is based on the platform of the Bejing Huansu H3. Dimensions are 4.724/1.796/1.748mm with a wheelbase of 2.760, similar to the Gratour, but I haven’t been able to find if this is also the same platform. The 7-seater is available with two different styles of grille, one with chrome bars and one more sporty black plastic honeycomb grille (pictured). Power comes from a naturally aspirated 1,5 liter engine with 116hp mated to a 5-speed manual or a 1,3-liter turbocharged engine with 130hp and 185Nm mated to a 6-speed manual. Prices run from 67.800 yuan (€9.300,- / US$ 9,800) to 91.800 yuan (€12.600,- / US$ 13,300).
In its first month, 1.500 copies of the M50F were sold, a figure that should rise quickly in the coming months, considering the M30 sold over 10.000 units in October and the Baojun 730 a whopping 40.000.
If you thought Honda already had enough small sedans in its line-up, the brand itself disagrees with you. Besides the City and Greiz, each made by a different Joint Venture with the Japanese brand, Honda has now also launched the Gienia, which looks like a Crosstour version of the Greiz. It has a liftback (so technically isn’t a sedan) and a prominent chrome strip under its grille and headlights. Like the Greiz, the Gienia is produced by the Dongfeng-Honda JV, to balance off the fact that Guangzhou-Honda already produces the (Accord) Crosstour. These two constantly compete for models, as you’ll also see below.
The Gienia is powered by the same 1,5-liter engine as the City and Greiz, with 131hp and 155Nm, mated to either a 5-speed manual or a CVT. Prices start at 89.900 yuan (€12.300,- / US$ 13,000) and run up to at 127.900 yuan (€17.500,- / US$ 18,500), which is above the price of the two sedans. In its first month, Honda sold 1.197 copies of the Gienia, but it appears to cannibalize a bit on the other two models, as total sales of the three remains in the 9.000 to 10.000 range as it has been for the past 4 months. Of course, one month is too early to tell, and we’ll keep an eye on the development for you. Meanwhile, the Crosstour appears to have come to the end of its life cycle, with a mere 46 sales in October.
Honda has launched not one but two all-new models this month, with the introduction of the Avancier large SUV, positioned above the CR-V. Based on the Honda Concept D showcased at the 2015 Shanghai motor show, the Avancier is built on the same platform as the imported Honda Pilot, but with a sportier look, and therefore only five seats. It’s produced by the Guangzhou-Honda joint venture that also produces the Vezel small crossover, and that means the Dongfeng-Honda joint venture will get its own version of this car as well, just like the Vezel/XR-V and the City/Greiz. That car will be named U-RV and will arrive early 2017. It sounds a bit ineffective to have wo almost identical cars produced by different JVs and sold in the same showrooms, but with the smaller crossovers it works, as Honda sells a ton of each of them.
The Avancier is powered by a 2-liter turbo with 272hp and 370Nm, mated to a 9-speed automatic gearbox, propelling all four wheels. A 1,5-liter turbo will follow next year. Dimensions are 4.816/1.942/1.669mm with a wheelbase of 2.820mm. Prices run from 269.800 yuan (€36.800,- / US$ 39,000) up to 328.900 yuan (€45.000,- / US$ 47,750), similar to the Buick Envision which sells more than 20.000 units a month in China, and a bit above the prices of the Toyota Highlander, which sells 7.000-8.000 units a month. The Avancier should be able to position itself between those two models, which means sales will pick up quickly from the 629 units of its first month.
Enranger, the brand from Weichai Auto which was launched in July last year, has added a fourth model to its line-up. However, it’s not an entirely new model, as the G5 “SUV” is merely a cross-version of their Enranger 737 MPV which was launched 13 months ago and which is the brand’s most popular model so far with 28.885 sales since. They’ve just added some grey cladding around the wheel arches and some chrome side bars. Unsurprisingly, the G5 is powered by the same 1,5-liter engine, pumping out 113hp and 141Nm, coupled to a 5-speed manual gear box or a CVT.
The big eye-catcher of the 737 has fortunately been carried over to the G5: the huge 16″ touch screen for the infotainment and navigation system in the center console, absolutely unheard of in a car on this class and for this price! How cheap is this car then? It starts as low as 69.800 yuan (€9.600,- / US$ 10,100) and end at 93.800 yuan and the version with the huge touchscreen starts at 75.800 yuan. Dimensions are 4.530/1.810/1.730mm with a wheelbase of 2.785mm.
This Peugeot 4008 looks different from the one we know in Europe, but it’s still a bit familiar. That’s because this is the new generation 3008 as it will still be named in Europe. However, in China the first generation 3008 will also remain on sale, so to distinguish the two models, the French have decided to rename the new one 4008. Confusingly, the European 4008 (a rebadged Mitsubishi ASX) is also available in China as an import, but this is expected to be canceled anyway. The new 4008 is a hugely important car for the brand, as it desperately needs a success now that sales of its traditional sedans are falling and the 2008 small crossover is facing increasing competition from larger and cheaper domestic rivals, not to mention the utter failure of the 308S hatchback, which is a victim of terrible product planning at PSA in China.
The 4008 is available with two turbocharged engine options, similar to the Citroën C6 which was launched last month: a 1,6-liter with 165hp and 245Nm and a 1,8-liter with 200hp and 285Nm, both mated to a 6-speed automatic and front-wheel drive. Prices run from 185.700 yuan (€25.350,- / US$ 26,950) to 273.700 yuan (€37.400,- / US$ 39,1700), which is below the Volkswagen Tiguan, which starts at 199.800 yuan, and naturally above the 3008 which has been lowered in starting price from 159.700 yuan to 140.700 yuan. Its first month sales are no indication of this car’s potential, as 324 units are nowhere near even the Renault Kadjar, which sold 4.000 copies this month, despite coming from a much less-known brand with a smaller dealer network. The “old” 3008 sold 3.253 units in October, down from an average of 5.625 over 2015, a figure which the 4008 should be able to hit easily.