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News Flash........

OK everyone - the QQ6 officially goes on sale Sept. 19th (next Tuesday)!!! I don't know what cities will have it first, but I am hoping that Nanning (where I live) will have it soon!! It appears the the 1.3 will go on sale first, with the 1.1 to follow. Retail prices are still being quoted in the 42,000-52,000 rmb price range...........

I know there have been a LOT of different opinions here regarding the exterior appearance of the QQ6 - I'm not "sold" on the outside either (although I DO like the interior a lot). However, the fact remains that the QQ6 is a MAJOR new offering in the mini-car market segment. This is going to be a VERY competitive area in the near future............with new models from Changan (CV6), Chery (QQ6 and the upcoming S12), Xiali (C1) as well as the the updated Changhe Ideal. Gelly has also consolidated it's offerings (according to it's website) and eliminated all but ONE HQ model and is now focusing on the MR as it's main offering in the mini car segment. Price cuts on present models as well as more attractive financing options (you can now finance a new Chevy Spark with a down payment of only 23,000 rmb - and that includes tax, license and insurance) also make the mini-car segement very competitive right now............it's going to be fun to see all these new models in the near future!!!
 

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QQ613 - A "mini"-review....

OK, a few days ago I FINALLY got the chance to go to our main Chery dealer here in Nanning, and they now have the QQ613 on the floor and in stock!! I took the chance to "kick the tires" and take it for a short test drive...........

First, let's talk appearance. Whereas the "classic" QQ (QQ3) is a "cute" design (no comments regarding it's Matiz lineage - we all know that already), the QQ6 is more "upscale". Consider the QQ3 the "kids" QQ and the QQ6 the "adults" QQ. The QQ6 is larger and MUCH taller (almost uncomfortably tall), but I believe it's "jelly bean" shape will keep it stable at highway speeds. A "ugly" but cute shape.........the more I looked at the more I liked it. Right now only the 613 (1.3 liter engine) is available - the 611 should be avaiable around March according to the dealer. As you can see in the pictures, the 4 door design is actually a 5 door, and the room in the back hatch area is MUCH larger than in the QQ3. In fact, you can lower down the split rear seats without having to remove the head rests - something you have to do in the QQ3. There is an AMAZING amount of room with the back seats folded down (one advantage of it being tall), probably 30-40% more than in the QQ3.

Sitting in the driver's seat, my first impression is that this is a much more "grown up" car than the QQ3. The styling is more subdued and functional - even the instrument cluster, stereo and window buttons have a cool blue color when lit compared to the green of the QQ3. Again, there is much more ROOM in this car - there are cup holders in between the front seats by the hand brake and the back seats give you much more head AND leg room. The instrument cluster is in the center of the car (a design idea getting more and more popular) but it is easy to glance at it without losing your focus on the road. The CD stereo has a standard USB input for MP3 players, and the top of the line model offers the CD stereo, ABS and dual airbags for 51,800 rmb.

Starting the engine up, I noticed how "eager" the engine is to rev up - this 1.3 engine is almost as good as the Toyota engine in the Xiali C1 as far as power and responsiveness is concerned. Plenty of power from a standing start, and the shifter is solid through the gears - although the shift throws are a bit long and the linkage is a bit too noisy for me. I have no doubt that this car can hold 150-160kph on the highways with NO problems at all - and it's got enough room to be a comfortable highway cruiser. One big dissapointment for me though - the power steering. It's VERY light but somewhat lacking in feeling especially at low speeds.........and the feel didn't change much as I got up to city crusing speeds (50-60kph) so I don't think it's a variable assist steering system. Granted, I wasn't lacking in confidence while driving it (very easy to handle with no stability problems), but I WOULD like to "feel the road" a bit more. The CD stereo has a pretty decent sound for a "stock" unit and the air conditioner/heater is plenty powerful. The disc/drum brakes are solid and the pedal has decent sensitivity to it. Nothing earth shattering with any of this..........but a decently well built small car. Fit and finish overall was quite good with no obvious problems - it appears that the car is put together pretty well.

In conclusion - with the exception of the power steering (just my opinion), the QQ6 should be a BIG success with young families looking for something afforable, fuel efficient but roomier than the QQ3. The starting price for the QQ611 is 39,800 and the 613 is 45,800 - not a bad deal at all. Both the 611 and 613 offer airbags and ABS as options so there are plenty of choices for the buyer........not to mention 7 different colors available!! This is a car I would be happy driving..........I'm looking forward to driving the 611 to compare the 2 engines. I can say this - after all these months of waiting, I was NOT dissapointed seeing the QQ6 for real........quite the contrary!! Chery should be very successful with this car, and the price should attract a lot of buyers - we'll see what happens.
 

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Yes..........

Yes, the starting price DOES include basic options like a/c, power steering and power windows (possibly only the front windows). The basic model only includes a cassette player (no CD) and obviously no ABS or airbags. Also, the QQ3 WILL continue in the lineup...........it's starting price (the QQ308) for the basic model will be 29,800rmb. Chery is positioning itself with a complete range of subcompact and compact cars with engine sizes ranging from 0.8 to 1.3 liters and prices from 29,800 to 51,800rmb. Also, the new A1 is still to come, and it's engine size will start at 1.3 liters as well - LOTS of choices with Chery now!!
 

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Not as of now....

As far as I know, there is no automatic transmission (Chery calls it "EZ drive") available as a option for the QQ6. You are right.....Chery DOES have a EZdrive version of the QQ3 - but it is only available with the 0.8 engine. Chery has yet (to my knowledge) to mate the EZdrive with a 1.1 or 1.3 engine - but if they do it would be a smart option for the QQ6. Hey Chery are you reading this?? :thumb:
 

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It's a light car...........

As far as the brakes for the QQ6, discs WOULD be better all around.....but it's also an extra cost factor. In addition, the QQ6 is a pretty light car - the drums in the rear seem to be sufficient for everyday driving.

Now, comparing the fit and finish of the QQ6 against the other cars you mentioned? Let's see.......the HQ. First of all, Geely has all but eliminated the HQ from it's model lineup. The only one that's left is a basic model for about 32,000rmb. Probably a fairer comparison would be to the new MR - and the QQ6 is superior. The MR isn't bad..........it's just not as "refined" as the QQ6. The engine is louder, the transmission isn't quite as tight, the seats aren't quite as comfortable, etc....but it's about 8,000-10,000rmb less than the QQ6. Comparing the QQ6 to the Hafei Lubao (Lobo)..........from a fit and finish standpoint, fairly close. However, the Hafei is just now beginning to offer a 1.3 liter engine, so I don't know how that engine stacks up to the QQ6 engine. I HAVE driven the 1.1 Lubao.........it's a 16 valve, DOHC engine so it's got some spirit to it. The big difference to me.........interior room. The Lubao is a pretty small car and although it's bigger than a QQ3, it's no match for the space available in the QQ6. Cost for the new 1.3 Lubao is projected to be in the same range as the QQ6 (45-51,000rmb) - but the Lubao is going to have to offer the same level of options to be competitive, I think. Finally, comparing the QQ6 to the BYD Flyer?????????? Uh...................not even close. The Flyer is a dated design, short on power, comfort and refinement - BUT BYD has shown the capability to design and market a decent car with the F3, so hopefully the next generation Flyer will reflect a more modern way of thinking from BYD's design engineers.

The FINAL comparison to consider is the QQ6 to the Xiali C1........and that is a REALLY CLOSE one. The Xiali has a superior engine (no surprise there - it's the Toyota 8E engine) and transmission, and the power steering has a very natural feel to it. Nice styling and comfort level.........but NO split rear seat, NO USB attachment for a MP3 player. It's a better DRIVER'S car, but probably not a better FAMILY car. The Xiali is also about 10,000rmb more than the QQ6 (it's currently priced at about 58,000rmb) so that will be a factor as well for potential buyers. IF Xiali can get the price down by about 8,000rmb for the C1, it SHOULD be a better seller than the QQ6 (at least the 613).

Other cars to consider in this price range/engine size - the new Changan CV6 (I've seen it but haven't driven it) and the SMA (Maple) 205 (I've driven it.....think of a more refined version of a Geely and you have the 205). Out of ALL of these choices............my top two would be the QQ6 and the C1. These two models represent what is happening TODAY with chinese small cars - original designs, good style and great value for the consumer.
 

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Hmmmmmmmmm......

Wow, that's quite a question - but I suppose I would put the QQ6 in first place FOR RIGHT NOW. You see, the market for autos in China with a engine size of 1.5 liters or less is just going to get bigger (ESPECIALLY autos with enignes 1.3 or less) due to the new tax laws that started in April of 2006. Hafei just announced it's starting price for the 1.3 Lubao - 40,000rmb, and the Chery A1 should be here by this summer not to mention the 1.1 QQ6 in March!! The A1 will have a 1.3 engine and I think the upcoming A3 (a BEAUTIFUL car in my opinion) will have a 1.3 model available as well (along with 1.5 or 1.6 liter models). Great Wall also has some new small cars just now being introduced (I'm still waiting for potential legal action from Toyota/Scion though) and Brilliance has also talked about introducing a small car as well.

As far as the Spark, the Getz and the Picanto...........we have the Spark here in China. It is a well built small car and at least in Nanning it sells VERY well (I suppose the fact that the Wuling factory is 2.5 hours away in Liuzhou doesn't hurt). It is a bit expensive compared to cars in it's price range (45,800rmb for the 0.8 model) but it holds the distinction of being the lowest priced "american" car in China (it's sold under the Chevrolet name here). It is superior to the QQ3 in fit and finish, but price IS a big issue with buyers looking at the compact/subcompact class. It's a REAL shame that Hyundai and Kia don't market the Getz and Picanto here in China.....I think the Getz in particular could be a BIG success. The Picanto looks A LOT like the Hyundai Amica.....sister models?? The lowest priced Hyundai here is the base model 1.4 Accent priced at about 68,000rmb - the Getz would fit in nicely around 50-60,000rmb if they could build it here (as they do the Accent and Elantra in Beijing). Even a 1.1 Getz at that price would sell well - it looks GREAT and doesn't come across as cheap. That is the thing that chinese cars are now just figuring out - how NOT to look cheap. The Xiali C1 is a good example of this - the interior switches feel solid, the seats feel firm and supportive....it doesn't FEEL or LOOK cheap when you sit in the car. Geely is still learning this........the MR just isn't at that level yet (but getting better - the new remodeling for 2007 is an improvement). Even the QQ6 has a few little "cheap" issues here and there - but still pleasing overall.

I don't think the chinese cars are QUITE ready to compete against the likes of the Getz or Picanto...........but if there was a substantial price difference between say, a QQ6 and a Getz then who knows? Trust me - the QQ6 and C1 are not far behind the Getz or Picanto........and if there was a distinct price advantage in favor of the QQ6 or C1 I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.
 

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Yes..........

chinoy54 said:
thanks again, jmsteiny for the review. i just read your comprehensive review of the xiali c1 on a different thread. am i right in saying that the higher price tag of the xiali c1 would be due to the fact that it has a toyota engine? do you think that the chinese auto makers purposely add a premium to licensed branded engines when they calculate their selling prices? if so, do you think that this goes down well w/ chinese consumers? would they go for a local brand w/ a branded engine vs. say, a foreign brand in the same class-for instance, the chevy spark? or is everything dependent on the price & nothing else?

Yes is the short answer.............Xiali most likely pays Toyota a license fee and that undoubtedly is figured in to the price of the car. Also, when I went to the dealer to look and drive the car, they really talked a lot about the "toyota engine 8E" (as they called it) - it's obvious that this is a BIG selling point for the car. The flip side to this is the fact that they have to sell the C1 at a higher price than comparable models (like the QQ6).

Really, what it comes down to is the PERCEPTION of the quality of chinese cars by the potential buyer (chinese citizens). Up until the last 2 or 3 years, choices in the compact/subcompact class was pretty limited and REALLY lacking in quality. The rapid maturation of the chinese car industry as a whole is finally allowing companies like Chery, Changan, Xiali (and others) to design and build a GOOD small car with some style and even safety. This segment of the market will pretty much be exclusively chinese-branded cars - China hater is right when it comes to profit margins and foreign companies simply can't build them cheap enough and make a profit. Competition breeds quality - and that is exactly what is happening right now in the small car market in China. The buyer now has lots of CHOICES and the companies know that..........forcing them to make a BETTER car in order to stay competitive!! Finally, up until recently most chinese consumers simply assumed that chinese cars were VASTLY inferior to foreign brands - which resulted in huge sales market shares for VW and even GM with Buick. That is all changing.....consumers are now realizing that chinese cars, though not better than foreign cars, ARE getting closer when it comes to style and quality.....and sales market shares are reflecting that change in attitude. Buying a top of the line Brilliance here now carries almost the same stature as buying say............a Buick Regal.

As far as foreign engines in chinese cars (like the C1).....yes, it will still hold some buying (and selling) weight for a few more years, then slowly diminish as more chinese car companies develop their own products (like Chery with the ATTECO engine) that can be "competitive".

Hey Trivia Tim.............you're right, it DOES look really peculiar at first sight!! However, the more I see it the more I like it.........I guess the design just "grows" on you after awhile!!!:)
 
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