The Beijing Automobile Group – B.A.I.C

South Africa’s developing market provides the perfect premise for an Asian automaker to gain a foothold in the affordable small car sector. The Beijing Automobile Group, B.A.I.C arrived this year, 2017, bringing with them some of their best toys in their D20 model line-up. Their vehicle range certainly stirs the caldron of perceived quality and that not all Chinese products are a smirch of “more is less and less is less.” B.A.I.C has brought with them the very best of their joint-venture technology shared products: having acquired both the intellectual and technical rights of SAAB, along with DNA technology from the Mercedes Benz developed SmartForFour small car platform transferred into the D20 range. B.A.I.C draws from a wonder of cutting-edge automotive technologies and techniques.

With an attractive list of safety features, the D20 hatchback and sedan are a true value-for-money prospect for the first time car buyer, but without the grudge buying remorse of, for example, “sorry to say this,” a Datsun Go. Standard safety features include a Bosch ABS/EBD braking system, front/rear disks, dual airbags, park distance control, and a tensile steel laser welded bodyshell. The D20 is spacious, not like the clothes you buy at China-mart, where SMALL is extremely small and LARGE is a bigger small. The rear bench is comfortable with plenty of legroom and a decent fabric trim creates a perceived quality – better than one might expect.  For now, the D20 comes in a 75kw, 1.3L and a 1.5L, 85kw, i-4 engine derivative. Mixed and matched by a 4-speed automatic and a 5-speed manual transmission.  In-city / urban driving is where both models will perform best, however, I suspect on the open road, the 1.5L will offer respectable overtaking speeds with the torque, (148nm), peaking at between 3800 and 4800rpm’s.

When an international Chinese auto-manufacturer like the Beijing Automotive Group, (B.A.I.C: Better and Ingenious Choice), enter a developing market – you can be assured of their objectives. Partnering with the Industrial Development Corporation, B.A.I.C is investing up to R11Billion  in South Africa, and will establish the first B.A.I.C manufacturing plant ,(on the African continent), in the Coega Industrial Development Zone in Port Elizabeth. Production is set for early 2018. The D20 is available through the B.A.I.C dealer network. Retail prices:


Model Recommended Retail Price
D20 Hatch 1.3M/T  (Comfort) ZAR  149,990.00
D20 Hatch 1.5M/T  (Comfort) ZAR  169,990.00
D20 Hatch 1.5M/T  (Fashion) ZAR  179,990.00
D20 Hatch 1.5A/T   (Fashion) ZAR  189,990.00
D20 Sedan 1.5A/T  (Fashion) ZAR  209,990.00

The D20 is covered by a 5-year/120 000km warranty with service intervals of 10 000km. There is a free service at 3 000km. Service and maintenance plans are an option from the dealers.

Dean Joseph