It’s said Mandarin Chinese is the most difficult language to learn, but there are several words with which we’re about to become very familiar.
How so, you ask? Well, these are the names of Chinese car companies that have either already arrived or will land on our shores shortly. Prime among these is Omoda, which sets up shop in the UK in 2024.
Unlike many of its homeland counterparts, Omoda is not purely an EV company. It will start sales in the UK with its petrol-fuelled C5 as a rival for the Nissan Qashqai and the battery-powered 5 EV. They look very similar from the side, but a quick glance at the front confirms which one is which.
The 5 EV has a bold look with the Omoda badge taking pride of place on the leading edge of the bonnet. There’s no prominent grille – instead, there’s a lower air intake to provide cooling to the battery. With the petrol-engined C5, there’s a much glitzier grille to feed air to the 190PS 1.6-litre turbocharged engine.
A seven-speed automatic gearbox is standard for the C5, while the 5 EV has the usual single-speed transmission found on most EVs. Either way, both Omoda SUVs take around 7.5 seconds to get from a standing start to 62mph. On a full charge, the 5 EV has a claimed range of 280 miles, while the C5 offers combined economy of 31.4mpg.
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Inside, the similarities between the 5 EV and C5 continue. They share the same instrument and infotainment screens, as well as passenger and luggage space that makes them strong rivals for the MG HS EV or BYD Atto 3. With keen pricing from £24,000 for the C5 and an expected price of £45,000 for the 5 EV, these new models take on many of the big names in the SUV sector.
Omoda, which is owned by Chinese giant Chery, also has several other models in the pipeline, just like its compatriots setting out their stalls in the UK. Chinese brands have been building EVs for a long time while their European rivals are playing catch-up, so Omoda and others are well placed to take a lead.
We already have MG and GWM Ora in the UK alongside recent arrival BYD, while we can expect to see Aiways and Lynk&Co offer more upmarket rivals to Tesla, Polestar and BMW’s i models in 2024. Other car manufacturers from China that are aiming for the premium end of the market are Zeekr, HiPhi, and Nio, with Nio already primed with an eight, yes eight, car line-up for release.
At the more affordable end of the spectrum, Xpeng will offer Omoda stiff competition when it arrives in 2024 following its recent launch in Scandinavia.
It certainly feels like change is on the horizon for the auto industry. Whichever of these emerging brands takes your fancy, you’re certainly not going to be short of choice or new Chinese brand names to learn.
Hero image credit: Omoda