Which Chinese car brands are in Australia 

Finding Chinese car brands in Australia is becoming increasingly common, no matter where you look. And you might not know that’s the case. 

In the past few years, China has become the world’s leading automobile market. In 2022, over 26 million units of new vehicles were made in China – double the amount made in the US. 

The surging car market has meant that Chinese car brands have slowly started to focus on international expansion – with Australia being one of their core markets. 

Slowly, several of China’s biggest automobile powerhouses have filtered onto Australian roads in recent years. It’s now reached the point where they are starting to become some of the most common vehicles seen in towns and cities. With that in mind, just which Chinese car brands are in Australia and how dominant are they? 

MG 

MG 3 VTi 2015

Once upon a time, MG was a proud British marque known for small, high-performance sports cars. However, that incarnation of the brand disappeared in 2006 when MG Rover went bankrupt. The assets were picked up in 2007 by Chinese motor giant SAIC Motor under their NAC branding.

This saw the brand relaunched as the MG Motor Co. shortly afterwards with the intent of restoring the marque name to its former glory. And to an extent, it has recovered tremendously. By targeting more everyday vehicles, MG has become one of the most popular everyday cars worldwide. Much of this can be down to the success of models such as the MG6 and the smaller MG3. Proof of this? Well, in 2023, the MG3 was the best-selling small car in Australia representing 46% of the entire sector. This included outselling established classics such as the Toyota Yaris. With such a stranglehold, MG’s reputation for being both affordable and accessible has turned it into one of the most popular badges anywhere in Australia. 

HAVAL 

2023 GWM  Haval H6 HEV wagon

The SUV market has boomed in recent years and this has allowed many brands to find new life. This included the birth of HAVAL in 2013- a spin-off from the Great Wall Corporation after massive sales of their HAVAL H6 model domestically. It didn’t take long for HAVAL to launch in Australia arriving in 2015 with the H2, H8 & H9 models. 

Since then, Haval has flourished in Australia becoming one of the most popular SUV models in all of Australia. Sales for the Haval Jolion have surged in 2022. In 2023, it was the third best-selling SUV in Australia with only the MG ZS and Mazda CX5 outselling it. All of this showcases why HAVAL has expanded their presence from 4 – 68 dealerships across Australia since launching a decade ago. It’s why they are one of the most recognisable Chinese car brands in Australia/ 

GWM

gwm-ute-hpb

As successful as the HAVAL brand has been in Australia, their parent company Great Wall hasn’t slouched in sales either. Most of this has come through the GWM Ute – one of the fastest-growing ute models nationwide. In 2023, the GWM Ute sold 9,600 new vehicles – a 28% increase in previous years. This was more than established rivals such as the Nissan Navara. Outside of this, GWM has continued to grow through their various brands and subsidiaries such as Ora and Tank launching in recent years. This has led to GWM experiencing an increase of 45% in all sales across Australia making them one of the best-performing brands anywhere in the country. 

Chery 

Chery Omoda 5 - 10 novembre 2023 - Luxembourg - Internationnal Motor Show

One of the biggest car manufacturers in China, adapting to the Australian market hasn’t been easy for Chery. Their initial launch in 2011 was hindered by poor sales and a recall due to traces of asbestos. This forced a full withdrawal in 2015. That was until they relaunched in Australia in 2023 with renewed vigour.

Unlike their first attempt, the relaunch has seemingly gone much more smoothly. Selling mostly their Omoda 5 hatchback SUV, it saw the Wuhan-based firm grab a much stronger foothold in Australia. After going on sale in March 2023, the Omoda 5 sold over 5,900 units in its first year. This made it more popular than both the Toyota Corolla Cross and Subaru Crosstek – established rivals in the Australian market. Hot off this success, Chery launched Omoda’s larger cousin – the Tiggo 7 in December 2023. With more models set to launch in 2024 and beyond, Chery looks like they will be staying on Australian soil for the foreseeable future, 

BYD 

BYD SEAL

When you think of EVs, you immediately think of Tesla. But that might not be the case if Chinese firm BYD has anything to do with it. BYD only targeted international expansion in 2020 but didn’t arrive in Australia until 2022. Since then, they have looked almost unstoppable experiencing huge increases in sales year on year. 

Their performance has been staggering, regularly doubling their sales as the company slowly expanded their presence and line of models. With no less than 4 models now available, BYD doubled their sales in 3 of the first 4 months of 2024. So much so that in January 2024, BYD were the best-selling EV manufacturer in Australia – ahead of Tesla and Toyota. With an estimation of 3000 vehicles sold a month, BYD could well experience yet more growth as more consumers switch to the EV platform. This makes them one of the best-performing Chinese car brands in both Australia and the Asia-Pacific market. 

LDV 

2022 Saic Motor LDV T60 ute MAX dual cab

Like MG, LDV were once one of Britain’s most well-known brands – particularly their line of utility vans. However, the global recession of the 2000s caused the brand to collapse under the weight of expectation. SAIC purchased these assets in 2010 where they were revived under their Maxus brand in 2011. 

Their reintroduction to the Australian market followed swiftly in 2014 with SAIC keen to strengthen their presence in the commercial market. The result was their Maxus line being rebadged and sold as LDV across the country. Capitalizing on LDV’s history, the relaunch has been nothing short of successful for SAIC. In 2023, LDV became one of the top 15 best-performing brands in Australia selling over 23,000 vehicles nationwide. This placed them third out of all the Chinese car brands in Australia – falling behind rivals GWM and sister SAIC brand MG. It has made them one of the go-to models for tradesmen looking for cheap & reliable vehicles to get them from job to job. 

The future of Chinese car brands in Australia 

Having seen how much success the likes of SAIC and GWM have had in recent years, it looks like it won’t be too long before future Chinese brands are seen in Australia. One such brand will be Chinese giant Geely which plans to launch several brands in Australia in 2024 and 2025. This will come through their line of models as well as from acquiring the likes of Volvo into their banner in recent times. This means that exclusive brands such as Polestar and Lynk & Co will also be visible on Australian shores shortly. 

But they will not be the only Chinese brands arriving. There looks set to be a host of Chinese EV brands looking to capitalize on the EV boom just like BYD has. This includes Zeekr – a brand that has had huge success in China with small EV vehicles. Alongside that, NIO also looks to debut in Australia with their line of high-performance EV models aiming to follow strong launches in Europe in recent years. No matter what though, Chinese manufacturers have broken the shackles of early hiccoughs to become some of the best-performing marques across Australia. It’s this reason why Chinese car brands in Australia are ones to keep an eye on in the near future. 

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