China produces the largest number of cars in the world, hands-down. In 2018 alone, China produced 23.5 million passenger cars, which is 6.5 million more than all of North America. Did you know that in some areas of China, it cost more to buy a license plate than it does the actual car? In an effort to tackle traffic, some cities have a certain number of allotted licenses to give away, which is done in a lottery format. Back in 2018, an average winning bid was $14,022.
It's even more expensive to get your hands on an imported car, which is still very popular, all things considered. Top foreign brands include Volkswagen, Honda, and Toyota. Although many foreign cars are popular in China, this list focuses on the top local car models.
10 Haval H6
Made by Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motors, the Haval H6 is a compact SUV class. It's offered in 3 models, with a very basic version to a super swank luxury version. The features and interior look on the surface like what you would expect of a luxury SUV in the US.
Compact SUVs are a growing trend in China, so it's no wonder the H6 is the most popular. It has the largest luggage capacity in its size class with 808 liters (28.5 cu ft). This best selling SUV in China since 2015 is priced starting at $28,000 (196,000 CNY).
9 Wuling Hongguang
The Wuling Hongguang is a compact multi-purpose vehicle made in collaboration with SAIC-GM-Wuling group. The Hongguang comes in multiple variants, with its most recent edition being the Plus model. The Plus comes standard with a 1.5L turbocharged engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission.
The Honguang epitomizes a car trend in China that never quite took off in North America, which is a utility-focused miniature van for families and business use. In the US, a business car is synonymous with a Mercedes C Class. As one of the most popular vehicles in China, it has sold over 4.5 million units since it was announced. Most impressively, it's a 7-seater and can fit almost any budget, as it starts at $7,200 (50,500 CNY).
8 Geely Emgrand EV
The Emgrand EV is an electric sedan by Geely, a manufacturer that sells passenger vehicles in China under the brands Geely Auto, Lotus, and Volvo, among others. The Emgrand is available in two models, one with a slightly larger battery capacity, and the biggest trade-off is that the larger battery model accelerates slower at 0-100 in 9.9 seconds vs 9.3 seconds; both offensively slow compared to the 4.7 seconds of a Tesla model 3.
In 2018, more electric cars were sold in China than anywhere else in the world, with the Emgrand EV being a top contender. The entry-level EV can trek 300 km on a single charge and can fully recharge in 48 minutes using quick charge. It's priced at $18,000 (120,000 CNY), which is way below the median price of an electric car in the US.
7 ARCFOX GT
For the super-rich, the GT by ARCFOX is a popular choice. It is said to be the Chinese answer to Tesla, however with a much higher sticker price of $600,000 and a design inspired by Formula E car by NextEV racing team.
According to the ARCFOX website, the GT is capable of 750 horsepower, a top speed of 255 km/h, and 0-100 acceleration in 2.59 seconds. The company now has three models, including the GT edition, a track edition and a new SUV called ECF. This year the company, which is a sub-brand of BAIC BJEV group, is looking to expand the line to international markets.
6 Roewe Ei5
The Roewe i5 is a compact electric station wagon made by SAIC Motor. With a starting price of $30,700, there are 4 versions to choose from, including anywhere from a comfort model to an extreme edition. Compared to the 250-mile range of the Tesla 3, the i5's range is 187 miles (300 kilometers). According to the company website, the top-end model is able to reach a cruising range of 917 miles (570 km).
For tech enthusiasts, it comes with a special perk called AliOS. This is a smart internet-connected system that allows you to use voice control to interact with the windows, navigation and air conditioning.
5 Baojun 510
The Baojun 510 was initially released in 2010 as a collaboration between General Motors, SAIC, and Wuling. The Baojun 510 is a 5-seater mini SUV that comes with the option ofmanual or automatic; with a shift nob and flappy paddles. With a retail price starting at $7,800, which is unheard of for new North American cars, the 510 also has surprisingly aggressive styling.
Baojun is still a relatively new car company. It didn't exist 10 years ago and now it's one of the top brands in China. The company has released a series of vehicles, including the Baojun E100, which closely resembles a smart car.
4 Changan CS75
The Changan CS75 is a compact crossover SUV by Changan Automobile. The Changan CS75 comes in 3 versions, and has a starting price of $15,500 (108,500 CNY). Besides all the perks you get at that pricepoint, another stand-out feature includes WeChat voice integration. As the most popular social media app in China with 1.1 billion users, it's designed to make it easier for drivers to keep up to date on new messages, send messages, navigate, and make WeChat calls.
Considered one of the big four Chinese automobile manufacturers, Changan also operates joints ventures with Ford, Mazda, and Suzuki. And for their future, the company has stated that they plan to end sales of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2025.
3 BYD Yuan EV
The BYD Yuan is a subcompact crossover SUV made by BYD. The naming convention of the Yuan and the other cars produced by BYD is related to Chinese Dynasties, and the company name itself is an acronym for build your dreams.
Of all the popular crossover SUVs in China, the BYD Yuan has some of the funkiest styling elements. It comes with a tire mounted on the trunk as you expect of Jeep, including its own stylish hard case. The side and rear windows look viscerally like one connected piece. The high-end model is capable of 0-50 km/h in 3.9 seconds and has a range of 360 km. A petrol model of the design starts at $8,600 (60,200 CNY) and the EV model pricing starts around $17,500 (119,000 CNY).
2 Zotye SR9
It's not what you're thinking. This is not the Porsche Macan. This is actually the SR9 made by Zotye Auto. The SR9 caused a flurry of controversy, including its striking similarities with the Macan's body styling and interior.
However, there are many significant differences between the models, with one of the biggest being the price. The Macan retail price starts at $135,000 (946,000 CNY), while the SR9 price starts at $16,000 (112,000 CNY). Also, the SR9 only has 190 horsepower and an inline 4 cylinder engine.
1 Qiantu K50
The Qiantu K50 is a high-end vehicle for the upper echelon in China. With looks worthy of the Lamborghini and McLaren crowds, the Qiantu K50 is made by Qiantu Motor, a Chinese startup company under the wing of CH-Auto Technology Company. Starting at $125,000, this gem is a rarity for more than one reason. Most notably, the K50 is designed in China and the 2020 model will be built in California.
Among all the specs you'd expect of a sports car, like 430 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, the company plans to release a version featuring exposed carbon fiber panels and a solar panel incorporated into the roof. As of earlier this year, the company opened up reservations for US customers.