Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue?

Eric · Sep 11, 2021 02:00 PM

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 01

If there’s one word to describe the Proton X50, that word would be hype. So much so that even before the model was launched here in Malaysia, hype was already in full gear.

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 02

By the time it was launched in Malaysia in late-2020, it rocketed up to Proton’s sales charts, overtaking the Proton X70 in the process.

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Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 01

Fast forward to February 2021, Proton sold 3,345 units of the X50, achieving the title as the highest monthly sales for any SUV in Malaysian history in the process.

Also Read: Proton X50 sets record for highest monthly sales for any SUV in history – 3,345 units

What drove the Proton X50 to such heights?

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 02

In short, the Proton X50 does a lot of things right – low price, modern looks, and generous features. With prices starting from RM 79k and topping out at RM 103k, the Proton X50 sits on the more affordable end of the scale for subcompact crossovers. 

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 03

Now, the Proton X50 may be a sales success in Malaysia, but what about in its home market in China? We’ve compiled the sales data of the Proton X50, sold in China as the Geely Binyue, against two versions of its core rival, the Honda HR-V.

Also Read: Price equals to RM 50k, new 2021 Geely Binyue launched in China

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 04

Yes, two versions. Honda has two partners in China, Dongfeng Honda and GAC Honda. Dongfeng Honda sells the HR-V as the XR-V in China, while GAC Honda is responsible for the Vezel.

Honda Vezel, XR-V vs Geely Binyue sales in China, 2021
Month XR-V Vezel XR-V+Vezel Binyue
Jan 17,110 21,001 38,111 15,978
Feb 9,527 10,630 20,157 10,311
Mar 18,884 16,401 35,285 10,471
Apr 20,892 12,137 33,029 9,766
May 16,805 15,568 32,373 10,126
Jun 16,805 14,710 31,515 9,982
Jul 7,188 8,505 15,693 7,162
Total 107,211 98,952 206,163 73,796

From January to July this year, Geely sold 73,796 units of the Binyue in China, averaging about 10,500 units per month.

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 05

In the same period, Dongfeng Honda managed to sell 107,211 units of the XR-V, while GAC Honda sold 98,952 units of the Vezel.

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 06

Combined, the duo sold a total of 206,163 units – outselling the Binyue by nearly three times over, cementing their position as one of China’s best-selling SUVs this year.

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 07

That’s a pretty impressive result, not only because the Geely Binyue is much cheaper (priced from CNY 75,800 to CNY 119,800) than the XR-V and Vezel duo (priced from CNY 127,800 to CNY 176,800), but also the fact that the Binyue is a much newer model than the Honda duo.

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 08

China-spec Honda Vezel interior

Both Dongfeng Honda and GAC Honda revealed their versions of the HR-V in 2014, while the Binyue was launched in China in 2018.

Why are the Honda duo so popular?

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 09

In China, acceptance for three-cylinder engines have been met with mixed results – some manufacturers fare better than other when deploying these engines into their models. 

Needless to say, between an upper-spec three-cylinder Geely Binyue (177 PS, 255 Nm) and a lower-spec four-cylinder XR-V / Vezel (131 PS, 155 Nm), most car buyers in China will gravitate towards the Honda duo, even if it costs more while offering less power than the Geely, owing to the four-cylinder engine's perceived refinement levels. 

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 10

GAC Honda and Dongfeng Honda also offer the Vezel and XR-V with a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 177 PS and 220 Nm, mated to a CVT transmission. 

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 11

Lower spec 4-cylinder Binyue model pictured. Photo credit: Autohome

Now, although Geely does offer four-cylinder variants of the Binyue in China, these are lower-spec variants, which does not get the fancy ADAS kit and curtain airbags the upper variants get.

Also Read: Price equals to RM 50k, new 2021 Geely Binyue launched in China

Proton X50 is No.1 in Malaysia but why China prefers HR-V over Binyue? 12

The Chinese also perceive Geely differently from Malaysia. In Malaysia, our impression of Geely is formed based on newer generation models, ones that Geely calls "Refined Cars". Whereas in China, Chinese users' impression of Geely is still marred by poorer quality, earlier generation models.  

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Furthermore, Geely doesn't have as many dealers as Honda in bigger, richer cities. 

Elsewhere, in China, there is a popular saying that when you buy a Honda, you’re buying the engine while the rest of the car is free, further emphasizing their trust in Honda. 

Also Read: Why are Honda engines so reliable? With 100 hours of red-lining test!

 

 

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Eric

Editor

Started from the IT industry but somehow managed to find his way into the automotive industry. If he’s not gaming, he’s constantly tinkering with his daily/weekend car.

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