New wave of Chinese cars is coming, so buyers can grab a bargain

New wave of Chinese cars is coming, so buyers can grab a bargain

China’s biggest exporter of new cars is driving its launch in Australia with some of the country’s largest dealer groups – and increasing competition is sure to put pressure on prices.

Growth in Chinese car sales in Australia will shift into gear with the revival of Chery – China’s largest exporter of new automobiles – which is expanding its introduction into Australia with some of the country’s largest dealer groups.

The launch of another affordable Chinese new car brand is expected to give buyers more choice and a better chance of grabbing a bargain as competition heats up after two years of price hikes.

According to industry insiders, Chery is on track to appoint a network of 60 showrooms starting in March 2023, when the first vehicle deliveries are due to begin, starting with the Chery Omoda 5 SUV (pictured above and below).

On the other hand, there are around 80 dealers for other Chinese brands such as MG and Great Wall Motors Haval and around 90 dealers for the commercial vehicle specialist LDV.

In what’s seen as a major coup for Chery, the Chinese brand is in the process of appointing multi-franchise dealers already selling either MG, Great Wall Motors Haval or LDV – or all of the above.

One of the country’s largest dealer groups, Eagers is also believed to be a key player in launching Chery in Australia, expanding its portfolio as the sole distributor of BYD electric cars from China, four MG showrooms and five LDV outlets.

One of Australia’s largest Hyundai dealers, Perth-based John Hughes – who was instrumental in the South Korean brand’s early launch and success locally – has also expressed interest in acquiring Chery, which will complement its portfolio of Chinese brand colleagues MG and MG would LDV.

More than 100 of Australia’s largest showroom operators and dealer groups attended a packed preview held by Chery at a gala event in Sydney yesterday – seemingly lining up to take on the relatively unknown brand.

Five years ago, Chinese cars accounted for 1 percent of all new motor vehicles sold in Australia; last year they accounted for 11 percent.

Industry sources have said so drive Chinese brands have been growing faster than expected – after a faltering start 12 years ago, with most leaving Australia over concerns about poor safety ratings and asbestos fears.

However, after seeing the success of Chinese brands like MG, LDV, Great Wall Motors Haval and BYD, they now want to join.

The additional competition will certainly lead to downward price pressure, say industry insiders.

“We’ve seen price increases for two years during the pandemic, but the extra competition — no matter where it comes from — is always good for buyers on a budget,” said a leading multi-franchise car dealer who asked to do so anonymously stay.

“The Chinese brands fill the budget end of the new car market while the Japanese have been creeping up prices and it’s only going to continue.”

While Japan remains Australia’s largest source of new motor vehicles, the share has declined significantly since China’s ramp-up.

A decade ago, new cars from Japan accounted for 35 per cent of all motor vehicles sold in Australia; last year they made up 30 percent of the sales mix.

MORE:Find used Chery cars for sale
MORE:Find used Chery cars for sale

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for over 20 years, most of his time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motor editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in 2018 and has been a World Car of the Year judge for more than 10 years.

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