The rise in China’s auto industry in the last decade has seen an increasing number of Chinese car brands on Australian roads. Before you take a test drive, consider the pros and cons of making a Chinese car your next choice.
What are the main Chinese car brands?
The four main contenders appearing on Australian shores are MG, LDV, Great Wall Motors and Haval. MG and LDV belong to SAIC Motor, China’s formidable car giant that acquired and relaunched the former European brands MG (Morris Garages) and LDV (Leyland DAF Vans). The MG range includes the bright MG3 hatch, reminiscent of the Suzuki Swift, and the ZS and HS (replacing the GS) SUVs. MG also announced the release of the eZS, the makings of Australia’s first mainstream electric car, in late 2020. The LDV leads the charge for commercial and larger vehicles, including the T60 ute and G10 mid-size van.
Great Wall Motors launched its light commercial Steed ute in 2016 and is set to offer the 2020 Cannon premium ute to rival the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger. Not to miss out on the booming small SUV market, Great Wall’s sub-brand Haval features the compact H2 and H6, and the large H9.
What are the pros of buying a Chinese car?
There are some strong upsides to choosing a Chinese car.
- Affordability: Chinese car brands are often more affordable across the board. For example, based on RedBook data for the latest dual cab 4WD 4-cylinder 6-speed manual utes, a 2020 Great Wall Steele ute retails at $25,990, just under half of the 2020 Toyota HiLux at $44,865
- Long warranties: MG and Haval are the most generous here, offering a seven-year, unlimited kilometre new car warranty and 24/7 roadside assist. Warranties differ across brands and models, so check before you buy
- Interior fit and finish: each brand boasts a long list of tech and safety features, such as rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, climate control, a touchscreen and connectivity
- Ultra modern design: the price might be cheap, but the design isn’t. The MG ZS front end resembles the sleek lines of a Mazda CX-30, and Haval’s H2 compact SUV is the brainchild of Belgian car design icon Pierre Leclercq, who’s worked for brands like Ford and Kia
How about the cons?
As with any emerging brand, there are some possible cons to consider:
- Availability of local dealers: Chinese car brands are still relatively new to the Australian auto scene, so you might have to travel to locate a dealer for servicing. All four brands have dealers across the country; check online for the closest
- Resale: recognised brands tend to hold their value better than the latest car manufacturer on the block. Chinese car brands are still up and coming, but their recent influx suggests that they’ll continue to gain traction among Australian buyers
- That ‘big brand’ feel: Chinese car brands don’t yet have the status of popular brands like Toyota or BMW. Time will tell, but all signs point to their continued rise on the Australian market
Ready to compare features to find your next car? Browse the collection of new and second-hand vehicles on Gumtree Cars.