If India is a small car nation it must be then said that China truly is a nation obsessed with the sedan. Amazingly 9 out of the top 10 are what I would class as “medium” (bigger than a large hatch but no bigger than a Holden Commodore). Admittedly the top ten only represent some 2 million of a total of 18 million cars sold in 2010 however if anyone is in any doubt as to whether or not the other 16 or so million follows the same trend they need run a quick Google images for “China traffic” search to see how much the Chinese appreciate medium sized sedans.
The top ten is a mix of Chinese manufacturers (eg. BYD, Cherry), foreign brands (eg. Chevrolet, Volkswagen) and local/foreign joint ventures (eg. Volkswagen Bora, Hyundai Elantra Yue Dong). Despite the foreign interest every car on the list is produced in China. The top spot is taken by the BYD F3 which, by all accounts looks suspiciously like a Toyota Carrolla. The rest of the top ten is truly remarkable for its sheer lack of variance; it would seem that for many Chinese the choice is whether to buy a “boxy type” or a “smooth styling” type of sedan. As dull as this may sound at least the production numbers display a stark contrast to the market a mere ten years ago where only 2 million cars were produced (today the number is closer to 19 million).
|China (2010 full year results)|
|# 1. BYD F3 (medium)|
|# 2. Volkswagen Lavida (medium)|
|# 3. Hyundai Elantra Yue Dong (medium)|
|# 4. Volkswagen Jetta (medium)|
|# 5. Buick Excelle (medium)|
|# 6. Volkswagen Santana (medium)|
|# 7. FAW Xiali (small)|
|# 8. Chevrolet Cruze (medium)|
|# 9. Cherry Cowin (medium)|
|# 10. Volkswagen Bora (medium)|
Just like last week where our conclusion was that India could potentially start selling their growing expertise in small cars overseas, equally China has in fact already started to expand their vehicles out to overseas markets. Cherry and Great Wall Motors (not in the top 10) have entered the Australian market in recent years. While they are not yet close to the Australian top 10 they could replicate the successes of the likes of Mazda, Mitsubishi and Hyundai and creep into the budget end of the Australian sedan (and in some cases ute and SUV) market before long.