Until recently, Chinese automakers were widely considered to be cheap, low-quality marques that were too weak to compete with global giants. But in the past two years, several Chinese brands have snatched market share from foreign rivals.
Chinese brands accounted for 44.4 percent of light-vehicle sales in China in the first five months of the year, up 6 percentage points from 2014.
Leading the attack are GAC Motor Co., SAIC Motor Corp. and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Over the past year or so, the proprietary brands of all three companies have increased sales more than 60 percent.
What is even more impressive is that they have begun to compete on product, rather than price. While most of their domestic peers still sell vehicles for less than 70,000 yuan ($10,100), these three companies have launched sales of new sedans and crossovers with starting prices above 90,000 yuan.
That’s well within the price range of foreign mass-market brands, which typically price their entry-level vehicles from 80,000 to 100,000 yuan.