Since my wife and I had moved to Kunming and expect to spend few years here, we are taking Chinese Driving Licenses and expect to buy a car in the coming weeks. As a foreigner I know pretty well most of the car brands from Europe, US and Japan, but how about these Chinese car brands?
We wish to buy a new one, not second hand, so that we are considering a potential Chinese car brand, for they are cheaper than WM, Renault, Honda, etc. as you all may know.
Does someone know about the quality of this Chinese brands (Cherry, QQ, Lifang, JAC, etc.)? Are them too bad?
We would welcome advices and sharing of experiences from expats about it.
Thanks a lot!
Most are crap, they are underpowed and poorly made.
However there is a brand called DiHao (帝豪). They are very popular in Yemen, Saudi and Oman. There must be something behind it, the Arabs wouldn't buy shite.
Back home Great Wall (长城) are gaining a reasonable reputation for a sturdy pick up.
Although it should be said that cars in the export market will probably have different requirements on them than ones in the domestic market. For a start, you may struggle to find a manual gear stick when buying a Chinese brand car in China.
For me there would be 3 main considerations.
1/ Brand. There are brands that have long standing JVs with overseas manufacturers . E.G Oting is Zhengzhou Nissan. FAW has had long relationship with VW and now with GM. There are also companies like VW China, Shanghai Auto, Shanghai GM. Even Skoda has good price here as lower brand value than the VW parent.
2/ Year of model. A 2016 model could be much more advanced and have more safety features than a 2012 model. Such have been the advances in the industry. I am not talking about age but marque.
3/ Price. There are no real bargains in a price focused market. You get what you pay for. If two cars are in all other respects similar. If one is significantly more expensive it will be significantly better.
There are many Chinese car review websites, you can search by type and price.
I would also advise that you buy from a main dealer. There are many small dealers here and routine servicing and repair, and after sales service can be a problem.
One more thought about JV brands. Look for engine and drive trains made by the OS partner. Even if they are made in China the OS brand engines will be better.
Forget QQ & Chery. Very cheap, low quality.
A few friends have bought Haval (Great Wall?) SUV's and are happy with them.
From personal experience I can only comment on Lifan. I bought their 320 Mini style car over 4 years ago. 45,000RMB new at the time. Done over 80,000km in it now and never had it breakdown on me. If you want a cheap runaround that will take 4 people and be cheap on fuel and maintenance then I'd recommend it. 1.3L engine so enough power to get speeding tickets and small enough to park almost anywhere. Though it's not a car to buy if you want to gain face!
I know you are seeking advice on what Chinese brand car to purchase. However, I find the transportation system here in Yunnan is very good and very reliable. I travel often and I have only used a car on 3 occassions over the last 12 years.
I do have a drivers license but I feel that the many problems associated with owning a car do NOT outweigh the few drawbacks of public transportation.
Here is an example - it is cheaper to take a bus to Dali than it is to drive your own car (Less than 2 people = bus is cheaper - 3 or more = car is cheaper).
1 - Gas, tolls + maintenance
2 - Parking
3 - Traffic congestion
4 - Accidents - can happen any times regardless of how good a driver one may be.
5 - Tickets from cameras.
6 - Takes time to know the roads because of the many Left turn restrictions which cause you to have to make U turns on other streets (very hectic).
I am sure other people can come up with a few more of the disadvantages.
Another example - sometimes a bus can arrive at a destination faster than a car because of the bus lanes (Depends on time of day).
Where I live I can get a bus, to a place to get another bus into town, until 7.30 pm. Otherwise it is a 3km walk to get a bus. Taxis are rare except during tourist season. If you can find one they don't want to use the meter. I now await the diatribe on how to report naughty taxi drivers.
Even getting to the bus station for long distance buses is difficult.
I have commuted to work by a car, where using PT would have been unthinkable.
I cycle and take the bus, but at times we really do benefit from having a car.
Where I live I can find many buses to any part of the city (5 districts). The bus terminal with more than 30 bus connections is just a 5 minute bus ride from my home. Most buses begin at 6am and run until after 10 pm and even 11 pm. The bus stops 20 meters from the entrance to my residential quarter so the buses are very convenient.
As for taxis, I have Never had a problem with a taxi not using a meter in Kunming (12 years) with the exception of Chenggong and Anning which I do not visit often.
There are direct buses to all 5 long distance bus stations which is very convenient. Not to mention that line 3 of the subway (4 lines = Lines 1, 2, 3 and 6) will be opening by December 2016.
So consider where you will live before deciding to buy a car or use public transportation (PT).
For people who live in villages or in the outskirts of town, PT may be a problem. However, this is a matter of choice and common sense can prevent many foreseeable problems.
Not sure of the brands you mentioned but the Haval SUV seems to be of good quality for the price it is. My wife's cousin got a new one couple of months back and for the price of about 110,000 rmb I don't think you can go wrong.
Me and wife went European brand still lol