Beep, Beep, Beep--Make Way for the Xiali
By Zhang Dan

(FORTUNE Magazine) - China's bestselling car last year wasn't made by General Motors (Research), Volkswagen (Research), Toyota (Research), Honda (Research), or Hyundai. It was a FAW. You may not have heard of FAW, or First Auto Works, as it used to be known. But the company's Xiali (below) is ubiquitous in Beijing--as both taxicab and economy family transport. Sales of the Xiali grew 59% last year, much faster than the Toyotas and Volkswagens that FAW also makes in joint ventures with those companies. It marked the first time a Chinese-designed car ranked No. 1 in a fast-growing market long dominated by foreign brands. Foreign models accounted for three-quarters of China's 5.7 million car sales last year, with the Hyundai Elantra (No. 2) showing the biggest increase. The bestselling micro car (and No. 6 overall) was the Chery QQ, another China-designed car. Counting all brands, including its top model, the Buick Excelle (No. 4), GM was the market leader, displacing VW. Top of page