What Do You Need to Know About China’s Automotive Industry?

The rise of vehicle brands from China seems to be undergoing an evolutionary form of massive change, aided by the collaboration between the Geely company and our country’s automotive company Proton.

These changes have clearly eroded the stigma of our society on the quality of cars produced by the mainland, in turn creating confidence in Malaysians to want to own a car made in China – even though the brand is still a Malaysian brand.

We don’t know if this evolution of acceptance is still exclusively due to the cause of Proton’s involvement alone or will actually change public perceptions of Chinese cars.

What do you know about the vehicle market in China? Let’s learn a little about the automotive industry there.

China is the world’s largest car market

In 2009, China officially became the world’s largest car manufacturer AND market overtaking the United States, which had previously topped the charts.

During the year, China managed to record production of 13.79 million units of vehicles in total and managed to record total sales of 13.64 million in total.

What you need to know, this change from China has actually been planned since the 1950s through a government-supported project called ‘First Automobile Works’ or FAW.

FAW opened their first factory in 1953 and began producing truck vehicles in 1956, the result of cooperation with the Soviet Union. Only in 1958, FAW began producing their first passenger vehicle with the production of the FAW Hongqi CA72 model.

This production coincided with the policy of the Chinese government at that time which wanted to bridge the gap between their country and the west, through the policy of ‘The Great Leap Forward’ introduced by Mao Zedong.

The CA72 was only sold to government agencies and top leaders of the communist government before the FAW introduced the Dongfeng CA71 for sale to the public.

Four Chinese automotive giants

1. The Geely name is gaining popularity in our country, however in China – the automotive industry is dominated by the four largest companies to date.

The largest vehicle company in China is SAIC Motor, which started producing passenger vehicles in 1961 and now leads the Chinese market in terms of production.

Among the brands released by SAIC are the British brands MG, Yuejin and Maxus. If you noticed, many of our local companies also use Maxus brand vans now.

2. The second company is Dongfeng, whose trucks are increasingly hovering over the streets of our country. FAW is currently the third largest vehicle manufacturer.

While the fourth company categorized as a Chinese automotive giant is Chang’an. The company has already entered our country’s passenger car market, through a partnership with the Berjaya group through the Chana brand.

Chang’an tried to introduce the Chana Era model in 2009, which was marketed as Malaysia’s cheapest 5+2 seat MPV, sold at RM39,000 to RM45,000. But the response to it may be less encouraging.

The number 1 brand in China

While the Chinese market is dominated by their four automotive giants, Chinese brands actually face quite stiff competition in the local market.

Volkswagen, which was issued in partnership with SAIC and Volkswagen of Germany, dominated overall sales, followed by Honda and Toyota for 2019.

The Geely brand ranked fourth in terms of sales in 2019 with Nissan closing the list, in fifth place.

In terms of sales, sales of the Volkswagen Lavida became the best-selling model for the German manufacturer, so Volkswagen’s sales volume topped the combined Honda and Toyota sales volume.

But China’s best-selling model is not the Volkswagen Lavida.

The best-selling model in the Chinese market

What is China’s best-selling model?

The best-selling car model in China is held by an MPV model that has been released since 2010, named Wuling Hongguang; the result of a collaboration between SAIC, GM from the United States and Wuling from China.

A 7 -seater MPV, since 2016 this model topped the sales charts due to its popularity – helped by its price which is worth around RM32 to RM40 thousand according to specifications.

In August 2020, Wuling launched an electric version of this model with a smaller size and the response – too encouraging. The price is only around RM18 thousand. Cheap right?

So far, Wuling has made our two neighboring countries, India and Indonesia, their market focus, but if the price offered is such and is believed to be worth the quality – we hope Wuling will start bringing the same model to Malaysia.

Rumors about the effort to bring in are already there so let’s wait, if the vehicle model with the number 1 sales in the world will explore our country.

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