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Explaining the Chinese Car Industry - China Auto Industry Intelligence, Statistics, Culture and Information
Updated: 19 min 58 sec ago
19 hours 54 min ago
A year ago, Qoros Auto set out their vision to the world on an impressive Silk Road-themed stand at Geneva’s Salon de l’Auto – presenting a pre-production Qoros 3 sedan, two concept cars, and a wealth of talent and experience recruited from the European motor industry’s major players.
This year, the story is one of solid achievement, set out on an impressive two-storey stand situated in a prime patch of Palexpo real estate, between Rolls Royce and Maserati.
Vice chairman Volker Steinwascher set out the milestones proudly:
- China’s first 5 Star Euro NCAP car, the rating won cum laude, as the highest rated car tested in 2013, and the second safest of all tested in the last sixteen years.
- First customer car delivered on 31st January 2013.
- First European dealership opened in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Herr Steinwascher stressed the need to demonstrate acceptability in the European market. The plan to set up in a small Eastern European market using an independent distributor was revealed to me last year, but without specific details. We now know that the distributor is AutoBinck, headquartered in the Netherlands, but with substantial operations in Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech and SlovakRepublics. This should give a hint of how Qoros’s plan to add further Eastern European nations to the network will evolve, before an incursion into Western Europe.
The ever-genial Gert Volker Hildebrand, Qoros Head of Global Design wished his chief a happy birthday – applauded by the press conference attendees – and greeted Lorenzo Ramaciotti and Aston Martin designer Marek Reichman before introducing the Geneva debutante, the five-door 3 hatch. The new variant retains the sedan’s stocky ‘wheel at each corner stance’, oddly reminiscent to me of the original Saab 99. Herr Hildebrand spoke of the car’s “muscular bite”. It is an accomplished, if rather conservative design. The generous dimensions are clamed to provide the best interior and luggage space in its class.
It is abundantly clear that Qoros realise that it is not good enough simply to match class standards – they have to be bettered in all areas. When I spoke to Herr Hildebrand earlier, the core matter was how the interior quality was perceived. The intention is to provide a high-end experience at mainstream prices. He showed as an example the 3’s instrument display, which goes into “full blackout” when switched off. In the current BMW range, this feature only appears in the 7 Series.
Sales and Marketing director, Stefano Villanti gave his insight into Qoros’s progress in a home market which buys 16 million passenger cars per year and has a strong dominance by biggest international brands.
He described brand recognition as “tremendous”. There are four million visitors to the Qoros website each month. Dealers are “excited and confident”
Customers are typically young, 70% are first time car buyers. They are “integrated with digital life”, and the Qoros Qloud ‘digital ecosystem’ is a major attraction, offering an information, communication and entertainment interface as standard across the range which would be a 2000 Euro option on competing products.
It was a confident and enlightening presentation, with a feeling that there was a real buzz about achieving something unique, in Qoros’s own definition “an international car company headquartered in China”.
If there was a disappointment there was no teaser of things to come. The SUV shown in 2013 was not mentioned, but as it appears in Qoros’s current publicity material, we can assume it is still in the plan. I’d hoped for a hint of the rumoured Passat-sized sedan, but it was not to be, nor was there a hint as to the arrival timetable for the arrival of the new three and four cylinder direct-injection engines designed by Austrian specialists AVL.
A final quote from Stefano Villanti:
“People ask me, ‘does the world need another car company?’ My answer is ‘no, but they need a better one’”.
Quite how Qoros achieve that “betterness” will determine their success in the years ahead.
Photos supplied by Andrew Elphick
6 March, 2014 - 08:28
Ok, so it’s a bike, or rather an eBIQE, in Qoros-speaq.
There is a certain amount of artifice in the concept, as it’s a Qoros-reworked version of young Croatian company Greyp’s G-12 electric bicycle, and the hand-laminated carbon fibre “body”, appears to be built over a steel frame.
The Greyp connection goes deeper than a supplier relationship. G-12 design team member Adriano Mudri, heads the Qoros eBIQE project, is also an exterior designer for the company and remains Greyp’s Head of Design.
Apart from the styling, which picks up features of the cars’ design vocabulary, the Qoros contribution is a cycling-optimised adaptation of the QorosQloud “digital ecosystem”, which provides navigation and network connectivity, and monitors tyre pressures, battery charge and range.
For those of the old-fashioned “what’ll it do” mindset, I can report that in “power mode” the eBIQE is good for 65km/h, and 0-65 km/h acceleration 8.5 seconds. The 49kg machine’s 12kW output is high enough to put it over the UK threshold for a 125cc “learner legal” motorbike. Like electric cars, electric bikes – and China has 130 million of the things – are starting to get interesting.
If the eBIQE moves beyond concept stage, expect it to be very much at the top of the electric bike scale, as the Greyp G-12 costs upwards of 6000 Euros.
4 March, 2014 - 13:58
Honda sales are showing strong signs of rebounding with the company selling 40,858 units via its two joint ventures in February, an increase of 27.6% over the same period in 2013.
The February sales jump is part of a larger trend which started in December with a 60.4% surge in year on year sales and also a 33.6% sales jump in January 2014. Sales in the first two months of 2014 reached 104,095 cars, an increase of 31.3% from the same period a year earlier. Honda’s sales goal for 2014 is set at 900,000 units.
4 March, 2014 - 13:45
Wuling’s extremely popular Hong Guang is about to gain an automatic gearbox for those that don’t wish to row their own. The minivan, which is part car, part van, is considered a luxury version amongst its mian bao che brethren thanks to its car like nose and considerably upgraded interior.
The 1.5L engine will soon gain an automatic gearbox of unknown nature to help push the Hong Guang along – this model has already been exported to international markets under the Chevrolet name, so expect this slush box variant to be slinging on its Chevrolet clothes in the next few months in Egypt and South America.
4 March, 2014 - 13:32
Nissan’s February 2014 sales have sky rocketed to 71,900 units according to a report by Reuters, sales jumped by 55.6 percent over the same time last year which comes after a tiny drop of 0.4% in January which came after a 70.4% jump in December 2013.
This year Dongfeng Nissan and its subsidary Zhengzhou-Nissan are aiming to sell 1.4 million cars in China, with the first two months of 2014 already clocking up over 160
Nissan Motor Co Ltd and its local joint venture sold about 71,900 automobiles in China in February, up 55.6 percent from a year earlier, the Japanese automaker said on Tuesday.
That follows a 0.4 percent year-on-year drop in January and a 70.4 percent jump in December. Sales of Japanese cars have been slowly recovering after taking a heavy beating from a surge anti-Japan sentiment following a territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo in late 2012.
The company’s sales in the first two months of the year came to about 167,100 cars, up 17.8 percent from the same period a year earlier.
4 March, 2014 - 13:10
Imagine you are a farmer barely getting buy in the Chinese countryside, the fertilizer costs money, the price of grain is increasing, the cost of goods at the market are increasing, including your own produce but your income is falling. What else is falling? A helicopter straight into your fields whilst your standing nearby.
One farmer in the suburbs of Weinan City in Shanxi province got the shock of his life when a CAIZ Z-10 attack chopper fell from the sky into his fields. Both of the crew on board were injured but rescued and sent to hospital where they are thought to be in a none critical condition.
The CAIC Z-10 was developed by Changhe Aircraft (which until recently owned Changhe Auto) and first flew in 2003. The development of the fast flying machine came about in the early 1990′s when China realized that its civilian converted to military use helicopters were effectively useless against large armor formations and required a dedicated flying tank killer should the PLA ever find itself face to face with a super power.
So far China has a rumored 60 of these birds (possibly 59 after today) with more on order, no other countries operate them as of yet but expect it to be on the export list once domestic demand is complete.
4 March, 2014 - 12:56
When I woke early this morning at circa 6am I had a quick flick through my emails, and some websites, and noted that Jalopnik.com was running with pictures of the new Jeep Renegade which aired today. Personally speaking, this new Fiat based Jeep is just the model that Jeep really needs to kick start its Chinese sales.
That’s not to say that Jeep need any help in China, the Compass and Patriot duo along with the larger Grand Cherokee are really pushing Jeep sales along, the new Cherokee was launched a few weeks back but it seems that not all of the American made vehicles have made it to Chinese shores just yet, so its hard to gauge their impact. The Renegade, if produced in China, will likely send Jeep sales far and beyond, especially if its priced on par or slightly higher than rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai, Hyundai ix35 or even the MINI Countryman.
But – I cant help but think I’ve seen that boxy design elsewhere before. And that’s when I realized the Renegade is very similar to the already existing ZX Auto. The Renegade may boast 9 speeds, a diesel engine and possibly multi air injection turbo engines, the simple C3 made in Baoding has a 1.5L Mitsubishi engine which doesn’t produce much or send much through the 5 speed gearbox – but for just over 57,000RMB or just under 10,000USD it’s not bad.
It’s a shame that the Chinese public cannot share our enthusiasm for the C3, ZX Auto averaged just over a 1000 cars per month over the last four months with an unknown amount of C3′s sold. Never mind.
In other news, the new Jeep is reportedly called the Zi You Xia in China which could (but not) be translated to FREEDOM SUPERHERO as Xia is often used with super hero names such as Batman etc etc.
4 March, 2014 - 08:29
China’s Austerity drive seems to be slowing down super luxury auto sales according to the below report which cites Ferrari etc’s sales decline in the Chinese market. With Xi’s crackdown on corruption it has become common place to not wave your wealth around, demure luxury is now in chic whilst a screaming Ferrari or Lamborghini is certainly out.
The super-luxury automobile segment endured a tough period in the once-heated Chinese sector last year as the country’s most affluent hesitated to spend extravagantly amid slowing economic growth in the world’s largest car market.
Major high-end automobile makers including Bentley, Ferrari and Lamborghini all posted shrinking sales last year despite their increased promotional effort, the Beijing News reported.
Bentley delivered a total of 2,191 cars to the Chinese market in 2013, a drop of 3 per cent year-on-year and bucking the company’s 19 per cent rise globally.
Likewise, Ferrari sold 554 cars in China, marking almost a one-third decline, while Lamborghini’s sales fell 16.7 per cent from the figure of 2012 to 267 units.
Via Economic Times
3 March, 2014 - 11:07
Emerald Automotive has become the latest acquisition for Geely according to reports from the Wall Street Journal. Emerald Automotive is a UK start up company with operations in the UK and also in Missouri, USA.
Emerald Automotive spokesman, Andy Tempest, was quoted as saying: “This is a fantastic opportunity, which will allow us to expand our current vehicle-development work in line with Geely Group’s global vision,” he said.
Figures for the buyout have not yet been revealed, but Geely have comitted to spending 200 million USD in devleoping the company which according to Geely spokesman Victor Yang will help the company develop a new generation of electric vehicles, and electric taxi cabs. Geely did confirm directly that they would produce vehicles in the USA in the near future.
3 March, 2014 - 10:40
When it comes to turbo power, JAC is no slacker, the company has already developed 1.8T gasoline and a huge array of turbo assisted diesel engines but it hasn’t yet made a small displacement engine to keep up with the rest of the market that has moved onto 1.4T/1.5T engines.
JAC’s first 1.5T engine will be installed in the above A30 sedan which has already been on the market for some time. The 1.5T from JAC is one of the best offerings we’ve seen so far from a Chinese or foreign company, the 1.5T engine comes with 251Nm of torque and produces a startling 163bhp; which is above the Chinese rivals (BYD at 150) and just behind GM’s 1.6T with 184bhp which is in the Excelle GT/XT and Buick Regal.
And for the power drivers that like to row their own: This JAC A30 will come with a 6 speed manual gearbox, with an autobox coming sometime in the near future.
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