Nio. Tank. Ora. Chery. What sounds like a science fiction film cast is actually a rollback to just some of the Chinese car brands that will appear in Australia as early as this year.
That’s right, just a few.
Although companies such as Great Wall Motors, Haval, LDV and MG – yes, the British MG is now owned by the Chinese – have become big sellers in Australia in the last couple of years, a bunch of others are set to use the bridgehead they have set up.
Among them – a specialist in 4 × 4 SUV, which aims directly at the legendary Toyota LandCruiser.
Another could reset the pricing paradigm for battery electric cars by lowering the entry fee below $ 40,000 to make zero-emission vehicles available to a much larger number of Australians.
Others quite boldly declare that they want to fight the current world leader EV Tesla, and for this release a stunning set of high-tech cars and SUVs.
So why are the Chinese increasingly coming to Australia?
Prestige and profit
This is partly because the rapid growth of their domestic market has slowed, so they need to look internationally to maintain factories and increase profits.
Another reason is prestige. They want to be taken seriously on the world stage.
“They want to be major players, and the only way to do that is to sell abroad,” said Kevin Vale, a veteran of the Australian car industry who has run the Chinese business of global car giant General Motors for seven years.
“Someone is trying to sell in Europe, someone is looking at the US. Some are here in Australia, and if you can sell your product here, you’ll still get decent credo.
“Even though the volumes are small, it is still a well-appreciated international market.”
Mr. Weil is undoubtedly a lot of Chinese brands can be successful here.
Over the past decade, the pioneers have overcome the bitter quality and questionable safety, producing the best cars while maintaining affordable prices.
“All the big Chinese companies have been making their own cars for over 20 years, so they didn’t just wake up and decide to build a car. They went through this process of what works and what doesn’t.
“If they want to sell a car in Australia as long as they understand marketing and distribution correctly, no problem.”
Toyota is still on top
The Chinese are the latest wave of car immigrants to reach the shores of Australia since World War II.
The Americans drove out the British in the 1950s-1960s, the Japanese arrived in the 1960s-1970s, the Koreans in the 1980s and 1990s.
Japan’s Toyota has been No. 1 in sales in Australia for 19 consecutive years, Korea’s Hyundai now ranks No. 3, and MG for the first time in 2021 brought China into the top 10 in sales.
Can MG or another Chinese brand end up pushing Toyota to the top of Australia’s sales pile?
In part, Toyota’s rising prices have opened the bottom of the market for the Chinese to gain a foothold.
“We understand and respect the Chinese brands that emerge,” says Seat Hanley, Head of Sales and Marketing at Toyota Australia.
“We know their quality will be greatly improved and they are a formidable competitor.
“But we are very clear in our strategy, we are very confident in our strategy, we are confident in our product line and we are confident in what we supply to our customers.
“The situation is very competitive and brands need to keep moving.”
So which Chinese brands are moving and what do they offer?
The acronym stands for Build Your Dreams, and from a humble beginning in 2003, founder Wang Chuanfu, backed by investor-guru Warren Buffett, created a company second only to Tesla in sales of plug-in cars.
A local distributor is talking about a big game, promising that four or six models will be released by 2022-23 for just $ 35,000.
Several cars were delivered, but other launch dates were missed, and the commitment to eventually build cars in Australia was lifted.
The manufacturer of budget and affordable cars was engaged in the Australian market between 2011 and 2014 and announced intentions to return to Australia in 2022 with a new compact SUV called the Omoda 5.
That’s all that’s been announced so far.
Lynk & Co
Strange even by Chinese standards, the L&C name is aimed at wealthy young people with a subscription sales model.
Promised to be in Australia by 2025, L&C is part of the giant private group Geely, which also owns Volvo, Lotus, Malaysian Proton and a group of Chinese brands you’ve never heard of.
Led by business dynamo Lee Shufu, Geely is also a major investor in Daimler, the mother of Mercedes-Benz.
A private startup with no financial leverage or sales success of some other Australian contenders, Nio was established in 2014 and has since gone through a difficult pregnancy.
Just before Christmas Nio showed off its ET5 sedan, a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3.
At the same time, founder William Lee has confirmed plans for international expansion until 2025, which includes Australia.
A division of the private company Great Wall Motors, which already offers off-road brands GWM Ute and Haval in Australia, Ora was established in 2019 specifically for the production of affordable electric vehicles.
The first model to arrive in Australia in 2022 will be a compact five-door Cat or Good Cat – the name has not yet been confirmed – which should cost about $ 40,000 and have a charging range of 350 to 400 kilometers.
Another unit of the Great Wall, Tank, creates rigid SUVs with specific attributes for pushes and rides, such as stair frames, locked differentials and a significant ability to tow with braking.
In 2022, there will be models of medium and large tanks, directly focused on the market leaders Toyota LandCruiser and Prado.
A hybrid transmission will be connected than Toyota can yet boast of its 4×4.