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Wednesday / 19 June 2024
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20% of South Africa’s new-car market will be Chinese by 2025

The South African automotive scene is changing at a rapid pace, as evidenced by the fact that more than a fifth of the new car market will be populated by Chinese brands by the end of 2024.

While a few of these carmakers have been around for more than a decade, the majority of them are relatively new, and South Africa is scheduled to receive at least another three Chinese badges before the year is out.

Changing with the times

There are currently 50 different vehicle brands operating in South Africa representing nations from all over the world, from India and Japan to the United States and Europe.

Chinese car companies are certainly not a new phenomenon, as divisions such as GWM and its subsidiary, Haval, have been in operation here since 2007.

However, there has been a substantial increase in the number of Chinese automakers opening their doors in our borders in recent years.

For example, 2023 alone saw the introduction of Omoda, BYD (Build Your Dreams), and SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation) – the latter of which operates through the local distributor Maxus Electric Vehicles.

This is in addition to other manufacturers that now have a well-established presence here such as BAIC, Chery, and JAC, as well as the aforementioned GWM and Haval, who operate independently in South Africa.

The result is that there are now eight different carmakers in South Africa that trace their roots back to the People’s Republic as of February 2024, and this is a list that is set to grow by another three entries this year.

One of these newcomers is Jaecoo, which will be the Chery automotive group’s second luxury sub-brand in the country following the launch of Omoda last year.

While Omoda is focused on high-tech crossovers like the C5 and all-electric E5, Jaecoo has its sights set on the premium SUV segment and has two cars confirmed for our shores so far – the J7 and J8.

Another automaker that has announced its intention to break into the local market is GAC Motors – a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group.

The company has signed a strategic partnership with Salvador Caetano to deliver vehicles to South Africa, but has not yet published any details regarding which cars it will bring.

GAC currently has 12 different products in its global portfolio focusing on the SUV, sedan, and MPV segments.

Finally, the Foton Motor Group will be joining the light commercial sector with a double cab called the Tunland G7, which will launch as a diesel but will later be made available as a battery-electric as well.

The bakkie will be distributed locally by Mandarin Parts Distributors (MPD), a subsidiary of Combined Motor Holdings (CMH), and while its pricing has yet to be announced, a spokesperson told TopAuto it would be on the more affordable end of the spectrum.

For those keeping count, this means there will be at least 11 different Chinese car producers in South Africa by the end of the year, as you can see in the list below:

  • BAIC
  • BYD
  • Chery
  • Foton
  • GAC
  • GWM
  • Haval
  • JAC
  • Jaecoo
  • Maxus (SAIC)
  • Omoda

Therefore, at the end of 2024 there should be 53 badges to choose from in the new-car market, with Chinese nameplates accounting for 20.7% of them. More than half of these brands will have arrived within the last two years.

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