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China April 2019: Focus on the All-new models

Exeed TXL

After analysing April sales in detail, we now focus on the all-new locally produced launches for the month, so you can stay up-to-date on the fastest-evolving automotive market in the world. Note this update is based on wholesales figures, and sometimes new nameplates appear first in the retail data, that’s the intricacies of the sometimes mysterious Chinese market. We have 5 new launches in April, 3 SUVs and 2 sedans but also 3 EVs, illustrating what will be the driving force of the Chinese market over the next decade. Make sure you also consult our Exclusive Guide to all 180 Chinese Brands, which will be updated with the Shanghai Auto Show brand launches very shortly.

1. Exeed TX (#186 – 2.113 sales)

Originally unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2017 with Chery logos, the Exeed TX took its sweet time to hit the Chinese market but it is now ready, featuring bold Exeed lettering on its grille and sold out of spanking new Exeed dealerships that operate completely separately from those of Chery, of which Exeed is a subsidiary. If the Jetour SUV brand is positioned below the Chery Tiggo lineup, Exeed is above, but the TX is based on the Chery Tiggo 8 and is also available as an extended version called TXL. Still with us? It is priced from 125.900 to 175.900 yuan (16.300-22.750€ or US$18.250-25.500) compared to 69.900-120.900 for the Jetour X70 and 98.800-142.800 for the Chery Tiggo 8.

Exeed TX interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The TX competes in an already crowded semi-premium Chinese SUV segment that houses the likes of the BYD Tang (129.900-169.900), Changan CS85 Coupe (136.900-169.900), WEY VV6 (148.000-175.000), Lynk & Co 01 (150.800-200.800) and the upcoming Geely Xingyue SUV Coupe (135.800-195.800). If the Jetour X70 and Chery Tiggo 8’s lukewarm interior quality and performances can potentially be forgiven due to their sharp pricing, that’s not the case for the TX whose dash already looks old-fashioned. It will in all likeliness struggle stealing sales from the Tang and Xingyue notably, but Chery’s other recent brand launch Jetour has defied all odds with its tremendous initial success, so anything is possible, and the first month volume is strong.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly sales

2. BYD e1 (#248 – 1.157 sales)

Under this new nameplate hides in fact an EV version of the discontinued F0, giving BYD a weapon to compete in the micro-EV segment. Priced from 59.900 to 79.900 yuan (7.750€-10.300 or US$8.700-11.600), it indeed slots in just below the Yuan EV (79.900-139.900) and does competes with the Chery eQ1 (59.800-69.800) or JACiEV6E (59.500-158.800).

BYD e1 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

This does seem like a gross stop-gap for BYD who has impressed us with stunning designs and performances lately notably from the Tang (test drive to come shortly!).

Bar for success: 3.500 monthly sales

3. Geometry A (#258 – 1.017 sales)

One of the surprises of the Shanghai Auto Show last month, Geely launched what appeared to be a new EV sub-brand, Geometry, with the A sedan, disappointingly bland outside but very cool inside. The logo is a variation of the Geely badge, and there was Geely branding all around. But a chat with the Geely Marketing Team confirmed Geometry is in fact a new standalone brand dedicated to EVs.

Geometry A interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

The A is priced from 210.000 to 250.000 yuan before subsidies, 150.000-190.000 after (19.400-24.600€ or US$21.700-27.500) which puts it squarely against the likes of the BYD Qin Pro (136.900-299.900), BAIC BJEC EU5 (129.900-161.900), Roewe Ei5 (128.800-223.800) and GAC Trumpchi Aion S (139.800-205.800). We’d want at least 4.000 sales per month on a regular basis to call Geometry a promising new brand.

Bar for success: 4.000 monthly sales

4. Dorcen G60 (#269 – 939 sales)

Dorcen is a new brand launched in September 2018 with strong links to Zotye. After the G70S, a Zotye Domy X7S rebadge, the G60 now hits the market, it is in fact a Zotye Domy X5 rebadge, itself a blatant copy of the previous generation of VW Tiguan. Faithful to what has built Zotye’s success over the years, the G60 is priced at an impossibly low 59.900 to 69.900 yuan (7.750-9.000€ or US$8.700-10.100), which undercuts its “muse” the Zotye Domy X5 (69.900-111.900).

Dorcen G60 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

This puts the G60 against such strong sellers as the Hanteng X5 (59.800-106.800) which also has strong Zotye links, the Haval M6 (66.000-86.000), Baojun 510 (54.800-77.800), Changan CS35 (63.900-87.900) or Chery Tiggo 3x (49.900-62.900). If the D70s started its career with 2.062 wholesales last October to peak at 3.064 last December, the G60 only manages a three-digit figure for its inaugural month. We’d want three times that to call it a success.

Bar for success: 2.500 monthly sales

5. JAC iEVS4 (#349 – 325 sales)

JAC has focused all its energy on creating a new lineup of electric vehicles over the past few years and has in the meantime completely discarded its combustion range. Result: sales are down 25% so far in 2019 and implode 39% in April. The brand’s most recent launch, the Refine S4, is already hitting the brakes at a ridiculously low 615 wholesales this month vs. over 15.000 year-to-date. This iEVS4 is simply its EV variant.

JAC iEVS4 interior. Picture autohome.com.cn

It is priced from 129.500 to 159.500 yuan (16.750-20.600€ or US$18.800-23.100) and thus competes with the likes of the Chery Tiggo 3xe (93.800-106.800), BAIC BJEV EX3 (123.900-163.900) or Geely Emgrand GSe (119.800-145.800). We want at least 3.000 sales to establish the iEVS4 as a long-standing nameplate within JAC’s expanding EV lineup.

Bar for success: 3.000 monthly sales

Previous month: China March 2019: Focus on the All-new models

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

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