People on social media swear that Chinese cars are bad. They fill them with strong adjectives to disqualify them, almost always based on the experience of the “my cousin’s friend” who had an unresolved problem, or the “influencer” who sounds more credible because he speaks poorly despite having no valid ones has arguments. However, the reality is that Mexico is already the second largest export destination for Chinese vehicles after Russia. And to give you an idea of the strength of the Eastern countries: in 2022 alone, the Chinese opened 487 representative offices in this country, despite the war against Ukraine. And Mexicans like Chinese cars more than those from any other country.
In the first seven months of this year, our country imported 55,208 vehicles from the United States. In 2022 there were 99,009 who came from the northern neighbor. 65,609 cars came from Brazil in July this year and last year there were 101,604 units. But from China we already have 131,383 units, which shows that last year’s record, which was 168,907 cars, is expected to be broken in 2023. MG reached 100,000 units sold in Mexico before celebrating its third anniversary next month. And there are still many more brands missing.
In China there are the so-called “Big Four” brands: SAIC, Dongfeng, Geely and Changan, in that order. So far, MG, part of SAIC, and Volvo are represented on behalf of Geely. In addition to Changan, which was sold through Motornation, a group of importers also marketed BAIC and JMC, with significantly less success than the first. It shouldn’t take long for Changan to arrive independently. The success has shown that it is possible for China’s oldest car manufacturer to reach Mexico directly. Motornation will have fulfilled its task well as a “brand incubator”, as they like to define themselves.
There are also Chinese products that come to market under the umbrella of brands established in Mexico, such as the Dodge Journey, which stopped producing in Mexico to come from China. It is originally a GAC GS5. Ford entrusted JMC with the development of the Territory exclusively for them. And it worked for them, the SUV ended July in sixth place in sales, ahead of giants like the Honda CR-V, for example. And Chevrolet is getting over 78% of its vehicles from China this year.
What is missing
In addition to Changan, which must start its standalone operation next January or February, without this being official yet, the arrival of GWM, Great Wall Motor, has already been announced. Founded in 1984, the brand, which takes its name from the Great Wall of China, a symbol of the eastern country, is the eighth largest Chinese manufacturer but number one in SUVs, largely thanks to Haval products, the very brand that was the first in Mexico gains a foothold. with the H6 hybrid. They announced the launch of ten cars by the end of 2024. Ora, their electric car brand, will likely be next. What GWM offers in terms of guarantee, seven years from bumper to bumper, with no mileage limit, in addition to opening a spare parts warehouse with 150,000 parts, shows that they have come with the desire to conquer the market and not just push out the companies in difficulty. Traditional brands, also to their Chinese compatriots.
That is not everything. This is followed by GAC, JMC, Brilliance, Exeed, Baojun and others. Additionally, brands such as giant electric car maker BYD and Bestune, to name a few, will be in the process of consolidation.
As I said, there is still a lot of mistrust about the quality of their products, not only in Mexico but practically all over the world. But in some cases it is enough to look at a Chinese product to realize that these doubts about quality are, let’s say, dubious. Looking inside a Fiat Fastback or a Changan C55 that costs the same or slightly less is eye-opening for many. The same thing happens with a Haval 6 or an MG HS. Of course, aside from perceived quality, it will take time to reverse the distrust. Maybe one or two brands will remain in the test. Some existing models may no longer be sold even in Mexico, and the Seat rumors are an example of this. But it is a fact that the Chinese have arrived, and to remain blind to it is to refuse to understand reality.