2010 Great Wall V240 Ute

It’s been more than a decade since the launch of the first Chinese-branded car in
Australia. That vehicle was of course the first Great Wall ute way back in 2009,
pitched at bang-for-your-buck tradies.

Since then, a number of Chinese brands have come and gone, but three
manufacturers stand out as the stickarounds.

They are the aforementioned Great Wall, as well as LDV which launched here in
2014 and MG which joined the fray quite late in proceedings in 2017.
Last year 1,049,831 new vehicles were sold in Australia.

With 204,000 sales, Toyota accounted by far and away for the largest chunk of
these, with 21.3 per cent market share. Mazda holds the next largest share, with 9.3
per cent of the market, with Hyundai in third place on 6.9 per cent, followed closely
by Ford on 6.8 and Kia on 6.5.

What about the Chinese. What sort of numbers are they doing, I hear you ask?

MG has a 3.7 per cent share of the market, GWM has a 1.8 per cent and LDV 1.4.
Together that adds up to 6.9 per cent — coincidentally the same figure as Mazda.

But it’s early days yet and the figures for all three continue to grow.

Part of the State-owned Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), MG has
enjoyed a meteoric rise after a slow start and now surprisingly offers the cheapest
and second biggest selling EV in this country — the ZS EV.

2018 MG ZS

It’s sold 105,000 vehicles at last count, 600 in its first year of operation and 38,000+
so far this year.

Some of the second-string Euros are still struggling to make their mark, with
numbers that are nowhere near as good, despite plugging away for years. MG’s
biggest selling model is the ZS SUV, followed by the cheapie MG3 hatch and larger

Great Wall Motors, now known simply as GWM, encompasses both the Haval and
Great Wall brands. The Great Wall badge goes on the utes, while the Haval name is
reserved for its SUVs.

Australia is now GWM’s largest export market, with more than 90,000 sales here
since launch.
It’s biggest selling model is currently the GWM 4×4 ute, followed by the Haval Jolion
and H6 SUVs.

The SAIC-owned LDV is imported by Ateco Automotive based in Sydney and offers
a range of utes, SUVs, vans and people movers.

2022 Haval H6 Hybrid

Interestingly, Ateco picked up the LDV franchise after GWM decided to assume
responsibility for importation and distribution of its own vehicles in 2016.

It was at this time that the Haval brand was introduced to the mix. In the two years
leading up to the changeover, sales ground almost to a halt with just 110 units sold
in 2016.

LDV has sold more than 55,000 vehicles here since launch. Its biggest seller is the
T60 4×4 ute, followed by the G10 and Deliver 9 commercial vans.

What of the rest?

Brands we don’t get any more include Chery, Geely and Foton.

Chery, also imported by Ateco Automotive, sold 4600 of its J1 and J3 hatches along
with the J11 SUV here between 2011 and 2018. Released in 2011 the J1 was just
$9990 on the road, but you get what you pay for and the J1 was not a terribly good

Geely never made it out of Western Australia, a failed experiment by Perth super
dealer John Hughes, which was cut short by new safety rules. At just $8999
driveaway, the MK sedan was at the time the cheapest car in Australia, but we have
no figures for how many were actually sold.

Hughes had visions of selling 5000 cars a year, with plans to add the larger EC7
sedan — but like the hatch safety was not up to scratch (and the cars themselves
were scratched).

Its lack of electronic stability control excluding it from being offered in other states
across the country. Collectable? Perhaps not.

Then there’s Foton which sold 2800 examples of the Tunland 4×2 and 4×4 ute here
over a four-year period, but hasn’t registered any sales of the ute since 2018.
It now seems to offer only light trucks.

Lastly, JMC sold a few of its aging Vigus 4×2 and 4×4 utes here between 2014 and
2018 — but again figures are unavailable.

Meanwhile, BYD is getting ready to enter the Australian market with its $44,000 Atto
3 EV — with deliveries due to start by April next year.

The privately owned Geely stable by the way includes Volvo, Polestar, Lotus and

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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