SANTIAGO, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Chinese-made cars for the first time topped auto sales in Chile in the first half of the year, local media reported on Friday.
Less than a decade since Chinese cars entered the Chilean market, they came to account for 15.6 percent of total auto sales in the six months from January to June, according the daily El Mercurio.
Chinese car makers sold 31,000 units over the period, the daily said, citing a report from the National Automotive Association of Chile (ANAC), which reported total car sales hit a record 202,130 units.
"The good price-feature ratio, the confidence established among clients and the product range in high-demand segments are some of the factors that explain the growth" in sales, industry sources told the daily.
Thibaud Aymeric, automotive manager for Chile's chain of car dealerships Derco Chile, which sells such Chinese brands as Great Wall, Jac, Geely, Changan and Haval, said China's automakers have positioned themselves "in an important way" in the SUV segment, thanks to their versatility.
In addition, the yuan-U.S. dollar exchange rate is helping to boost imports, he said.
Some "16 Chinese brands have registered sales this year, though the top five in volume account for 67 percent" of the units sold, said Aymeric, referring to Chery, Jac, Changan, Great Wall and MG.
Chinese brands could account for as much as 18 percent of total sales, according to industry forecasts, due to accessible sticker prices and "customers' positive experience."