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China February 2018: Focus on the All-new models

As per the BSCB tradition, after covering February sales in detail, we now focus on the all-new locally produced launches so you can stay up-to-date on the fastest-evolving automobile market in the world. After 7 new entrants in December and 9 in January, the February 2018 class amounts to a very lonely single new start, due to the fact that the Chinese New Year Holiday falls right in the middle of the month this year. But as far as new starts are concerned, this could be one of the most anticipated this year. You can stay up-to-the-minute on the fast expanding list of all active Chinese brands by consulting our Exclusive Guide to all 144 Chinese Brands.

1. Baojun 530 (#182 – 2.005 sales)

Just this month, the Baojun 510 has managed to dislodge the Haval H6 from the SUV throne it held for the past 55 consecutive months. Yet at the time of launch in February 2017, the 510 was an audacious design bet, parting with the conservative (but extremely successful) lines of the 730 MPV and 560 SUV. A bet it has transformed in the most spectacular way: with 416.883 sales in its first 12 months, the Baojun 510 has become the most popular new car ever introduced in the world, beating the previous record held for the past 40 years by the Ford Fairmont with 405.780 units sold in its first year of sale in the US in 1978. The 510 also became the fastest nameplate in China to 300.000 units (10 months vs. 11 for the Baojun 560) and to 400.000 units (12 months).

Baojun 530 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The Baojun brand was founded in 2010 and is owned by the SAIC-GM Wuling joint venture. The low-cost marque builds on the extraordinarily successful 510’s sharp design with this larger 530 which has large shoes to fill to say the least. At 4.66m long, the 530 however remains a 5-seater and is priced from 75.800 to 115.800 yuan (US$11.970-18.300), to be compared with the 510 at 54.800-76.800 yuan and the 560 at 69.800-117.800 yuan, making the 530 Baojun’s new flagship. It is powered by a 150hp 1.5 turbo coupled with a six-speed manual or DCT or a 137hp 1.8 coupled with a 5-speed manual. No all-wheel-drive option is available.

The 530 enters a rapidly saturating market, competing with the likes of the Haval H6, Changan CS55 and CS75, all blockbuster sellers. Before it, the Baojun 560 managed to sell 112.000 units it its first 5 months and 319.536 it its first 12 and the 510 is the most successful car launch in history. Given how similar the 530 looks to the 510, it would be unreasonable to expect the same performance level, but Baojun should count on at least 20.000 monthly units to deem the 530 a success. The main challenge for the 530 will however be internal: minimising cannibalisation of the 510, as the latter has totally annihilated the 560.

Bar for success: 20.000 monthly units

Previous month: China January 2018: Focus on the All-new models

One year ago: China February-March 2018: Focus on the All-new models

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