Vehicle imports examined - China

"One Chinese newcomer to the local car market is racing out of the showrooms and defying critics sceptical of cheap imports". Those were the words of a Channel Ten News presenter covering a special report on Great Wall Motors, a relatively new entrant to the Australian vehicle market. Leaving aside the curiously high level of enthusiasm in this report from April 2011, we decided to look into the facts and figures behind these relatively new players. Were we witnessing a meteoric rise by a hugely intimidating new player or a little bit of overegging by everyone involved? We took a look at the recent facts information on car sales to find out.

The main players

Without a doubt the biggest Chinese player in the Australian market is Great Wall motors. After this comes Chery  with their relatively smaller cars. Geely also seem to feature however due to a recent recall Geely have not sold any vehicles in Australia in 2012. After looking at the figures it becomes abundantly clear that only Great Wall with their extensive advertising campaign, have had any real success. Even with this said the figures are relatively low and Great Wall even struggled to get into the top 20 selling manufacturers.

The figures

  June 2012 June 2011 All sales 2011 All sales 2012 Year % change
Great Wall 960 790 5,798 3,898 +48.7%
Chery 69 151 765 735 +4.1%
SUV Sales 31,617 21,568 153,255 114,915 +46.6%
All Chinese 1,029 941 6,563 4,633 +41.7%
Japan 40,397 27,791 205,319 160,736 +27.7%
Locally Made 13,765 14,762 69,676 63,089 +10.4%
Total Car Sales 112,566 96,157 547,854 496,236 +17.15%

Put very simply Great Wall has done well, however it is coming from a very low base. Most of their sales increases are still down to the increase in the trend towards SUV’s and the addition of new models. Comparatively speaking they are still a small player. Contrast these modest but good results with the other Chinese players in the game and you quickly see that things are not changing that fast. Chery have performed badly and seem to be struggling to make any real headway.


To cut a long story short; I would not describe the current situation as a “flood” of Chinese cars entering the Australian market. There is an ever increasing trickle however “racing out of the showrooms” is slightly overcooking it. The cars are selling at a reasonable rate, however they are not riding the rising wave of SUV sales as well as they could. Considering all the difficulty they have had in previous months (Asbestos recall and safety rating concerns), it would be a real surprise to see their sales jump substantially within the next year or two.

What do you think of the current batch of Chinese imports?

Have you had a good experience with Chery or Great Wall?

Please comment below.

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