A comprehensive early history of Baojun can be found in Volume 2 of On a Global Mission: The Automobiles of General Motors International
After the release of the 730 and 560, Baojun sales in China rose to 500,000 in 2015, 750,000 in 2016 and almost 1 million in 2017. With a 44% interest in SAIC-GM-Wuling, General Motors regards Baojun as a GM marque, while in China it is an ‘independent’ passenger car brand, in 2019, as for sales volume, the second (after Geely), and the seventh overall. In 2019, SAIC-GM-Wuling sold almost 1.25 million passenger cars, of which 600,000 Baojuns. Low price and low quality has made Baojun sell millions of cars, but it is also the biggest cause of its decline. In 2022, less than 50,000 cars were sold as Baojuns in China, half of which KiWi, the remaining mainly composed in this order of the RS-3, 730, 510 and Valli. Including (CKD) exports (630 as Chevrolet Optra, 510 as Chevrolet Groove and 530 as Chevrolet Captiva, Wuling Almaz or MG Hector), the factory built about 180,000 ‘Baojun’ vehicles in 2022.
Of the four new models that have been launched since the RS-5 SUV, namely the RC-6 sedan, RM-5 MPV, RS-3 SUV (reshaped in September 2022 as Wuling Xingchi) and RC-5 sedan and wagon (later called Valli), only the latter two achieved over 1,000 sales in the first half of 2022.
It now appears that Baojun is going to focus on electric cars with the KiWi, Yueye (Yep) and upcoming Yunduo.
All Baojun models have front-wheel-drive, except for the E300/KiWi EV and Yep with the electric motor at the rear. Recent Baojun specifications can be found at On a Global Mission: The Automobiles of General Motors International
Baojun 730 (CN200, CN201) August 2014 -
This popular 7-seater soon became the ‘household’ car of China, taking second position in the MPV class after the Wuling Hongguang. A mild facelift occurred in September 2015, and the third row seat improved into a 60/40 design.
Though a conventional automatic transmission was planned, the Chinese were offered an automatic clutch only by October 2016 as an option to the 1.8 engine.
In July 2016, a 1.5 turbo was added and, together with the 1.8, withdrawn in 2018, leaving the 1485cc engine as the only one for the first generation model, at that time sold as 730 Classic side by side to the rebodied 2017 series, and since July 2019 available with the engine upgraded for the 2020 National mode 6 emission standard, and the 5-speed manual gearbox replaced by a 6-speed, and without the optional second row 60/40 split folding seats, that transformed the 730 into an 8- or 5-seater.
By 2020, it became badged as a Wuling.
Baojun 560 (CN200S, CN201S) July 2015 – 2019
Wider treaded, and developed on the same platform as the 730, but with a SGMW-developed 1.8-litre engine, this model was sold as an SUV, but couldn’t beat the Great Wall Haval H6, which was on sale since 2011 with independent rear suspension and available four-wheel-drive, and SUV number one in China from 2013.
The 5-speed manual gearbox in the Baojun 560 1.8 became a 6-speed in March 2016, while in mid-2016 the 5-speed received an automatic clutch, and a 1.5 turbo was added with a manual 6-speed. Independent rear suspension, a novelty for Baojun, became available for the top models in January 2017, together with a major exterior and interior facelift. Sales dropped however, after the introduction of the smaller Baojun 510 SUV the following month.
Four months before the production stopped at the end of 2017, a dual clutch automatic became available for the 1.5 turbo in August, together with a 7-seater (2+2+3 ) variant. Over 25,000 Baojun 560s were delivered to the customers in 2018 yet, the majority of which before the release of its successor, the Baojun 530, in March of that year. Even in 2019, hundreds of Baojun 560 were registered.
Baojun 330 (GP30) December 2015 – mid 2017
This mysterious sedan is technically a Roewe on the MG 3 platform with its 1498cc 80 kW engine, and sold not much more than 125 units. There has been almost no advertising. It has the same size as the Chevrolet Sail, and at 55,800 Yuan was priced lower, however the actual purchase price of the Sail after discount came very close to that of the Baojun 330. Production of the Baojun 330 stopped already late July 2016. The Chevrolet Sail, by the way, was the first Shanghai GM design, and GM in America was only paid to license the use of the Chevrolet brand.
Baojun 310 (CN180C) September 2016 –
Baojun 310W (CN180M) July 2017 –
Different from what was the case with the Baojun 630, to which a hatchback 610 was added later, the Baojun 310 is totally different from the 330. It was announced at the 14th Beijing International Automobile Exhibition, on a SGMW-developed platform. With a price of only 36,800 Yuan, it was even cheaper than the Lechi (ex-Matiz/Spark), that had stopped production in February 2016 and which 5-speed 60 kW 1.2 engine was used for the 310.
The 2015 Sail3 no longer came as a hatchback, and a sedan version of the 310 would not be developed, leaving Baojun without sedans, after the 630 (as a Baojun) stopped production in October 2016, in which year the Baojun 630 sedan outsold the 610 hatch (that also stopped) on a basis of about ten to one. In September 2019 however, Baojun launched the front-wheel-drive RC-6 with a length of over 490 cm. The 630 is still built for export to Egypt, where it is sold as Chevrolet Optra.
In May 2017, at a price of 45,800 Yuan, the 82 kW 1.5-litre engine became available, coupled to a 6-speed manual, with an Aisin automatic clutch 5-speed gearbox added in September 2017.
The 310W wagon arrived two months later, with the wheelbase extended a considerable 20 cm, and both 1.2 and 1.5 engine coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission and priced from 42,800 Yuan. In April 2018, an automatic clutch became available for the 1.5, with paddle shifts and a rotary shift knob and the inverted trapezoidal grille changed into the latest Baojun hexagonal type, but the manual transmission models kept the old grille.
In 2018, six out of every ten was a 310W, while three out of every four 310/310W had the 1.2 engine, dropping to four out of every ten in the first half of 2019. Figures for 2019 didn’t change much. In 2017 and 2018 the Baojun 310/310W was the second best-selling domestic brand passenger car in China behind the Geely Emgrand, but in 2019 it fell to place 13.
In April 2019, the Baojun 310 1.2 Comfort changed the manual gearbox into one with an automatic clutch, with the same facelift as a year earlier for the 310W, and with the broader wheel opening guards of the 310W, but keeping the smaller wheels.
In July 2019, an upgraded 1.5 engine meeting the 2020 China national mode 6 emission standard arrived for the 310W, while in December 2019 two lesser equipped automatic clutch models came with the inverted trapezoidal grille.
January 2020 saw the introduction of the China national mode 6 emission standard Baojun 310 1.2, deleting the automatic clutch model with the hexagonal grille. The 310 1.5 models didn’t came in national 6 mode.
Retail sales in 2022 were less than 100.
Baojun 730 (CN210M) January 2017 -
A major body revision created the second generation Baojun 730, with standard ESC, optional LED headlights, a wider track and the availability of independent rear suspension for the top models. As the old model was kept as 730 Classic, only the 1.5 turbo engine and the 1.8 engine with an automatic clutch initially were offered for the new model, followed in November 2017 by a Borg-Warner dual clutch transmission for the 1.5 turbo.
By March 2018, it was built as Wuling Cortez in Indonesia, also with the non-aspirated 1485cc engine with 6-speed manual transmission, that became offered in China by November 2018, at which time the 1.8 was stopped in China, but continued in Indonesia, with both manual transmission and automatic clutch, and also as a 4-seater, with independent rear suspension. At the end of 2019 the 1.5 turbo became the only engine, eventually only with a CVT transmission.
The 2019 Baojun 730 introduced another standard seat layout for the automatic models: 2+3+2, instead of the usual 2+2+3. The 2+3+2 layout is more suitable for home use. For families with 3-5 people, the usage rate of the first two rows of seats is high, especially the second row of seats is convenient for parents to take care of young children, and the third row can be folded down to create an essential storage function. The second and third rows of seats can also be flattened to achieve a large flat space. All July 2019 models with the National mode 6 engines standard had the second row with 3 seats. 60/40 split folding seats on the third row are optional.
However, the traditional seat layout of 2+2+3 is more suitable for high-frequency travel demand of more than five people. The second-row seats are separate, for an individual experience, and the third row of passengers is more free to enter and exit.
Also, by November 2018, the 1.5 turbo was offered in China as mild hybrid with a 48V battery starter generator (and at that time the only model here with independent rear suspension), saving 10% fuel. In March 2019, the 1.5 turbo became available with a CVT transmission in China (and later that year in Indonesia). The dual clutch transmission and the mild hybrid model were abandoned for the national emission mode 6 models, that arrived in July 2019.
In spring 2018, sales of the 730 plummeted, positioning the 730 in 2018 on the 4th place in the MPV market, just before the compact 6-seat Baojun 360, that had arrived in May that year, and behind the Wuling Hongguang, Buick GL8 and compact Byd Song Max. Though still in the MPV caption, the 730 shortly was called an SUV until early 2019 on SGMW’s website.
Then, in July 2019 with 10,600 sales, the 730 became the best-selling among the Baojuns again, for this month, after more than two years. In 2019, the Baojun 730 was the third best-selling MPV, behind the Wuling Hongguang and Buick GL8, and with nearly 100,000 units the second Baojun after the 510.
In 2022 4,750 were still produced, vs 25,000 in 2021, and over 50,000 in 2020. These figures include the original 2014 models. In 2022, retail sales were only 5,600 after the release of the Wuling Jiachen in June.
510 (CN180S) February 2017 –
Baojun RS-3 (CN180S MCE) October 2019 -
On the same platform as the 310, but higher on the wheels, this bold looking (sub)compact SUV, actually a crossover, soon became the best-selling Baojun, and the second best-selling SUV in China. It was priced at about half the level of the similar-sized Chevrolet Trax/Buick Encore. In 2018, the Baojun 510 was the 6th best-selling vehicle in China.
The only engine was the 1485cc, coupled to a 6-speed manual, in September 2017 followed by a model with a 5-speed gearbox with electronic clutch and a rotary gearshift dial on the center console with steering wheel paddle shifters. ESC was standard except for the entry-level model. In October 2018 came a facelift with the grille losing the horizontal bars, a new rear end, and LED headlights for the top model.
Then arrived a CVT transmission in July 2019, when the National mode 6 emission engines were introduced, and over 800,000 Baojun 510s were sold, a first over such a period in the domestic car industry. CVT models accounted for 5% of the sales, and electronic clutch AMT models 15%.
In October 2019 came the Baojun RS-3, technically a 510, but fully reshaped, and sold by upgraded dealers at a 30% higher starting price. In 2019, the 510/RS-3 was on place nine, among the SUVs. To set it apart from the 510, a 3-cylinder 96 kW direct injection 1.2 turbo engine was envisaged for the RS-3, but it was estimated that the market’s acceptance of the three-cylinder was not high, so instead in July 2020 the 108 kW 1.5 turbo was added to complement the 1.5 73 kW engine.
The 510 continually was offered, and in May 2020, the million commemorative model was launched with a "100" logo on the sports side pedals (following the Chinese tradition of grouping by 10,000). Two RS-3 were sold to every three 510.
In September 2020 arrived a more basic RS-3, reducing the entry price difference with the 510 to less than 20% (10,000 yuan) with the RS-3 having alloy wheels, aircon and rear fog lamps.
The 510 is exported as Chevrolet Groove. In China, the 5-speed electronic clutch model was deleted in October 2020. In 2022, 4,450 510 and 8,800 RS-3 were sold (retail) in China. 17,600 models in 2021 were exported as Chevrolet Groove.
Baojun E100 August 2017 – March 2022
Baojun’s first all-electric 2-seater city car was expected to be presented at the April 2016 Beijing Auto Show, but didn‘t show up. After the Baojun E100 was launched in Liuzhou in August 2017, 11,500 units were sold in six months, at which time the E100 accounted for 2.5 percent of passenger vehicles on Liuzhou’s roads.
Different from the European Smart Fortwo, it has front-wheel-drive. The driving range of 155 km was extended to 200 km in June 2018, and to 250 km in April 2019. Originally offered only in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the E100 became available from June 2018 in Qingdao, Shandong, as well.
SAIC-GM-Wuling’s Chongqing Branch in mid-2019 produces traditional fuel vehicles such as the Wuling Hongguang, and its production line will be rebuilt into a new energy production line to produce the Baojun E100. The Chongqing Plant has a maximum annual production capacity of 80,000 units and will supply the national market. Baojun E100 was listed nationwide on June 28, 2019; 26,000 were sold in 2019.
At the end of July 2020, the drive range of the Baojun E100 was extended to 305 km.
Baojun 530 (CN202S) March 2018 – September 2021 (Chevrolet Captiva export continues)
The successor to the 560 kept its underpinnings, and took the bold looks of the 510. It was first displayed at Auto Guangzhou in November 2017. The 1.8 model with electronic clutch and the 1.5 turbo with dual clutch automatic gearbox were superseded in November 2018 by an upgraded 1.5 turbo model with a CVT transmission, tagged 260T, but the 1.8 was still sold to the customer in 2019. A 7-seater was added in January 2019, without the option of the independent rear suspension. With some 80,000 in 2019, sales in China were half as high as those for the Baojun 560 in 2017.
The CVT was jointly developed by SAIC and Bosch Netherlands (ex-VDT, Van Doorne's Transmissie, proceeding from DAF, Van Doorne's Automobielfabriek), and has an economical, sporty, and standard simulated 8-speed driving mode.
The chassis was jointly tuned by Baojun Automobile and the Canadian chassis research and development agency Multimatic.
A facelift in October 2019 let customers choose from three interior layouts: 2+3, 2+2+2 or 2+3+2 seats. The independent rear suspension option was deleted, and the 530 was still listed as an SUV.
Marketed from February 2019, it is built in Indonesia as Wuling Almaz with 5 or 7 seats, and the independent rear suspension, with exports to Thailand from October as Chevrolet Captiva, but to be halted in 2020 due to poor sales, which were at 15% level of the nearly 10,000 that were sold in (comparable) Indonesia in 2019. In Latin America and the Middle East, it is also known as Chevrolet Captiva, exported from China with torsion beam rear suspension, and with 5 or 7 seats.
In November 2022, the Indonesian Almaz became available as a hybrid model, with 7 seats, using the technology of the Chinese Wuling Xingchen Asta HEV, including its torsion beam rear axle.
After SAIC officially took over General Motors' former plant in Halol in September 2017, the 530 was sold in India as MG Hector since June 2019, with 5 seats, and the torsion beam rear suspension and additionally available with a 2.0-litre Fiat diesel engine. A 6-seater Hector Plus came in July 2020, with a 7-seater added in January 2021. SAIC decided to sell the 1.5 turbo with dual clutch automatic as well, and a mild hybrid model, that in China had been available only in the Baojun 730 series. So, while General Motors regards the Baojun 530 to be a GM car, SAIC is building it as an MG, preferring it to its own similar-priced but smaller ZS model. After all, SAIC has the major share in SGMW. By December 2021, 72,500 Hectors were made, of which 31,500 that year.
The 2021 models were introduced in September 2020 as ‘Global Car Anniversary Edition’, adding a chrome-plated water-cut decorative strip beneath the side windows of the top model. At the end of 2020, the Baojun 530 became one of the most exported SUVs in China (nearly 100,000). 2021 was the last year for the Baojun 530 in China; 9 out of 10 models were exported.
In China, the Wuling Xingchen (Asta) actually succeeded on the Baojun 530 in September 2021.
Baojun 360 (CN185M) May 2018 –
This appeared to be a logical development on the 310W platform less the 1.2-litre option and less paddle shifts and rotary shift knob for the electronic clutch model, creating a 6-seater with a higher body, outselling the wagon, but not the 7-seater 730 in the first half of 2019.
In September 2019, the 360 became available with CVT transmission, adopting a grille with dot matrix elements. In 2019, the Baojun 360 ranked fourth on MPV sales in China, behind the Wuling Hongguang, Buick GL8 and Baojun 730.
Some 50 were sold in the first half of 2022, vs 1,900 in 2021, and 10,000 in 2020. In 2022, retail sales were 160.
Baojun E200 September 2018 – March 2022
Positioned as “the second car in the family”, the Baojun E200 adopts a new design, which is officially called “geometric design”. The angular shape is very recognizable. It has a boot lid, rather than a hatchback. The E200 combines the motor and reducer into one, which greatly reduces transmission noise and motor vibration. It has standard ESC and a total battery life of 210 kilometers, extended to 250 km in April 2019. It was sold next to the E100, but nationwide only after a year. The Baojun E100 and E200 electric vehicles were among the leading new energy vehicles sold in China in the first quarter of 2019 (230 and 10,236 respectively), and came on third place (16,874) in the first half of 2019, shortly behind the larger JAC iEV6E and Great Wall Ora R1.
In Liuzhou, by early 2019, about 10,000 Baojun E100/E200 exclusive charging piles were installed for 30,000 cars. 23,000 Baojun E200 were sold in 2019.
At the end of July 2020, the drive range of the Baojun E200 was extended to 305 km.
Baojun RS-5 (CN210S) April 2019 –
Adopting a newly-styled logo, this is the first of a series of new models, upgrading the Baojun marque. With a track of over 160 cm and a width of 187 cm, only the Cadillacs and the Buick GL8 (but that’s an MPV) surpass this latest Baojun SUV-crossover, conceived on the new ‘R’ platform with multi-link independent rear suspension, and shock absorbers with patented FSD (Frequency Selective Damping) active control damping provided by Dutch KONI.
Emphasis is on safety, and internet connectivity and optional self-driving technology: when driving in urban areas, it can detect vehicles, speed limit signs and lanes; the buttons on the steering wheel can select the distance to follow the vehicle. The engine is the 1.5 turbo, mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox for the entry-level model, or a CVT, and with a modest 104 net kW after the implementation of the national mode 6 emission standard. The chassis is comfort-orientated.
It seems a bit strange, that Baojun released the nearly identical RS-5 a year after the introduction of the 530, that sold worse than its predecessor, the 560. The major difference, apart from its image and new name is its independent rear suspension, that in the 530 only has been available in its first year for the top model with the DCT transmission. Both nomenclature and suspension resemble SAIC’s Roewe RX5 (since 2017), that outsold Baojun 530 and RS-5 together, using the stronger SGE engine, that apparently is denied to Baojun. A new SGMW 130 kW 1.5 turbo engine introducing direct injection, added in June 2020, didn’t boost sales.
A future PHEV version would be equipped with a plug-in hybrid powertrain consisting of a 3-cylinder direct injection 96 kW 1.2 turbo engine plus front and rear dual motors with a peak power of 90 kW/40 kW, enabling the vehicle to ride in electric four-wheel drive mode, which finally justifies a Baojun to be called an SUV. This model was said to be shown at the Chongqing Auto Show in June 2021, but instead several tens arrived at dealers, without mass production.
In 2022, retail sales were about 250.
Baojun RC-6 (CN220C) and RM-5 (CN202M) September 2019 –
These new sedan and MPV models, on the new ‘R’ platform but both with torsion beam rear suspension were unveiled at the Chengdu Motor Show in September 2019. “With a ground clearance of 198 millimeters, the RC-6 offers the advantage of an SUV despite providing the nimble driving dynamics of a sedan. Its six variants are priced from RMB 84,800 to RMB 123,800. The RM-5 offers 12 variants with five-, six- and seven-seat (2-3, 2-2-2 and 2-3-2) options priced from RMB 86,800 to RMB 120,800.” 60/40 split folding seats on the third row are optional. Both have the 1.5 turbo engine.
At the Guangzhou Auto Show in November 2019, the naturally aspirated 1.5 engine was added to the RM-5, reducing the entry price to RMB 78,800. In the last quarter of 2019, some 22,000 RM-5 were sold, vs 10,000 RC-6 and 4,600 RS-5 models.
In 2022, retail sales were less than 10 RC-6 and 560 RM-5.
2020 – July 2021
Baojun E300 Plus December 2020 > Baojun KiWi EV August 2021 –
This New Energy model was announced in January 2020 with the new Baojun badge. With a length of 262.5 cm and a wheelbase of 175 cm, it became available in early summer with 2 or 3 seats, powered by a 29 kW electric motor and with a driving range of 305 km. The E300 PLUS is having a 2+2 seat configuration and the length and wheelbase increased with 27 cm, while its motor generates 40 kW.
Different from the E100/E200, this vehicle has the motor in the back and rear-wheel-drive with double universal joints and a suspension with double wishbones. KiWi EV (advertised as “KiWi ME”, by 2023 model year “LIL KiWi”, the digital spokesperson) is the new name for the poor selling E300 Plus, that in 2021 sold four times better than the shorter E300 which will not be continued, though up to mid-2021 the E300 sold three times better than the later introduced E300 Plus.
Over 30,000 KiWi EV were sold in 2022. By September 2022, the 2023 models arrived with the top DJI version (102,800 yuan) fitted with a 50 kW motor. DJI refers to DJI Technology Co., Ltd., standing for Da-Jiang Innovations ('Great Frontier Innovations'), and equipped with the "Lingxi Intelligent Driving System", relying on the deep camera technology accumulated by DJI on drones, especially the binocular camera technology, by focusing on urban driving and intelligent parking. The entry price of the 2023 models increased from 78,800 to 87,800 yuan.
The new virtual spokesperson – Lil KiWi – is a hyper-realistic version of the actual spokesperson for KiWi EV, Song Qian. Song Qian, also known as Victoria Song, is a Chinese actress, dancer, host, model, author, and singer. She is well known as a member of the South Korean girl group f(x). Compare this to the debut studio album Lil Kiiwi of the American singer and songwriter Kiara Saulters, known professionally as Kiiara.
The updated Baojun KiWi EV has three new body colors: Mocha, Twilight, and Matcha, next to the existing Rouge, Emerald and Sable.
Though still carrying the stylized horse head, introduced in 2019 to represent the ‘new Baojun’ marque, the 2023 models lack the Baojun nameplate on the front and (in Chinese) on the back, leading to rumors that the underselling brand would be dropped, but the Baojun Yep provides evidence to the contrary.
In 2022, KiWi retail sales were almost 25,000.
Baojun RC-5/Valli (CN202C) August 2020 –
This is a 5-door sedan on a 5 cm shortened RM-5 platform with 1.5 engines with and without turbo, both with a choice of a 6-speed manual or a simulated 8-speed CVT. An RC-5W wagon became available as well, without the manual choice for the turbo, and from March 2021 known as Baojun Valli, only as turbo, with manual or CVT. Over half of the 2021 production was a wagon.
In 2022, retail sales were about 3,250.
Baojun RS-7 (CN300S)
The new Baojun RS-7 was unveiled at the June 2020 Chongqing Auto Show. This large 5/6/7-seater SUV on a 290 cm wheelbase, on 19 inch wheels, and with a length of 493 cm and a record width of 197.5 cm is equipped with the new 130 kW direct injection 1.5 turbo engine and a CVT gearbox. Though not officially sold, 281 units were distributed in 2021, and 46 in the first half of 2022.
Baojun Yueye (Yep) (E260S) May 2023 –
Positioned as a purely electric city SUV, this rear-wheel drive Jimny-style 'Jeep' with a 50 kW motor/E-axle, mounted unsprung on the 3-link rigid rear axle with coil springs, is 338 cm long, on a wheelbase of 211 cm. The cruising range is 303 km. The Chinese name is ‘yuèyě’ meaning (to go) cross-country. The car has a side opening rear door. The colors are yellow, green, white, pink and black in appealing names. The Baojun horse head logo is further symbolized.
Baojun Yunduo (EQ100) to be marketed 2023
Positioned as a purely electric compact family car, this 5-door five-seater will likely have front-wheel-drive. The motor produces 100 kW, while length, width and height are 429.5, 185 and 165.2 cm respectively, and it is on a 270 cm wheelbase. Curb weight is from 1495 kg, and with a top speed of 150 km/h, the Yunduo (‘clouds’) is clearly more highway-friendly than the other electric SGMW vehicles, such as the 100 km/h Wuling Bingo.
26 May, 2023