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China February 2019: Focus on the All-new models

The Hongqi E-HS3 has landed.

As a teaser for February Wholesales data, we can share with you now this month’s new locally-made launches so you stay on top of what is moving in  the fastest-evolving new car market in the world. February is traditionally a very dry month in China as it coincides with Lunar New Year celebrations and extended holidays. Last year only the Baojun 530 launched, and this year we have, quite fittingly, two New Energy Chinese SUVs. You can also keep track of the fast-expanding list of all active Chinese brands by consulting our Exclusive Guide to all 179 Chinese Brands, updated live.

1. Weltmeister EX5  (#307 – 417 sales)

Weltmeister is an electric car brand launched in 2016 and based in Shanghai. Its English name is in fact German for world champion, but its Chinese name is Weima, meaning powerful horse. I selected Weltmeister as one of the “Top 5 brands you should know about” during the latest Beijing Auto Show in April 2018. The company aims at selling 100.000 vehicles annually with a three model-lineup by 2020. Its first nameplate, the EX5 electric crossover, has been in our Retail and New Energy updates since last September but somehow still eluded the Wholesales charts until now.

Weltmeister EX5 interior. Picture autonome.com.cn

Priced from 186.550 to 298.800 yuan (US$27.900-44.600 or 24.500-39.300€) before government subsidies, the EX5 hits the bullseye in terms of fashionable format. It competes against the likes of the BYD Song EV (176.900-219.900), Ora IQ (188.800-210.500), Xpeng G3 (227.800-257.800), potentially extending to the upcoming Nio ES6 (358.000-548.000). Its retail sales reached almost 2.900 in December, and an average wholesales figure just below that would make this a long-term success, notwithstanding the carmaker’s outlandish annual sales 2020 targets.

Bar for success: 2.500 monthly sales

2. Hongqi E-HS3 (#331 – 300 sales)

Founded in 1958, Hongqi is the oldest Chinese passenger car manufacturer and the only Chinese luxury car marque. Originally reserved for for high-ranking government officials, the brand is working on reaching the masses, launching the H5 sedan in late 2017 which enabled it to smash its annual volume record at almost 27.000 wholesales in 2018. Hongqi is now exploring New Energy offerings and SUVs, hitting both birds with one stone thanks to the new E-HS3 which was previewed at the Beijing Auto Show in April 2018.

Hongqi E-HS3 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

There’s no price information available for the E-HS3 yet, which is the first of a series of new SUVs Hongqi is intending on launching on the Chinese market in the next couple of years, with the HS5 being next in line. At 4.49m long, the E-HS3 is 11cm shorter than the BYD Song EV and should therefore logically compete both with the Weltmeister EX5 and the latter’s competitors. A 390 km range is announced. We’re allocating the same sales target as the EX5.

Bar for success: 2.500 monthly sales

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