510 (Baojun)

Oct 18, 2021

In a previous blog, we examined how OEMs, especially those based in the US, are focused on products that suit the US market, while the preferences of consumers in other countries that have traditionally received similar models, such as Mexico, are side-lined. However, there is one country that is willing to supply vehicles to meet the needs of middle-income markets in Latin America, namely China.

Over recent months, we have seen further developments to confirm the trends that were already in motion. In August, GM announced the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Equinox, Spark and Beat in Mexico, while Chinese brand Changan will shortly arrive in the same market. Several South American countries, including Chile and Argentina, also feature a variety of Chinese-built models. Some 41 different China-sourced models have been sold in Argentina in 2021, while in Chile, the count is a staggering 91 separate models.

To be clear, there is no imminent prospect of Chinese OEMs coming to dominate markets in the Americas. With some notable exceptions, the models involved generate low volumes, and in some cases, the vehicles are manufactured in China, but are then rebadged under the auspices of Western brands. The new Dodge Journey, which is due to arrive in Mexican showrooms shortly, is known as the GAC GS5 in China, but is set to become Dodge’s bestselling vehicle in Mexico in the coming years. This is not a particularly novel idea; GM has pursued a similar strategy with the Chevrolet Captiva and the soon-to-be-released Groove, the rebadged versions of the Baojun 530 and 510, respectively.

Despite the fact that Cars are still a more popular choice than SUVs in most Latin American nations, many of the Chinese products being brought to the region are SUVs. Therefore, the distinguishing feature for these models is not necessarily the body type but the price. For example, MG – owned by the Chinese manufacturer SAIC – has seen great success in Chile with its ZS SUV, where it is set to be the bestselling Light Vehicle this year. The ZS starts at ₱10.89 million, excluding discounts (US$13,350), a price that undercuts those of many hatchbacks and sedans from Western OEMs (for instance, the Volkswagen Polo starts at ₱11.59 million before incentives). The Volkswagen T-Cross Small SUV, which resides in the same segment as the MG ZS, is around 32% more expensive than the Chinese model.

Of course, the picture is not uniform across Latin America. Countries with large automotive manufacturing industries, such as Brazil, will likely have a smaller Chinese influence for the time being, although even here, Chery is among the ten leading OEMs, thanks to its local production. Similarly, Great Wall recently announced its purchase of a former Daimler plant in Iracemápolis, Brazil, with production expected to start in 2023. Ford’s withdrawal from Brazilian production has provided further opportunities for other OEMs to fill the void, and although it is difficult to predict the specifics of which manufacturers will decide to launch in the region and when, we can be sure that Chinese OEMs will be alert to any openings.

(LMC Automotive blog on October 15, 2021)

Jul 20, 2021

On July 16, it was disclosed by the State Administration for Market Regulation of China that SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., Ltd. (SAIC-GM-Wuling) plans to recall 1,436,997 units, including some Baojun 310, Baojun 360, Baojun 510, Baojun 730, Baojun RS-3, Baojun RM-5, Baojun RC-5, Wuling Sunshine, Wuling Rongguang, and Wuling Hong Guang vehicles that were manufactured between December 4, 2018 and January 11, 2021, from August 2, 2021.
Some of recalled vehicles show insufficient wear resistance in their engine crankcase forced ventilation valve core. When the valve core is worn down, it will increase the oil consumption and may even damage the engine under extreme circumstances, leading to potential safety hazards. If these vehicles continue to run on roads, there may be unreasonable emissions risks in extreme cases.
The automaker will provide free replacement of the improved engine crankcase forced ventilation valves to eliminate safety hazards and the risk of unreasonable emissions.
From a press release of State Administration for Market Regulation

Jun 17, 2021

On June 14, Chevrolet announced that it will market the new 2022 Groove SUV in Mexico beginning in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The Chevrolet Groove is an entry-level SUV built in China and based on the Baojun 510.
"We are pleased to announce the arrival of Chevrolet Groove as part of our commitment to provide our customers with a wide range of options in the SUV segment," said Yammil Guaida, Chevrolet Marketing Manager.
The exterior design of the Groove is characterized by modern and sporty lines, featuring an angular grille, LED headlights, roof bars, shark antenna and 16” two-tone aluminum wheels.
The 2022 Chevrolet Groove for Mexico will be equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and EBD, StabiliTrak stability control syste, 4 airbags and more safety features.
The interior will include leather-touch seats, automatic air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, panoramic roof, and an infotainment system with an 8” screen and 6 speakers.
Details such as engine, equipment, versions and prices will be announced close to its launch date.

(GM Mexico press release on June 14, 2021)

 Parts Procurement Status