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Are Chinese car brands hitting the mainstream?

The LDV T60 ute might not be bothering segment leaders yet, but its sales have grown steadily this year.

Australia’s new-car market might be struggling in 2019, dropping 7.7 per cent of volume after seven months of trading compared to the same period last year, but Chinese automotive brands – including Great Wall, Haval, LDV and MG – are steadily growing their share.

Of the four brands, MG is leading the charge, lifting its sales by 253 per cent year-on-year for 4420 new registrations to the end of July.

Its most popular model? The MG3 light hatchback, which has found 2043 new homes so far this year.

The ZS small SUV is close behind with 2036 sales, while the GS and MG6 Plus have contributed 231 and 110 units to MG’s bottom line.

Meanwhile, LDV has grown 8.9 per cent to 3646 sales this year, led by the T60 ute with combined 4x4 and 4x2 sales of 2239 units.

However, the mechanically related D90 large SUV has accrued just 110 sales, while the G10 mid-size van and V80 large van have hit 1297 and 313 respectively.

Great Wall Motors’ Great Wall light-commercial and Haval SUV brands are both tracking closely this year, with the former on 788 sales (+101.5%) and the latter with 783 (+155.0%).

Great Wall sells just the single Steed model, available in 4x2 and 4x4 versions, while the Haval H2 is capitalising on the small SUV boom with 399 new registrations this year.

Haval’s H6 and H9 are also performing well, 222 and 161 sales apiece, but the H8 is all but gone from showrooms with just a single new registration in 2019.

Combined, Chinese cars have chipped in 9637 sales so far this year, a significant 81.9 per cent year-on-year jump.

However, Chinese vehicles are still a drop in the ocean in Australia’s overall new-car market, representing about 1.5 per cent of the 637,650-unit year-to-date figure, so it could be a while before they outnumber rivals from Japan and South Korea.