China new models August 2021: Voyah Free and Hyundai Custo arrive

The Voyah Free has landed in the Chinese wholesales charts.

It is now time explore the all-new locally-produced launches for the month in our China “new models” series. Note this series is based on wholesale data. The Chinese market is not only the largest in the world but it is also the most dynamic, with a flurry of new launches every month. This series enables you to keep up-to-date with this fast evolving market. In August there are no less than ten newcomers, including six EVs which demonstrates where Chinese sales trends are headed. To thoroughly understand the dynamics at play in China, make sure you also consult our Exclusive Guide to all 178 active Chinese Brands.

1. Pocco Duo Duo (2.100 sales)

After the Mei Mei in June, Pocco, in Mandarin 朋克 (Pengke) meaning “punk”, launches its second model this month: the Duo Duo. It is a four-door mini EV with a retro look and a modern interior. Pocco is a new brand on the Chinese market and it has already unveiled three models, the Lala the only one yet to enter the wholesales charts. The Wuling Hongguang MINI EV has revolutionised the EV market in China, and logically a host of competitors are eager to steal some of its thunder. Like the Mei Mei before it, the Duo Duo falls into this category. Priced from a minuscule 26.800 to 39.800 yuan (US$4.150-6.200 or 3.500-5.250€), the Duo Duo undercuts the Hongguang MINI EV (28.800-43.600 yuan) and also competes with the Changan Benben E-Star (29.800-74.800 yuan) and Letin Mango (29.800-59.800 yuan). The Duo Duo starts solidly with over 2.000 wholesales for its first month, we’d want it to reach 3.500 units regularly to call it a success.

Bar for success: 3.500 monthly sales

2. BYD Dolphin (1.755 sales)

The BYD Dolphin is a 4m long compact EV hatchback unveiled on the game show ChinaJoy 2021, the largest in China. It inaugurates BYD’s new e-platform 3.0 which will spawn further models in the near future. The Dolphin also inaugurates a new design language for the brand by Wolfgang Egger: “Marine Aesthetics”, it is the first BYD to display the brand’s new logo and it stands outside BYD’s traditional nomenclatures (either letter-number or a Chinese dynasty). Priced from 93.800 to 121.800 yuan (US$14.500-18.900 or 12.400-16.100€), the Dolphin is one of BYD’s cheapest EVs. It will compete with the likes of the Ora Good Cat (103.900-143.900 yuan) and Lite (110.800-126.800 yuan). To gain traction in the market, we’d want it to sell 5.000 units regularly.

Bar for success: 5.000 monthly sales

3. Weltmeister E.5 (1.559 sales)

EV maker Weltmeister has been steadily gaining ground in its domestic market, breaking its all-time monthly volume record for the 5th consecutive month in August to 4.346 units. Formerly only relying on SUVs for its progression (EX5, EX6, W6), Weltmeister now has a sedan in its lineup: the E.5. Claiming 0-100 km/h in 8.9 sec and a 505 km range, the E.5 is 4.718m long and is equipped with a 163 hp electric motor. It is priced from 150.100 to 160.100 yuan (US$23.200-24.800 or 19.800-21.100€) and will compete with the likes of the Geely Borui New Energy (149.800-163.800 yuan), BYD Qin Plus (105.800-174.800 yuan), GAC Aion S (139.600-205.800 yuan) and Geometry A (118.700-188.700 yuan). As the success of the Qin Plus and Aion S but also the dearer BYD Han show, there is a large market for EV sedans in China. For the moment Weltmeister only offers the E.5 online with orders open for corporate fleets, taxi and car-sharing services. Given the EX5 has an all-time high of 3.373 units, we’d want the E.5 to climb to 2.000 monthly sales regularly to call it a success.

Bar for success: 2.000 monthly sales

4. ToyotaCrown Kluger (768 sales)

Toyota is once again using twins to satisfy its two joint-ventures in China. On the same model as the Toyota Corolla / Levin, C-HR / IZOA and RAV4 / Wildlander, the Crown Kluger – featuring a Crown logo on its grille and unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show last April – is a slightly more upmarket twin to the Toyota Highlander. If the Highlander is manufactured by the GAC-Toyota joint-venture, the Crown Kluger is made by FAW-Toyota. The Crown Kluger is priced from 275.800 to 350.800 yuan (US$42.700-54.300 or 36.400-46.300€) vs. 258.800-348.800 yuan for the Highlander. It competes with the likes of the Nissan Murano (238.800-375.800 yuan), Buick Enclave Plus (229.900-309.900 yuan) and Honda Avancier (220.000-332.800 yuan). The Highlander has an all-time high of 12.018 sales in January 2017 so we’d like the Crown Kluger to reach at least 7.500 units per month to call it a success.

Bar for success: 7.500 monthly sales

5. Hyundai Custo (738 sales)

Named after French explorer Jacques Cousteau, the Hyundai Custo is a seven-seat MPV with a similar front fascia as the new gen Hyundai Tucson. It is powered by a 167 hp 1.5L engine or 233 hp 2.0L engine, both paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The Custo is likely to remain a China exclusive just as the Korean brand has the larger Staria as its offer in the MPV segment in other markets. It is very attractively priced from 175.800 to 218.800 yuan (US$27.200-33.900 or 23.200-28.900€) which means it will compete with domestic offers such as the GAC Trumpchi M8 (179.800-369.800 yuan) and Roewe iMAX8 (188.800-253.800 yuan). For Hyundai to be able to say it does have a significant presence in the Chinese MPV market we’d want it to reach 4.000 monthly sales.

Bar for success: 4.000 monthly sales

6. Skyworth EV6 (461 sales)

Originally Skywell, Skyworth is an EV start up based in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province. Its first model is a compact 4.70m long SUV which was first called the Skywell ET5 and unveiled in October 2020. For its launch in July 2021, it was renamed Skyworth EV6. Note Skyworth Group, one of Skyworth’s shareholders, is a home appliances giant and supplies the Skylink infotainment system of the EV6. There are three levels of range for the EV6: 410 km, 520 km and 600 km, and the 0 to 100 km/h is achieved in 7.9 sec. Priced from 152.800 to 249.800 yuan (US$23.700-38.700 or 20.150-32.900€), the SV6 qualifies as a semi-premium SUV and will battle the likes of the Aiways U5 (166.900-249.900 yuan), Weltmeister W6 (169.800-259.800 yuan) and Chery Big Ant (149.800-189.800 yuan). For Skyworth to establish itself as a serious EV contender, we’d want the EV6 to reach 2.000 monthly sales.

Bar for success: 2.000 monthly sales

7. Voyah Free (405 sales)

A luxury subsidiary of Dongfeng, Voyah is the first high-end dedicated smart EV brand launched by one of China’s three centrally-administered automakers (the other two being FAW Group and Chang’an). The brand was introduced  in July 2020 as a new “truly anxiety-free high-end smart EV brand.” Its first model was unveiled in December 2020 and is a 7-seat SUV named Free, designed by Italdesign. It is available as pure electric or PHEV powered by a 1.5L turbo engine. The pure electric goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.8 sec while the PHEV does it in 4.6 sec. The Free is priced between 313.600 and 363.600 yuan (US$48.550-56.300 or 41.400-47.950€). It competes with the likes of the Tesla Model Y (291.800-387.900 yuan), Ford Mustang Mach-E (265.000-379.900 yuan) and LI One (338.000 yuan). As for sales prospects, the LI One has shown the sky is the limit for domestic premium SUVs by reaching 9.433 sales in August. We’d want the Free to sell at least 2.500 monthly units for Dongfeng to push forward with growing the Voyah lineup with confidence.

Bar for success: 2.500 monthly sales

8. Kia Carnival (289 sales)

This is the new generation Carnival sold around the world, unveiled in June 2020 and launched in South Korea in September 2020, Europe in May 2021 and North America in July 2021. China is next, with a vehicle produced locally adding to the two existing production bases (Russia and South Korea). The Chinese variant gets the smallest engine of all Carnivals, a 233 hp 2.0 turbo. A cousin of the Hyundai Custo, the Carnival however sits in a completely different price range: between 288.900 and 339.900 yuan (US$44.700-52.600 or 38.100-44.800€). This means it competes with a different set of vehicles, such as the Honda Odyssey (229.800-376.800 yuan), Buick GL8 (232.900-533.900 yuan), Toyota Highlander (258.800-348.800 yuan), VW Viloran (286.800-399.800 yuan) and Mercedes Vito (293.800-347.800 yuan). Kia should expect at least 3.000 monthly sales for the Carnival to be deemed successful.

Bar for success: 3.000 monthly sales

9. Dayun Yuehu (230 sales)

Dayun Group is a conglomerate based in Yuncheng, Shanxi, China. Through its subsidiaries, it mainly manufactures heavy trucks, light trucks, motorcycles and engines, and is also involved in real estate and travel. Chengdu Dayun was established to sell EV vehicles and officially unveiled this Yuehu in January 2020, but it is only appearing now in the wholesales charts. The range is 301 km on a battery capacity of 39 kWh. It is priced at 87.800 yuan (US$13.600 or 11.600€) and will compete with the likes of the Neta V (59.900-120.800 yuan), Maple 30X (68.800-95.800 yuan), Neta 01 (66.800-139.800 yuan) and Venucia e30 (72.400-85.400 yuan). For another EV brand to gain significance in a saturated market we’d want the Yuehu to reach at least 2.000 monthly sales.

Bar for success: 2.000 monthly sales

10. Dayun Yuanzhi M1 (203 sales)

A second offering by Dayun appearing in the wholesales charts this month is the Yuanzhi M1 electric MPV. It was launched in May 2020. Priced between 139.800 and 258.800 yuan (US$21.600-40.100 or 18.400-34.100€) it will compete with the likes of the Weltmeister W6 (169.800-259.800 yuan), Maxus Euniq 5 (165.800-230.300 yuan) and GAC Aion V (177.600-239.600 yuan). Given its price, we give it a slightly lower bar for success as the Yuehu. 

Bar for success: 1.500 monthly sales

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