The Automotive Industry in Asia - the manufacturersSAIC-GM-Wuling

The overwhelming success story of this joint venture between Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, Liuzhou Wuling Motors Co and GM China is the Wuling Hongguang compact MPV. It’s the best-selling car in China, with 650,018 units sold in 2016. In India it’s marketed as the Chevrolet Enjoy. The joint venture’s latest car is the Baojun 510, a small SUV that will compete in one of China’s fastest-growing segments. At its debut at Auto Guangzhou 2016 in November, the Baojun 510 received critical acclaim for its dynamic, youthful and modern exterior and its aggressive pricing. More than 18,000 units were sold in March 2017.



One of the fastest growing volume automakers over the past 15 years, and currently the world’s fifth-largest automaker by sales, short-term performance at Hyundai and Kia could be affected by vehicle recalls and a slowdown in key markets. Its 2016 sales of 7.9 million vehicles fell short of its 8.13 million target and was their first fall in annual sales volumes in almost two decades. Hyundai has big plans for the Indian market, with eight new launches in the next three years, including a compact SUV and a family hatchback. The group will also ramp up R&D spending on self-driving technologies and electric vehicles. It recently showcased a gasoline hybrid model based on the new Grandeur large-size sedan.



Korean based automaker Ssangyong offers a wide range of SUVs, vans and luxury vehicles. It recently released its flagship G4 Rexton which adds the premium model label to its SUV-focused line-up. It’s one of the first cars sold under the company’s new Mahindra & Mahindra ownership. The brand also offers the Giugiaro designed Korando, the Rodius Turismo minivan, and the Chairman W, which incorporates some Mercedes-Benz licensed technology. Mahindra and SsangYong aim to jointly develop a high-end electric vehicle by 2019 to gain a share in the U.S. and Chinese EV markets.


Maruti Suzuki

Maruti Suzuki is the largest automaker in India, turning out 1.5 million family cars every year. It offers 15 brands and over 150 variants ranging from Alto 800 to the Life Utility Vehicle Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. The company plans to launch 11 new models in the next two years, including Jimny, Wagon R Diesel, DZire and Vitaro, and the new-generation Maruti Suzuki Swift.



Honda’s Civic, Accord and CR-V have all performed consistently well for years, with the Odyssey one of its top-selling minivans. The Civic continues to be regularly updated. Regular hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Accord launch this year, alongside an all-new Pilot and Ridgeline. Honda also recently presented its new Honda Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid models, which join the Clarity Fuel Cell already introduced.



The brand’s SkyActiv technology – developed to increase fuel efficiency and engine output – lies at the heart of the success of cars like the Mazda 3, Mazda 6 and CX-5 crossover. The latter is an important vehicle for the car company, due to the increasing popularity of crossovers. It’s started well: it’s the second-quickest Mazda to sell more than one million units – after the MX-5. Mazda says that the CX-5 is currently accounting for a quarter of its total sales, and sold more than 370,000 of them in 2016 alone. The MX-5 and CX-9 range are soon to be expanded with diesel engines.



The Mitsubishi brand is best known for its strong line-up of cars like the Lancer compact sedan, Galant mid-size sedan, Outlander Sport and Endeavor crossovers. Rally-lovers appreciate the Lancer Evolution, while for eco-enthusiasts, the five-door hatchback electric car i-MiEV might be more to their taste. This year sees the release of an all-new Outlander.



The Nissan Leaf is the top-selling electric vehicle in the world, with sales of over 250,000 units since its introduction in 2010. The Renault-Nissan Alliance increased sales by 13.3% from 2015 to 2016, selling 9.96 million units in 2016. Nissan therefore has a strong chance of making it into the top three automakers in the world for 2017 (currently held by VW, Toyota and General Motors). When the all-new second-generation model of the Nissan LEAF is launched soon, it will feature ProPILOT autonomous driving technology. ProPILOT controls the steering, acceleration and braking in a single lane on highways, providing consumers with a more confident drive, enhanced control and greater freedom. It is already in action on the road with Nissan Serena customers in Japan.



The company’s best-selling products like the Outback, Legacy, Impreza and XV Crosstrek are joined this year by the Forester, expected to be a major player in the compact crossover segment all-wheel drive, and the Ascent, a three-row midsize SUV. While the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is no longer in production for 2017, an improved replacement hybrid vehicle is under development.



Despite recent recalls and supply disruptions, Asia’s largest automaker looks set to remain one of the world’s top automakers for years to come. New vehicles in the pipeline include the updated Camry, Yaris and Corolla, while the C-HR compact sports utility vehicle was recently launched in Japan. Its Prius leads a range of hybrid vehicles that includes the Camry Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid. In anticipation of a 1% rise in global vehicle sales in 2017, the Japanese automaker estimates sales to increase to around 10.2 million vehicles in 2017. This marks a slight increase on its 2016 sales of 10.175 million vehicles worldwide. At the same time, Toyota is aiming to boost production at the group by 1% to 10.366 million vehicles in 2017.


In the next issue of JEC Asia Business Review, we analyse the performance of the automotive industry in some individual countries within Asia-Pacific.


Do not miss an important Regional Automotive Event in Bangkok

Organized jointly by the JEC Group, TCA and the Thailand Automotive Institute, the 2nd International Composites Conference ‘’Composites in Automotive’’ Trends - Innovation - Market Opportunities. will be held in Bangkok on July 4-5, 2017


Written by Denzil Walton

Denzil Walton is a technical copywriter, editor and conference reporter. He has over 30 years’ experience writing on a variety of industrial and high-tech topics.


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