Would you buy a Chinese car in the next two years?
It’s a question British motorists will soon have to ask themselves with the first Chinese brand arriving in the country in 2020.
And industry insiders have predicted that more Chinese-made motors will be arriving in Europe soon, with the country building more cars than any other in recent years.
Made in China: Bosses at Jaguar Land Rover and VW predict that models built for the Chinese market will soon be sold in Europe as the quality of vehicles improves in the Far East. From 2020, Britons will be able to buy Lynk & Co models, built by Geely motors
In interviews with Auto Express, bosses at Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen have forecast models built for the Chinese market will be sold in Europe soon.
China overtook the US in 2009 to become both the biggest car maker and market, selling 13.6million units that year and producing 13.8million passenger and commercial vehicles during those 12 months.
Those figures have almost doubled since, with around 28.8million vehicles sold in the country last year – and now one in every four new cars assembled globally being made in China.
Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) – which partners with US automaker General Motors and MG Motors in the UK – produced almost 7million cars alone in 2017. That is four times as many that were made in the UK in total.
This incredible rate of growth could soon see Chinese-made motors filtering into our showrooms – especially those built by European brands specifically for the Far East market.
In an interview with Auto Express, Jaguar Land Rover technical director Dr Wolfgang Zeibart said there was a ‘very high chance’ China could export its cars soon.
‘The market is growing too fast for it to happen now, but in the future I can see it,’ he said.
‘Production costs are lower and so are the components, and the quality is very good.’
The improved product is testament to the rapid growth of home-grown brands in the country, as well as increased production of models by recognised European brands.
This is the best-selling car in China for the last few years. It’s called the Wuling Hong Guang and it is a practical MPV for large families
Two Volkswagen models made specifically for the Chinese market are in the top 10 best sellers in the country. This includes the Lavida (left) at number 3 and the Sagitar (right) at number 10
The best-selling model in China last year was the Wuling Hong Guang, with 533,950 registered last year.
The top 10 most popular list also included two Volkswagens, a Toyota and one Nissan – as well a US-branded Buick.
10 best-selling cars in China in 2017
1. Wuling Hong Guang – 533,950
2. Haval H6 – 506,418
3. Volkswagen Lavida – 457,959
4. Buick Excelle – 416,990
5. Nissan Sylphy – 405,854
6. Geely Boyue (X7 Sport) – 386,885
7. Baojun 510 – 363,949
8. Trumpchi GS4 – 335,467
9. Toyota Corolla – 333,485
10. Volkswagen Sagitar – 332,733
Source: China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM)
VW’s sales and marketing boss, Jürgen Stackmann, told the popular car title: ‘You will see cars from us in the next two years that will only be sold in China, but people elsewhere will also want them.
‘The market size allows us to come up with larger sub-segmentation compared to regions like Europe, and we are looking at bringing cars from China into Europe.’
MG Motors is currently the largest importer of Chinese-made cars into the UK, selling models like the MG3, MG GS and MG ZS.
Some 4,441 MG models were registered last year, which was almost on par with Alfa Romeo.
In two year’s time, it will be joined by more Chinese cars in Britain, in the shape of Lynk & Co models that will be sold from 2020.
This is a new brand owned by Chinese giant Geely, which is also the parent company of Volvo and Lotus.
However, instead of importing models built at the £1.4billion headquarters in Zhangjakou, China, models sold in Europe will be made at Volvo’s plant in Ghent, Belgium.
The 01 – a compact SUV that shares a platform with the award winning Volvo XC40, which is built in the same factory – will be the first to arrive.
It will be followed by a smaller 02 crossover and the 03 saloon.
MG sold just short of 5,000 new models last year, which was on par with Alfa Romeo
The Lynk & Co 01 – based on the same platform as the Volvo XC40 – will soon be available in Europe
The brand will also launch an 03 saloon car, seen here in concept form
What do the best-selling cars in China look like?
We’ve already seen the Wuling Hong Guang, the most-bought car in China last year, and the two Volkswagen models that feature in the top 10 – but what about the rest?
Here are the cars selling like hotcakes – or Mandarin pancakes – in China:
The Haval H6 is a roomy family 4×4 that would easily go undetected among the European SUVs currently dominating sales in the UK
The Buick Excelle is available in China as both a saloon and hatchback. It’s proving to be a popular choice
Probably not the most fortunate of names for this one, but the Nissan Sylphy looks like a fairly practical family saloon. There’s an electric version due to hit the market this year
Geely is making use of the knowledge it has inherited from Volvo to make a range of decent SUVs, including the Boyue
The Baojun 510 is a practical compact SUV that looks like a mix of a Ford EcoSport and Audi Q2. It only went on sale in China last year and managed to make it into the top 10 best sellers
This is the manufacturer you’re most likely to remember – Trumpchi. While the brand name is comedy, the GS4 is no laughing matter – it’s a hugely popular family-size 4×4
We haven’t had a Corolla in the UK for some years – with it being replaced by the Auris – but the name is still going strong in China. This is a popular taxi-driver’s choice
SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING