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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey fellow posters -


OK, I am finally ready to buy a car here in Nanning! The QUESTION is, which one?? Some background about this..........I've put several posts here in the past regarding my "fondness" for Geely and my intentions to buy a new MR. That WAS my plan.............and then I found out a few details that will probably change my plans! I plan on financing a car, not buying with cash. Why? Well, I have my resident visa, a very good contract with my school and a bright future...........and I don't want to drain my bank account! SO, I have been car shopping and pretty much settled on the Geely MR...........UNTIL I found out that you have to buy a car that is AT LEAST 50,000 rmb or more in order to finance!! Apparently, the banks here don't want to do a loan on the low priced cars - I suppose they can't make enough money on interest. Because of this, the Geely MR is not really a option for me anymore....:( BUT I have settled on two other choices and THAT is why I need some opinions from my fellow posters here!! Here are my choices:

1) - Geely CK........I'm looking at the 1.3 engine (the same as in the MR), with ABS/EBD, power door locks, mirrors, windows, CD player, air bags.......total cost 57,800 rmb. Pros - LOTS of features for the price, good gas mileage. Cons: It is a 4 door (a 5 door would be more "practical" for me as far as carrying music instruments) and I'm not sure if the back seats fold down for access to the trunk - it is the one thing I forgot to ask about (sutpid me)!!

2) - SMA AA (Marindo 205) - ALSO a 1.3 engine (yes, the same one as in the MR). Power door locks, windows, ABS (but no EBD), GREAT air conditioner, CD player and leather seats (a option I am choosing for comfort). NO power mirrors, no rear window wiper/washer or remote access to open the back hatch (usually a cable lever by the driver's seat) and no air bags. Total cost: 51,500 rmb. Pros: A 5 door - good for my needs, nice leather seats, plenty of room overall in the car (much more than the CK). Cons: No power mirrors or a rear window wiper washer??? The Geely MR offers these features for almost 10,000 LESS than the SMA........why??

I DO understand that the Marindo 205 is a "holdover" from the old JMStar company - SMA just added a few things and put the Geely 1.3 engine in there. The rest of the SMA car line are new offerings developed by Geely's R&D team, so things like power mirrors are standard. Also, having no air bags is a BIT of a concern, but they're not in the Geely MR either. Besides, I am a careful driver and ALWAYS wear my seat belt!! The Geely CK offers more modern styling and better features..........but I might come to regret NOT having a 5 door hatchback when I really need it!! You'll also notice that I am sticking with Geely/SMA as far as my choices........quite simply, there is NOTHING else available that offers as good of a value as Geely/SMA does.

ANYWAY, if you can offer any insight, opinion, alternative choice, etc...........I would appreciate it!! Thanks!!!!!:thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well............

As far as Zhonghuas, they're just not in my price range right now.......they START about 90,000 rmb and go up from there to about 180,000 rmb. GREAT cars (I've looked at them) but that will be a future consideration. Now with Chery.......

The QQ is too small for me (I've also looked at them) for carrying the equipment I need to carry (drums, keyboard, amps, etc...) and unless I buy the top of the line QQ, I can't get financing because most of the QQ models are below 50,000 rmb. There IS another Chery right above that..........it is a 5 door hatchback but it LOOKS like a 4 door (I don't remember the model number). In any case, it is a popular choice for taxis in many chinese cities.........I'm just not sure I want to drive a car that looks like a taxi!!

I understand what you mean as far as SMA in concerned........I don't think there is much to worry about though. SMA is growing as far as total car sales is concerned, they were the FIRST of the chinese car companies to display a hybrid vehicle at the Shanghai auto show last year, and they are introducing new models at a brisk pace. Also, since they ARE owned by Geely, it appears that Geely is committed to promoting SMA. SMA IS popular around Shanghai, and Geely wants SMA to be MORE popular throughout China. If I WERE to buy the SMA, I can have any engine work done at a Geely shop (the Marindo 205 uses the same 1.342 engine that is in the Geely MR and CK).

My OTHER consideration was a Hafei Lubao.........I recently drove the 1.1 version (previous to that I had tried the 1.0 version.......not good) and I was pleasantly surprised with the power and refinement of the engine. My big concern? It is a SMALL car, and I don't think I can carry as much as I need to - even with the back seat down. The SMA is about the same size as my old 1988 Acura Integra 5 door (now THAT was a great car - roomy, reliable and great on gas), so I know that when I put the back seat down in the SMA, I will be able to carry plenty of stuff. IF the Geely CK also has a fold down back seat (thereby allowing access to the trunk) it COULD be a viable alternative. In fact, a friend of mine is going to go with me this afternoon to look at the CK in more detail...........I'll post an update later today/tonight!!

In any case, I DO appreciate the info and advice, Ash - I'll keep you "posted" (no pun intended)!!!!:lol:
 

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alternatives

How about the 1.3 litre Chang'an-Suzuki Swift? Price might not be too much more.
Or for good carrying capacity, a GM-SAIC-Wuling 1.3 litre minivan.
If you can wait until July and can make the stretch to 70,000 Renminbi, the FAW C-1 would be an option.
The 1.3 litre Flyer-Suzuki and the the Huali-Daihatsu Happy Messenger are probably too small for that base violin, etc......:)
Anyway the best of luck to you. It's sure to be an adventure and we hope you will keep us posted.
 

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the maple is a copy of the Citroen ZX, so in my view it should be a better piece of metalwork than the small Geely which is referenced from the daihatsu. certainly those citroens go on and on where the daihatsus (Xiali) appear to have a shorter life. this view comes from years of talking to taxi drivers in high mileage cars around the ruffer parts of china!

chery windcloud is a great motor if you have drums and stuff to shift - definitely you should go down to the dealer and look at the cathedral sized cargo space under that innocent looking hatch - it's really really deep. and when you fold the seats down even bigger, and with one screwdriver and one allen key you can get the back seats out in about 5-10 minutes (I do this to save weight on track days). drives ok too and reliable as long as you don't have a custom made chinese stainless exhaust system....

If you don't do much highway mileage, I would go and look at some of these minivans like the SGM Wuling or Changan, Songhujiang etc. They probably have the most seating/ internal space for the money, and are surprisingly fun to drive - in cities anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
More questions.............

First of all, THANKS to all of you that have offered advice and suggestions........I REALLY do appreciate it!! Anyway, I HAVE made my decision, but there are MORE questions involving my decision than before - read on.

First, my decision (I won't keep you waiting on this).......the SMA Marindo 205 (also known as the "AA"). Why? Several factors......quality (a MUCH nicer interior than the CK and a AMAZING air conditioner - Nanning gets VERY hot during the summer), driveability (I was very impressed during the test drive - the power steering was nice.......very little effort needed at low speed and you could still feel the road, good shift throws, nice brakes and a quality feel overall) and durability (I could just tell that SMA was built better, and many of my friends spoke very highly about the SMA - much more so than the Geely.......I suppose that might be the old Geely stigma coming back to haunt Geely). The Geely also drove pretty good, but the interior was noisier, less room than the SMA (not a real fair comparison, the SMA is a bigger car) and it simply didn't have the same "feeling" to it.

I DID look at the Chery, fightingtorque........and you're right - the space available when you put the back seat down WAS pretty amazing. However, for 57,800rmb (the base price of the car) you got manual windows, a cassette player and a pretty bare bones car (good for taxi usuage, though). I have also given though to one of the little "microvans" that are so popular here in China (Wuling makes some good ones as does Hafei)but I do a fair amount of highway driving in the Guangxi province (music performances as well as recruitment/promotion for my school), so I guess no microvan.

Now, my new questions...............financing!! It turns out that getting a bank loan to buy a car can be a REAL challenge - especially for a foreigner. They (the bank) require that you own your apartment (not rent).......which I don't. I am still renting, and don't plan on purchasing my own apartment for at least 2-3 years. One if my best friends here in Nanning (also a music teacher) is willing to "co-sign" for the loan (he owns his own apartment), but the bank doesn't really do that........it would actually be HIS loan and the car would be in HIS name until the loan is paid in full. Also, he doesn't get his apartment "license" until October, so if I DO want to do the loan I would have to wait until then to buy the SMA. I CAN afford to buy a smaller car in cash now (the possibilities would include the QQ, the Xiali A series or the Geely Haoqing 203A) but I'm not sure if I want to "compromise" with a smaller car. As far as carrying equipment, the smaller cars would make things more difficult..........but the greater gas economy (especially the QQ) would save me money. Also, Chery is going to be releasing the "new" QQ in the next 1-2 weeks (it looks pretty much the same, but more features for the same price) so I think I might want to at least want to give the QQ a good look and drive it as well (I've never driven a QQ and I AM curious). Finally - by waiting for another 3-4 months (October, when my friend can do the bank loan with me) there is a good chance that car prices could drop a little more........meaning the SMA might cost a bit less. Part of me thinks it's better to wait and get the car I really like (the SMA), and part of me doesn't want to deal with the hassle of a car loan - paying cash and not worrying about payments is also a attractive thought.

Opinions/comments/suggestions, anyone? Should I wait or should I just go for it now and just BUY a car with cash????????:ask: :notsure: :help:
 

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Get the Chery QQ, it comes with alloy wheels, power windows/doors, loaded for only 40,000RMB.

here's one in pakistan, it costs 50,000lac in pakistan or equivalent of $8500 USD and dealers still can't keep them in stock because it's selling like hotcakes.







 

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I luv the QQ. If it's available in the US I'd surely get one - after I jazz it up of course. Safety is a concern? Couldn't be worse than riding a bike, moped, scooter, motorcycle, skateboard, or even jogging, right? :nod:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Right you are.............

RCtennis3811 said:
So I guess none of those cars have side curtain airbags huh...good luck!

You got it!! NONE of the cars that I have previously mentioned have side curtain air bags............the CHEAPEST car in China that I know about that has side curtain air bags is the Hyundai Accent (and ONLY if you get the model with all the options and automatic transmission) which is priced at a little over 100,000rmb. The cheapest car that has air bags at all would be the Chery QQ.......and again you have to get the top of the line model which is priced at about 45,000rmb. You might be thinking "WHY won't the chinese add these in their cars - they are a great safety feature!!" Yes, they ARE a great safety feature...........

There are a few differences in driving in China - most notably the use of highways. Highways here are NOT the "parking lots" that you might see in Los Angeles or Chicago (well, maybe in Shanghai or Beijing - but not in Nanning where I live) - highways are quiet, not crowded and easy to travel between cities. MOST drivers (at least in my area) pretty much STAY in the Nanning area..........andf their top speed is usually no greater than 60-70kph per hour (which translates to about 35-45mph). In addition, due to the design of roads you don't see a lot of high speed intersections for side impacts to occur.........the chance of a front end/rear end collision is MUCH more likely. For ALL of these reasons, side curtain airbags (while no doubt helpful) are a additional cost factor that neither the auto compaines OR the consumers are willing to pay for. Front air bags ARE becoming more and more commonplace and will probably become standard equipment in most chinese cars within the next 5 years (just a guess but a educated one).

As the auto market "matures" here in China, so does the education of the consumer. 5 years ago, first time buyers were pretty much happy to have 4 wheels and a engine!! Nowadays, I see people all the time starting to ask about things like MPI, SOHC vs. DOHC engines, airbags, fuel economy (this is becoming a BIG consideration for consumers in China), etc. I also think that as more and more chinese take to the roads in cars, you WILL see things like side curtain airbags become more common - but that is still a few years in the future. In the mean time, I CAN tell you that I would still feel safer in a QQ if I'm driving than I would in a taxi with some maniac who thinks he is a race car driver!!!:lol:

Oh yes, I forgot to add.............I HAVE driven the QQ!! I was VERY impressed - the 0.8 engine was amazingly powerful (even with the air conditioner on and 4 people in the car), good brakes and power steering and a LOT of comfort features that NO other company offers in this price range. A partial list:

Power everything (4 windows, mirrors, door locks) - Geely DOES offer this for the same price range.
60/40 split rear seat (NO company offers this until you get up to the level of the Honda Fit......Fukang doesn't have this, the Peugeot 206 doesn't have this, the VW Gol doesn't have this........but the QQ DOES!!)
GREAT fuel economy (the only car that matches it would be the Chevy Spark)
Manual sunroof, ABS, airbags - in the top line model and all for about 45,000rmb.

Have I made a decision yet? I'm close - and the QQ is now a major consideration for me. I STILL want to see the new Xiali C1, and I also want to see the new Chery S12 when it debuts before I "make the plunge" into ownership - but the QQ is QUITE a car for the price. What will be interesting is to see how companies like Geely and Hafei respond to this.........I would bet that you will see a lot more standard features on the Haoqing and Lubao in the near future in a effort to compete with the QQ!! :)
 

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forget the S12, dealers won't have enough supply to keep up with demand. They'll be marked up. if you can afford S12, get the flagcloud.
 

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about safety

ok..about QQ model,yes they have front airbags,and if you look at other cars many of them have just one or two air bags in this class...my fiat punto have one,opel corsa also have one,hyudai,kia...ano so,the basic model of vehicles usually have one or two airbags(if are from far east)

and i don't undrestand something..why are you all think that car which have many airbags...are safetier??? and also one thing...do you have cars to have chrashes every time when you drive your car??? if you are driving very bad and unsafley...10 airbags can't help you
 

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QQ and safety

Hi JM Steiny,
this is what I wrote in another post about my experiences with the QQ:

Let me tell you first that I am a regular China traveller since 24 years, but that I never drove more than a couple of kilometers in a new car, mostly on factory sites. I did a tremendous lot of bicycling, so I am used to the Chinese traffic, and each taxidriver or busdriver must have hated me, as I am always looking critically and fully attentionally how he or she drives.
So this was my first real driving experience in China.
The QQ was hired. In Beijing, it was not easy to find a company that rents QQs. The hiring price was 200 yuan per day, the car was hired for a month.
The roundtrip (3750km) was made in 7 days, but we spend 1/2 day in Qufu, a full day in Wuhu, a full day in Huangshan and a 1/2 day in Jingdezhen. So that leaves us 4 driving days. Mostly on highways (about 80%), some in the countryside (15%) and the rest in the cities (5%). Beside of the trip we used the car also in the Beijing traffic.
My friend measures 1.92m, and we had some worries if he would fit in. That came out easy, he could place the drivers and codrivers chair easily backwards, he had space enough. You can understand that there was not much legroom left for potential rearseat passengers, but we hadn't any.
We had a manual geared 1.1 version of the QQ.
The car was 3 years old, made in September 2003, and was one of the first QQs made, serial number 746. It had driven 65.000 km.
Lacking power steering, the steering was extremely heavy in city traffic, probably due to damage or extensive wear out.
The gearbox had the same wear problems, sometimes the reverse wouldn't work (and that gives you sometimes a lot of problemes), the five difficult to find, back from five to four needed some skill and experience.
The car was perfectly balanced, and driving fast felt perfectly secure. We started to drive 120 at the highway, but -as the highways in middle China are most of the times completely empty- we went faster and faster, and the last day I drove continuously 135 km (on the meter) for ten hours (1000 km). You can understand that we were anxious about the temperature of the cooling system, it was hot that week, 35 degree celsius) but we didn't spill a drop and the cooling fluid temperature never raised. We measured the fuel consumption, we did 1 liter to 13 kilometers, which is according to my opinion much too much, but the high speed we drove is probably the main reason of a high consumption. We didn't use any drop of oil during the trip.
We were surprised how well the car performed.
When at Chery factory, they let us drive a brand new QQ (the QQ311) to compare with our gearbox and steering, and I must say that this car gave us a totally different (much better) feeling.

Though I care a lot about safety, and I am fully aware of the risks of car driving, I don't mind driving "fast", even with a QQ. I agree with one of the earlier posts, that your own skill and prudence is very important in avoiding accidents (I drive now 40 years without any accident, a lot of km's in Europe, a lot highway -which in Germany means -when free- 160-170 km/h-)
But in traffic, and especially in Chinese traffic, you are also dependable on others. So how more airbags, the better!
Greetings!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wow.............

I thought this thread was pretty much done..........and now it's back again!! Hey Erik............your review of the QQ was fantastic!! I had already that in the other posting, but upon reading it again I just had to tell you that your review covers EXACTLY the kind of questions I would have regarding the QQ (and you drove a 2003 model and was able to compare it with a new 2006 model). What I am REALLY interested in seeing is the new QQ6.........I'm not sold on the outside yet, but I LOVE the inside and the "looks like a trunk but it's really a hatchback" design - I can't wait to see it in person (less than a month now, hoepfully). What were your thoughts/impressions when you saw it at the Chery factory? My limited driving experience (of a 2006 QQ) showed the car to be pretty good.........short pedal travel with the clutch, nice short shift throws with the transmission (I had to drive around in a big parking lot, so I was only able to get it as high as 3rd gear), GREAT power from the 0.8 engine (and there were 4 average sized men in the car) - considering the small size of the engine it had a stronger response than I would have imagined, powerful air conditioner..............overall a solid, tight little car. I am being paitient and waiting for a few new cars to arrive (Chery QQ6 and S12 and the new Changan CV6 - a new small car) before I make a decision. I defintely know that I will buy a SMALL car (sorry SMA) because I really want to save on the cost of gasoline - and help the environment a bit by using as little gas as I can!!
 
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