Ten cars that are going to be imported into China this year
Published May 2, 2008
Its official, China loves its cars. The rate of car ownership doubles, or even trebles some years, but the automobile is still a long way from finding itself with a place in every families driveway. The domestic automobile market is hotting up, so are imports, Hong Kongers always complain that its okay being rich in China, but there is just no where to spend your money! From 2008 onwards, it seems that spending your money on imported automobiles will be easier than ever thanks to the big brands bringing in their most popular models
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The humble Passat is the corner stone of the business world, especially black Passats. They come in all engine forms – 2.0l, 1.8t and a 2.5 V6 (which must be pretty fast!) The Passat must be one of the most popular cars in China, and now it is to be joined by the Passat CC. The CC is a little longer than popular regular Passat, the interior has been upgraded, as have the engine requirements – the CC gets a 3.5 V6.
The new mini SUV from Audi was launched at the Beijing Auto Show, and was an instant crowd pleaser. The Q5 is built on its own platform, rather than the usual hand me down offerings from VW. Rather than being an off road SUV, the Q5 is being touted as a luxury SUV to go up against the likes of the BMW X3. The Q5 may also be produced in Changchun, China.
After the Smart was cloned in China by fiberglass manufacturers, and the Nobel was inspired by the Smart car idea, could the Smart car even see sales over 100 units per year? The Nobel costs a fraction of what the Smart may cost – some analysts predict the expected Smart price tag of $20,000USD is far too high for most Chinese to consider. There was rumors a long time ago (i.e. 2003) that the Smart car could see China production in the Qingdao area, alas, nothing ever came of it! The grey market imports of Smart cars is happening, and Smart cars have been spotted around China by China Car Times.
Mercedes are bringing their SLK range to China – May 2008 should see the launch of the SLK200K, SLK280, and the SLK350. Potential customers may need to have deep pockets, or rich boyfriends, as the SLKs start at 600,000rmb.
The MINI range has found itself in a niche market segment in China. The car is small, fast, and highly desired. The price tag reflects its heritage – 250,000rmb will get you the cheapest 1.6l model, you could get a Roewe 2.5 V6 for the same money however. The MINI cooper S is an amazing 750,000rmb, the price of a good apartment. The MINI Clubman will be launched in China with two specifcations levels. The Clubman Fun will cost 329,00RMB and the Clubman Excitement will be 369,000rmb.
Since Nanjing Fiat fell down the toilet, Fiat havent had anything to sell in China. Now Fiat will be strictly an import only shop until they get Chinese production of the Bravo/Bravo up and running. The Bravo will be the first Fiat to be imported into China, the 1.4 Turbo engine Bravo will be the first model to hit the roads of the glorious PRC, Chinese buyers will have a choice of either expensive, or very expensive in the guise of a leisure model (203,800rmb) and a sports model (219,000rmb)
China Car Times always thought American cars were pretty poor in terms of styling and overall quality (they do have lots of torque/bhp though), a broad brush to paint an entire car making country with, but if the brush fits, paint with it. The Cadillac CTS completely changes China Car Times opinion however! Cadillac has taught us that Americans can once again style cars (Americans, you have to agree that American car designs went through a dark ages from the 80s till now) The latest CTS wont be that expensive once launched, it ranges from 370,000rmb to 550,000rmb for the top end sports model. Cadillac are busy doing a massive advertising campaign throughout the big east coast cities for the CTS, were almost tempted, would rather have the V8 300c though!
Since the recent craze for all things British, we wonder why GM arent selling Opels as Vauxhalls in China? Or is the German Opel brand easier to sell than the Vauxhall brand, or is it a simple linguistic matter? The Opel Antara is expected to enter China later this year, around June, to compete with other imported SUVs such as the Mitsubishi Outlander. The Antara is not expected to be as cheap as other domestically made SUVs such as the Honda CRV, Kia Sportage etc, but will be priced 300,000rmb to 400,000rmb.
Rumors persist that the Japanese edition of the RAV4, complete with Camry like front end will be either built in China, or be imported into China this year. The engines for the RAV4 are made in China via the Guangzhou Toyota joint venture.