10 Cars sold in China that are more exclusive than a Ferrari
Published October 25, 2011
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In 2010, Ferrari sold 300 cars in Greater China Ã¢? which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan alongside mainland China, a 50% increase over 2009, in 2011 Ferrari are hoping to hit that magical 50% growth figure once again and hit sales of 600 units in China. Perhaps it really is Goodbye Mao, hello Enzo Ferrari in China these days, but what about the common man? If he wants a car that is more exclusive than Ferrari and lives in China, what cars could he buy, and what if he doesnt have a Ferrari budget to blow through? Of course, China Car Times has produced a useful list in which to help guide you through the selection processÃ¯Â¼Å¡
10 Ã¢? The TX4
The TX4 might not be the first thing you think of when you want to buy an exclusive car, but they are certainly exclusive. 2010 sales reached just 387 units, but sales jumped to 934 units as of September 2009. The TX4 is made by Geely somewhere near Shanghai in an old Maple factory, CCT is not entirely clear on who owns the London Taxi company these days, it seems that British owners Manganese Bronze are in the throes of bankruptcy at every conceivable turn and Geely have been bailing them out consistently by giving them cash in exchange for shares.
9 Ã¢? Geely Dragon
The Geely Dragon was one of ChinaÃ¢s first self developed sports cars, and it certainly looked like a first attempt. The first models were known as the Beauty Leopard, but later facelifted versions were called the Dragon, underpinning the Dragon was the ancient Daihatsu Charade platform that Geely liberated from Tianjin Xiali in the late 90Ã¢s when Xiali was all about building DaihatsuÃ¢s in Tianjin. Geely wanted to set itself up as a low cost automaker and what a better way to do it than making a cheap copy of an existing cheap car? The Beauty Leopard and the Dragon were no powerful vehicles with 1.3L, 1.5L and 1.8L engines being available, apparently these things were never big sellers and were pushed off to Geely staff as Ã¢giftsÃ¢, presumably with Geely staff had to force a smile when they received the keys. 2010 sales sat at 86 units, which makes it considerably more exotic than a Ferrari.
China Dragon – Hot Stuff.
8 Ã¢? Chery Riich G6
Despite the Riich G6 being a formidable car on paper, it seems that sales are far from being formidable. The G6 is not cheap either, the base model starts at 189,800rmb for the 5 speed 2.0TCI producing 158bhp and rises to 259,800rmb for the top of the line model. Surely if you walk down the road you can pick up a last generation VW Passat for just 169,000rmb and rising, or a Ford Mondeo with a 2.0 or even 2.3 naturally aspirated engine, if you add a few extra thousand to your budget you can slip into 2.0T 203bhp territory. So the G6 is overpriced, underpowered and underselling. Sales of the G6 in September 2011 reached just 23 units, and sales for the entire year are at 34 units although the car did launch in August, so it still has some ways to go.
7 Ã¢? Chery QQ Me
The QQme was apparently designed by Pinifferina as a concept car and was never supposed to be put into production. Chery saw that Geely were going ahead with their own Geely Panda which is pretty cute, Chery thought that the QQme might be able to win some points in the cuteness factor but instead won points for the worldÃ¢s ugliest car ever put into production Ã¢? I am sure if the Western automotive media knew of its presence it would swiftly knock the Pontiac Aztek from the top of the list. The QQme is certainly cheap for the common man with prices starting at just 55,500rmb for the base 1.3L and rising to the not so unreasonable levels of 69,000rmb for the top of the line 1.3 AMT model. Sales for 2011 sit at 99 units so far, and with just 7 sold in September it still remains more exclusive than a Ferrari, and a lot cheaper, and uglier.
QQme – or not.
6 Ã¢? Greatwall Voleex C10
So this car is interesting, itÃ¢s quite obvious that most Chinese car companies donÃ¢t really have an internal design language or theme to run down their range, Ford uses Kinetic, VW returned to its simple design roots, Hyundai uses Ã¢Fluidic SculptureÃ¢ and Great Wall used Ã¢Dude, IÃ¢m so high right nowÃ¢ when putting together the Voleex C10Ã¢s clay model Ã¢This thing needs a rad set of Vampire teeth style grillÃ¢ may or may not have been heard in the Baoding design center. ThatÃ¢s not to say this thing doesnÃ¢t sell, 2011 sales are at 626 units so far but only 7 sold in September, which makes it slightly less exclusive than a Ferrari but a lot cheaper with it being priced at 54,900rmb and rising to 80,900 for the top of the line 1.5L CVT model. No matter what itÃ¢s priced at, itÃ¢s hard to get past that grill.
5 Ã¢? XiaLi Vizi
Yaris in Xia Li
Out of all the oddball designs listed above, you would think a slightly out of date small car from a world famous manufacturer would be a hot commodity, but this is China and logic does not apply in quite the same way. The Vizi from Xiali is based on the last generation of Toyota Yaris with very little changed aside from the badge, still sales are miserable with just 1 leaving the lot September and 152 being sold this year to date.
4 Ã¢? BYD S8
ChinaÃ¢s first hard top convertible sports car from one of the fastest rising car companies in the world sounds like a sure fire top seller, except it wasnÃ¢t. The S8 is a mash up of a few sports cars depending on which angle you look at it from, its SLK from the front and Renault Megane elsewhere. Prices were from 165,800rmb to 206,800rmb for the 2.0L model with both manual and CVT models being made available. The 2.0L units was developed by BYD in house and develops 186Nm of torque which is hardly enough power to rip the roof off on 0-100kph run. BYD S8 ownerÃ¢s forums are an awfully lonely place, probably because only seven S8Ã¢s were sold in 2010 Ã¢? at least the owners that bought them in 2010 will find themselves driving something that is 42 times more exclusive than a Ferrari.
3 Ã¢? Hafei Saibao
Hafei had some great cars in 2003-2006, but after that year the company the just fell to bits. New cars stopped coming, new designs fell by the wayside and the company focused more on its mini van sales rather than improving its line up and brand building. A neglect of the line up has resulted with the company selling just 314 Saibao sedans to date this year.
2 Ã¢? Citroen C-Triomphe
We donÃ¢t want to give the impression that foreign cars sell like hot cakes in China whilst local models are barely sellable lemons, the C-Triomphe sold well in its early days as probably the best looking affordable foreign saloon on the market. The C-Triomphe was based on the C4 hatch but stretched a little for China and given a notchback trunk and of course with a name change as four in Chinese sounds a lot like death (note: Calling your car after death does not help you sell cars) A few months after the C-Triomphe was launched the C4 hatch launched (also with a name change) and then a few months after that the C4 saloon was introduced (what?) which made the C-Triomphe somewhat out of place in the Citroen showrooms when put up against the new C4 and C5. Sales in September 2011 reached 120 units and 351 units for the year.
1 Ã¢? Toyota Prius
China Daily are going crazy about Toyota planning to produce hybrids in China according to a recent announcement from the Japanese company, perhaps what Mr. Han from China Daily does not yet realize is that Toyota tried the hybrid stuff in China once before, and they sucked. The Toyota-First Automobile Works joint venture put the Prius into production in China several years ago, sales were quite good at first but topped off quickly, 2010 sales end with just one unit being sold. 1. One. Uno. Yi Ge.
What caused the Prius to flop when Latte sipping Eco-conscience Americans were lapping them up in droves? It seemed to be the wrong car at the wrong time in the wrong market. The Prius was introduced at 250,000rmb which at the time was a great hunk of change, the PriusÃ¢ rivals were numerous, they were sexier, they were more powerful, they were rocking V6Ã¢s in most cases and they had better marketing machines behind them. The Prius was akin to the awkward nerd sitting in the corner of the diner in his Sunday best waiting to pick up a date that never showed. Now if the Prius came back to China with a sub 200k price tag it would pick up some sales, but seeing as Toyota are likely planning to focus on developing low cost small hybrids the Prius might be out of the window for now. Still, the Prius buyer in 2010 is now 300 times more exclusive than a Ferrari sold in the same year.