CD 192 BYD SealCD 192 BYD Seal


These are the exciting new car brands that should be on your radar now

The car industry is on the brink of being populated by more brands than ever – but who are they and what opportunity do they offer dealers?

Time 8:17 am, February 18, 2024

The rise of electrification and the surge in both the quality and popularity of cars built in China are just some of the reasons behind what looks to be the biggest source of disruption to the car market since South Korean makers found their feet and made huge inroads a quarter of a century ago.

But who are the new kids on the block and is it worth taking on a franchise? We look at six of the brands that are eyeing up the UK…


CD 192 Chery Omoda

Current dealers: 50 (estimated)

The launch of its UK website last month was the latest tease from Chinese manufacturer Chery, which plans to introduce its Omoda brand to the UK as early as spring 2024.

The launch model – the Omoda 5 – is a Nissan Qashqai-sized SUV and will be offered as a turbocharged petrol variant and a full EV, the latter of which will be announced later this year.

While sites and branding have yet to be revealed, Omoda has said it will have 50 retail sites across the UK ahead of its April launch and has confirmed Listers, Arnold Clark and Greenhous as among the first partners.

Cullum Goodson, network development manager for the UK, said: ‘We knew from the outset having a physical retail presence would be a key part of our approach in the UK, and with over 50 sites already confirmed pre-launch we’re exactly where we want to be.’


CD 192 Nio ET5

Current dealers: 0

2024 is the year in which Chinese luxury EV maker Nio will finally make its presence felt in Europe, having announced plans to expand across the region in 2023.

Its adaptable electric car architecture is easily switched between left- and right-hand-drive, which means it has the UK and Australasia also firmly in its sights, with plans for distribution expected in the late summer.

At present, it has a nine-car model range in its domestic market, with the ES7 SUV and ET5/ET5-T saloon and estate tipped to be the launch models across Europe, including the UK.

Key to its marketing will be its battery swap programme, which will allow owners to upgrade to newer, more efficient batteries as technology evolves.


CD 192 KGM Torres

Current dealers: 73

Haven’t we been here before?

A South Korean brand with an easily recognisable three-letter name and a powerful warranty offer, with a range of capable SUVs that raise eyebrows across the industry?

Just like Kia, KGM has its sights set on greatness and it’s a brand that already has some recognition in the market – you probably know it already as SsangYong.

The company has, quite sensibly, gone for a far-easier-to-spell rebrand, but it’s retaining its loyal dealer network and existing model range, while the new Torres SUV goes straight for the jugular of the established elite.

As it looks to expand its network in the next couple of years, it’s certainly one to watch.


CD 192 BYD Seal

Current dealers: 25

It may be one of the newest kids on the block in the UK, but BYD is a vehicle manufacturer with almost three decades of heritage behind it.

Founded in 1995, the Chinese manufacturer is one of the more established pioneers of battery-electric vehicles and has had a presence in the UK since the 2010s, when it first partnered with bus maker Alexander-Dennis in Scotland.

Most of the electric buses currently in service in the UK have BYD powertrains.

The brand decided that Europe was ready for its cars – or moreover that its cars were ready for Europe – last year and appointed five dealer partners across key open points in the UK last year, with 25 sales sites.

It sells three electric-only cars: the Atto 3, the Seal (pictured) and the Dolphin.


CD 192 B-ON electric van

Current dealers: 0

Already in service across Europe with Deutsche Post and DHL Logistics, B-On’s range of urban last-mile electric delivery vans is set to take on a massive boost with the launch of the Ford Courier-sized Pelkan.

This new vehicle is due to make its UK debut at the CV Show in Birmingham in April.

The smaller StreetScooter model has seen reliable service for more than four years now, and the US-German B-On company has partnered with IM Group to expand its presence, with UK deliveries starting in summer 2024.

Target customers include small to medium businesses in urban areas, where the lightweight Pelkan’s 185-mile range should prove useful.


CD 192 GWM Ora Funky Cat

Current dealers: 30

With its great value and characterful Funky Cat electric hatchback, GWM Ora is rapidly growing in the UK with a 30-strong dealer network and eight regional test-drive centres.

It’s also not as new a brand as you may think. GWM Ora is part of Great Wall Motors, which first came to the UK in the mid-2000s with the Great Wall Steed pick-up – a value-for-money utility vehicle that met its ultimate demise on the back of a zero-star NCAP crash test rating.

The cars are imported by IM Group, which has worked closely with small to medium franchise operators to expand the brand, with Marriot Group, Westaway and FG Barnes the latest names to sign up for a franchise.

This feature appears in the current edition of Car Dealer – issue 192 – along with news, views, reviews, interviews and more! Read and download it for FREE here!

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