Why are Chinese cars popular in Australia
First Japanese manufacturers emerged in the 1980s, then Korean manufacturers in the early 1980s, now the Australians are looking down from the barrel of another onslaught of new and reborn auto tents from seemingly unstoppable China.
The Chinese automotive industry has experienced an unprecedented boom in the past 10 years, bringing more and more cars to market at breakneck speed.
While most of these advances have benefited from favorable government policies that have encouraged Chinese car buyers to buy domestic rather than imported products, that hasn't stopped the country's largest auto companies from setting more ambitious export targets - like the infamous competitive and difficult battlefield here in australia.
You've probably heard that some notable awnings from the past, such as the MG, are now Chinese cars. Therefore, we will break open the big players of the car company and which vehicles in the Australian market in 2019 and 2020 are owned and produced by Chinese car companies.
Never heard of Geely? Understandably, the brand does not sell its own name or the Chinese branded market in Australia, but Geely is one of the richest and most powerful automotive conglomerates in China.
Geely currently owns brands of cars that are certainly still sold in Australia, including Volvo, Lotus, The London Taxi Company (now London EV Company) and Proton. Geely also owns a brand new tent that (ultimately) opened eyes wide to Australia called Lynk & Co, which uses chassis and technology from Volvo.
While the brand has no plans to expand its already huge catalog of nameplates, it has many new and electrified nameplates - such as Geometry - that could one day hit the Australian coast.
Like Indian conglomerate Tata (owned by Jaguar Land Rover), Geely has not interfered in the design and development of its western subsidiaries in the past, so its foreign ownership went unnoticed by buyers.
For this purpose, Volvos are mainly designed and developed in the Swedish home market and built on European production lines.
SAIC Motor (formerly Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) is one of the most aggressive Chinese companies in Australia that has been flexing its corporate muscles over the past decade to buy once unstable European brands such as MG (formerly Morris Garages) and LDV (formerly Leyland DAF Vans) acquire.
Both brands have reappeared on the Australian market and use the MG motor tent for cars and the LDV tent for commercial vehicles (the latter is sold by the Ateco Group). Despite the initial struggles, SAIC is now achieving relative success with an accessible and improved product offering in key segments with long warranties.
Unlike their rival Geely - SAIC only partially designs its cars in the Australian market outside of China and builds them on Chinese production lines.
Great Wall engines
Great Wall is also one of China's largest auto companies, but unlike SAIC or Geely, it hasn't bought Western brands for its products.
Instead, the Great Wall of Australia has made slow but steady progress with simple and affordable Chinese double-cab vehicles like the Steed and under the Haval branded SUV.
The brand has big plans to expand its export offering on the right, and many new products are on the horizon under both the Great Wall and Haval banners. The brand also markets luxury SUVs under the Chinese brand Wey and has the all-electric city car brand Ora, none of which will be launched in Australia anytime soon.
Are the Great Wall's cars good? They can be considered competitors in terms of refinement and specification, but anecdotally, commentators tell us that they are happy with their trucks.
The Great Wall vehicles are now designed and manufactured in factories in China, but that could change with the Chinese giant's purchase of General Motors' Thai factory that produced Holden Colorado.
BAIC (Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation) is known to the Australian people as the parent company of a slightly better known brand: Photon.
Foton, best known for its double-cab pickup Tunland, is a commercial vehicle manufacturer that also sells Aumark light and medium-duty trucks in Australia.
Even if Foton may not have the relative traction of its Chinese counterparts, Foton has managed to maintain a highly competitive market segment since 2012.
Dongfeng isn't the brand you've probably heard of, as its involvement in the global auto scene is largely one of the joint ventures that is allowing Japanese and European automakers to break into the Chinese market.
However, the cars produced by the Chinese giant can travel the Australian roads fairly quickly because the Australian company EV Automotive, which started the business, has reached an agreement to secure a small number of examples of right-hand drive electrical wiring from this brand.
Finally, the EV Automotive brand, the midsize electric SUV Dongfeng Glory E3, is expected to hit Australian roads later this year. It offers a competitive range of 405 km and is a price-driven "Mid-Sixty-Grand". There will be a van soon after E3 and EV Automotive will not be using the dealer model in hopes of selling direct to customers through a web portal.
Between 2011 and 2014, Chery could remember a short and not very memorable business card in the Australian new car market. At the time, the Chinese state-owned company's cars were selling poorly, partly due to outdated designs and poor safety performance.
Since then, the brand has revolutionized its offering in China to offer a much more modern line of SUVs and sedans, and while Chery has been spotted on occasion, it's meant to be used for testing purposes only, as the Chinese brand has so far focused on the left-hand drive markets .
Yutong is a small car buyer but is active in Australia, which is what you may have seen on the streets. The Chinese company claims to have a 15% share of the world market for the bus industry and competes in Australia with the established players: Toyota, Fuso (Mitsubishi), Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.
Yutong sees the electrified future of "new energy" and is already launching many options for all-electric buses in the international market to bring them to Australia on a larger scale.
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