How Chinese Cars are Starting to Dominate the Australian Market

With more than 122,000 units sold, China was the fourth-largest exporter of automobiles to Australia in 2022, after only Japan, Thailand, and South Korea. Five years prior, in 2017, Chinese-made automobiles didn’t even rank among the top 15 in terms of sales in Australia. In fact, Australians purchased fewer than 5,000 Chinese-made vehicles in 2017, which was less than the number of vehicles produced in Finland that year.

Australian buyers of new automobiles have embraced Chinese vehicles more than ever in recent years. These companies, which are all expanding quickly in the Australian market, include MG, GWM (Great Wall Motors), LDV, and BYD.

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MG is a fantastic example of how China’s auto sector has been successful in expanding into international markets, particularly Australia. MG is currently a state-owned subsidiary of SAIC Motor and is no longer a British company. But even if the cars it now produces have nothing in common with what MG previously used to produce (under British influence), many buyers still choose it because it is a well-known brand with a rich history.

Related: MG Outsells Hyundai & Mitsubishi for the First Time in Australia

But, as Haval/GWM, LDV, and BYD demonstrate, it doesn’t really matter if the brand is established or new, Chinese cars enjoy widespread popularity in Australia for a variety of reasons.

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Frankly speaking, affordability is one of the main reasons these Chinese brands are so successful in Australia. These newer companies can benefit from lower production costs and the shift to a more premium pricing approach by traditionally value-driven companies like Mazda, Hyundai, and Ford.

Related: 2023: New Cars Stripped of 5-Star Safety Ratings in Australia

For instance, the price contrast between Chinese brands and the other major brands in the lucrative small SUV market. The base price for the entry-level MG ZS SUV is $22,990 drive away, while the starting price for the Toyota Corolla Cross series is $33,000 plus applicable taxes. That’s clearly only one instance, but generally speaking, Chinese brand cars tend to be more affordable than their rivals.

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However one might argue that Chinese cars are still not as good as their Japanese, and South Korean rivals in terms of quality and vehicle dynamics. Despite being rich in equipment & safety configurations, the drive, the gear change, and the suspension of most Chinese cars still make one feel there is good room for improvement. Nonetheless, for significant price savings, many people are willing to overlook these shortcomings. To put it simply, you get what you pay for.

Related: The Unprecedented Rise of Chinese Cars in Australia

Chinese automakers may have a long way to go before they can compete with brands like Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, and others in terms of quality and driving dynamics, but given their current rate of development, this won’t likely take as long as we believe.

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The latest data on new-car sales for the first three months of 2023, reveals that MG is firmly entrenched among the top 10 brands in Australia and that GWM/Haval is fast gaining traction. There is no reason to believe that three or more Chinese brands might rank among the top sellers in Australia within the next 5 years if companies like LDV and BYD maintain their current rate of growth.

Source: Cars Guide

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