BAOJUN

 

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 2018, as for sales volume, the second (after Geely), and the seventh overall (after Buick). 

All Baojun models have front-wheel-drive.  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.  The only Baojun with a conventional automatic gearbox option has been the 630/610 series, deleted in 2018.

In July 2016, a 1.5 turbo was added and, together with the 1.8, withdrawn in 2018, leaving the 1485cc engine as the only one for the first generation model, at that time sold as 730 Classic side by side to the rebodied 2017 series,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.

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 a 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 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  (CN180) September 2016 –

Baojun 310W  (CN180W) 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 angine 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 the fourth quarter of 2019 however, Baojun will launch the front-wheel-drive RC-6 with a length of over 490 cm.

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.  In 2017 and 2018 the Baojun 310/310W was the second best-selling domestic brand passenger car in China behind the Geely Emgrand.

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.

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.

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).  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, after more than two years.  In the first half of 2019, the Baojun 730 was the third best-selling MPV, behind  the Wuling Hongguang and Buick GL8.

Baojun 510  (CN180S) February 2017 -

On the same platform as the 310W, 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.  Its successor will be called Baojun RS-3 and will include a 96 kW 1199cc turbo engine.

Baojun E100  August 2017 –

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 530  (CN202) March 2018 –

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 90,000 in 2018, sales in China were half as high as those for the Baojun 560 in 2017.

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.  In South America it is also known as Chevrolet Captiva, with 5 or 7 seats, featuring the torsion beam rear suspension. 

After SAIC officially took over General Motors' former plant in Halol in September 2017, the 530 was sold in India as MG Hector, with 5 seats, and the torsion beam rear suspension and additionally available with a 2.0-litre Fiat diesel engine.  A 7-seater is scheduled for April 2020.  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.

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.

Baojun E200  September 2018 –

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.

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. 

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 a 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 is available for the top model with the CVT transmission.  Both nomenclature and suspension resemble SAIC’s Roewe RX5 (since 2017), that outsold Baojun 530 and RS-5 together, using the 15 kW stronger SGE engine, that apparently is denied to Baojun.

Baojun RC-6 (CN220C) and RM-5 (CN202M)

These new sedan and MPV models, 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.

 

                                                                   

Far East Auto Literature

20 September, 2019