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SEM launch DX3 compact crossover for local market, but would it sell here?
The rapid growth of China's automotive sector isn't news. However the market's products are still stigmatized out in the West, where they have decades upon decades of societal stereotype to chop through before they're any chance of getting a sales foot hold against the Toyotas and Mazdas of the world.
But it's possible, as Korean manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia can attest, to go from zero to automotive hero.
There's no magic bullet solution, however brands like SEM are on the right track with vehicles like this compact crossover they launched at the recent Guangzhou Motor Show.
SEM, whose name stands for South East Motor, have been around a fair few years now. One of their earliest models offered was simply a Mitsubishi Delica van with a nose job. Which made, and continues to make sense, as Mitsubishi are one of their part owners. Nowadays they produce several of their own cars, as well as a number of Mitsubishis for the Chinese market.
And while they're still far from a household name in places like New Zealand, it's not hard to imagine a world where this rather handsome SUV of theirs is offered here in Aotearoa.
The crossover in question is called the DX3, and it looks every bit as attractive as its Japanese and Korean rivals in images from its launch. Powered by a four-cylinder engine sourced, unsurprisingly, from Mitsubishi, the DX3 follows in the footsteps of the brand's other SUV — the larger DX7.
Both look fantastic, which in part comes down to the good work of design powerhouse Pininfarina. They described the DX3's look as the “artistic conception of Chinese Calligraphy, creating a design of perfect balance between vigor, sport and power.” Whatever that all means.
The crossover market is perhaps the most competitive one we have at the minute, but that could only serve to improve the fortunes of a car like the SEM DX3 if it can undercut the pricing of the market leaders by enough to get tongues wagging.