6 min read
26 May

Yuri, the wealthy Russian in the apocalypse movie 2012, remarked, "Leave it to the Chinese" on sighting the massive ark hurriedly built in China in preparation for the end of the world. Yuri’s comment is hardly fiction. It’s a real-world testament to China’s ingenuity and sheer commitment to hard work. China makes just about everything these days, with the country widely known for its affordable – but markedly – less-reliable products. This applies to cars as well. There’s a reason most people in the know won’t mind purchasing a cheap sunglass on Aliexpress but would not invest their hard-earned money in expensive made-in-China complicated machines like cars. 

China has an ugly reputation for churning out poorly designed, poor-quality cars because Chinese carmakers care more about introducing affordable products than building high-quality machines. This operational approach makes business and economic sense for Chinese manufacturers and China's economy, but it also means you can buy a brand-new car for less than $5,000. 

In fact, China is looking to dominate the EV market too, since the future of transport seems to lean that way. The Wall Street Journal has just reported that China is now the world’s top auto exporter, with its strength in EVs. Indeed, China has been producing cars for many years, and its market has grown significantly over time. Consequently, there are now numerous affordable cars rolling out of the country's factories. In this article, we'll be taking a look at the ten best and cheapest Made-in-China cars. 

Related Reading: 10 Efficient New Cars Made In China That Costs Way Below $10,000

10. BAIC Senova D20 - $10,500 (₦4.850 Million)

cheap cars made in China, 2016_BAIC_Senova_D20_sedan,_front KevAuto via Wikimedia.

The BAIC Senova D20 is a small sedan also available in hatchback form. As its name implies, the D20 is a BAIC product produced under the Senova name. 

The Senova D20 entered the market in 2012 as Beijing Auto E-Series but got renamed Senova D20 in 2014. 

Like the others on this list, the Senova D20 is perfect for city driving, relatively cheap, reliable, and easy to maintain. Its propulsion power comes from a 1.5-liter engine that produces 114 horsepower. 

9. Zotye Z100 - $10,000 (₦4.6 Million)

Cheap made-in-China cars, Zotye_Z100_2_China Navigator84 via Wikimedia.

One look at the car, and you can tell it's out to compete with Suzuki Alto for the small hatchback market. 

The Zotye Z100 is a small hatchback powered by a 1.0-liter engine producing a humble 68 horsepower. The manufacturer Zotye Auto stuck to just one model of this car, producing it as a gas-powered city car and an EV. 

The automaker pulled Zotye Z100 from production in 2017 while relaunching the electric model, renamed Zotye Cloud 100, the same year. 

8. Haima 1 - $9,700 (₦4.476 Million)

Ten cheapest made-in-China cars, 2014_Haima_Aishang,_front Kevauto via Wikimedia.

Known as Haima Aishang in China, the Haima 1 is a small hatchback introduced as the Haima M11 concept car in 2010.

Like the FAW V2, Hamia 1 looks like a distant cousin to the 1st-gen Chevrolet Spark, although the front fascia takes after the above-discussed BYD F0. Haima 1 is the predecessor to the Haima 2 and has been in production since 2012. 

The car is small, affordable, easy to maintain, reliable, and perfect for city driving. The car comes with a 1.3-liter engine that produces 87 horsepower. 

7. JAC J3 - $9,500 (₦4.384 Million)

Made in China cheap cars, JAC_J3_1.3_Cross_2013 order_242 via Wikimedia.

Known in China as JAC Heyue Tongyue, the JAC J3 is a subcompact hatchback with a sedan variant produced between 2008 and 2017. 

Like the others on this list, JAC J3 is perfect for city driving, cheap, and easy to maintain. The car comes with a 1.3-liter engine that produces 97 horsepower. 

6. Changan Benni - $9,000 (₦4.153 Million)

The cheapest made-in-china cars, Changan_Benni_1.3_2009 order_242 via Wikimedia.

The Changan Benni, also known as Changan BenBen, is a small hatchback produced by Changan Automobile between 2006 and 2013. 

The 5-door hatchback got a facelift in 2010 that earned it the nickname BenBen Love. BenBen Love got motivation from a 1.3-liter engine that produces 87 horsepower and 81 lb-ft of torque, married to a manual transmission. 

Benni actually got a BenBen II successor in 2014, propped with a 1.4-liter engine producing 100 horsepower. BenBen II is still in production along with the electric version using a 75-horsepower e-motor. 

Related: The 10 Most Reliable SUVs For Nigerian Roads 

5. FAW V2 - $8,000 (3.692 Million)

cheap cars from China, FAW_V2_hatch_-_2012_Montevideo_Motor_Show NaBUru38 via Wikimedia.

The FAW V2 (also known as FAW Weizhi V2) looks like a distant cousin to the Ford Focus hatchback of the same year. 

It's a small hatchback variant of a sedan that never saw the light of day before the company, FAW Group of FAW Tianjin, ended production of the hatchback itself three years later in 2013. 

The V2 is perfect for city driving, not only because it's a subcompact hatchback but also because it's cheap, reliable, and easy to maintain. The car comes with a 1.3-liter engine that produces 91 horsepower. 

4. Lifan 320 - $7,142 (₦3.296 Million)

Most affordable cars made in China, Lifan_320_facelift Graeme Bray via Wikimedia.

China sold this car in Russia between 2011 and 2018 as the Lifan Smily. The Lifan 320 is a small hatchback produced between 2009 and 2018. The car’s compact size makes it perfect for city driving. 

It looks like a bad knockoff of the BMW-owned Mini Cooper, but the Lifan 320 is relatively reliable and easy to maintain. 

The car comes with a 1.3-liter engine that produces 89 horsepower, but it also has a more upmarket variant called Lifan 330 with the same power output. 

Lifan Group enrolled the cars in the China Rally Championship it founded, hoping to use the "race first, sell later" marketing strategy to boost sales of the Lifan 320 and 330. 

3. BYD F0 - $6,700 (₦3.92 Million)

Cheapest made-in-China cars, 2010_BYD_F0,_front Lifan_320_facelift Graeme Bray via Wikimedia.

The electric version of this car, called BYD e1, is actually still in production, although the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) version got produced between 2008 and 2015. 

The e1 entered production roughly four years after BYD Auto Company LTD pulled BYD F0, also known as BYD F1, from production. 

The BYD F0 is a small hatchback perfect for city driving. Like the others on this list, the little car is cheap, reliable, and easy to maintain. It comes with a 1.0-liter engine that produces 67 horsepower. 

Related: These Are The Top-Ten Cheapest Electric Cars Money Can Buy Right Now 

2. Geely LC - $6,500 (₦2.99 Million)

Affordable made-in-China cars, 2011_Geely_LC_(New_Zealand) NZ Car Freak via Wikimedia.

The Geely LC, also known as the Geely Panda, is a small hatchback produced by Chinese manufacturer Geely between 2008 and 2016. 

The 5-door hatchback is cheap, easy to maintain, and perfect for city driving. You know how Nigerians often use the term “Chinco" as a slight on poor-quality Chinese products? 

Well, you should be happy to know that this car scored an impressive 45.3 in C-NCAP (China-European New Car Assessment Program) crash tests in 2010, making it the country's first locally-made small car to earn the Program's 5-star rating.  

It subsequently became the safest made-in-China hatchback as of 2011. Though replaced by the Geely Yuanjing X1 in 2017, Geely LC remains widely available for sale for as low as ₦400,000. Geely LC comes with a 1.3-liter engine that produces 87 horsepower. 

1. Chery QQ3 - $6,480 (₦3 Million)

top-ten cheapest cars made in China, Chery_QQ3_Sports Rutger van der Maar via Wikimedia.

The Chery QQ3 is a small car that is perfect for city driving. It's cheap, reliable, and easy to maintain. This car was once the cheapest all-electric sold in China, with a price tag of $6,480 after government incentives. 

Although it's not the most luxurious car on the market, it gets the job done. The car comes with a 1.0-liter engine that produces a humble 51 horsepower. 

Verdict On Buying Made-In-China Cars

Made-in-China cars review, Chery_QQ3_Sport_03_China Navigator84 via Wikimedia.

These ten cars are the cheapest cars made in China, and they are all excellent options for those looking for an affordable car. However, it's important to note that while these cars may be cheap, they are still reliable and safe. 

China has made significant strides in the safety and quality of its cars, and these ten cars are no exception. One of the reasons why these cars are so affordable is that the cost of labor is much lower in China than in other countries. 

Additionally, many of these cars come with basic features and minimal luxury options, making them more affordable to produce. 

Summarily, the ten cheapest cars made in China are affordable, reliable, and perfect for city driving. While they may not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive brands, they are still great options for those looking for a reliable car on a budget. As China's car market continues to grow and evolve, we can expect to see even more affordable and reliable cars in the future.

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