The Chinese brand DFSK has also been established in Germany with SUVs and commercial vehicles for many years. We present the company and the current models.
Brands from China, which are currently coming onto the German market primarily with electric cars, are on everyone's lips. BYD, MG and Nio are among these players. It is easy to forget that Chinese cars – including those with combustion engines – have been available to buy from us for some time.
These include the models from DFSK. Behind this name is a joint venture between the state-owned Dongfeng Motor Corporation and the private company Sokon (Chongqing Sokon Industry). The DFSK program includes passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
Dealer and service network
Importer for Germany and other markets in Europe is Indimo Automotive. There they managed to establish a dealer and service network with around 180 locations in Germany for DFSK and other Chinese brands (e.g. BAIC) without the usual marketing budgets. Without your own manufacturer key number, the registration numbers for the DFSK brand are not reported by the Federal Motor Transport Authority. However, several thousand Chinese cars roll to sales partners and customers in Germany every year.
The pragmatic approach to marketing and sales is also reflected in the model range. The DFSK vehicles are each offered with one engine variant and mostly in just one equipment line. This simplifies the purchase of cars in China and the logistics, and you can also keep delivery times as short as possible through advance processing and warehousing.
There is currently no cooperation with a financial service provider to offer centrally controlled leasing or financing programs via the DFSK dealers. Here, as a prospective customer, you have to find contact with an appropriate bank yourself or go to a dealer who has the appropriate partner on board.
All cars that come by ship from China are prepared by the importer and then sent to the dealers using their own forwarding agency affiliated with the group of companies. Since January 1, 2023, a three-year new car guarantee on all cars has been intended to strengthen customer confidence in technology and workmanship.
Conversion work is not necessary to send the DFSK cars onto European roads. Corresponding adjustments to the EU approval regulations are already being carried out in the factory in China. This also applies to the multimedia equipment. DAB radio reception is on board. But if you want to take your digital bubble in the form of streaming and navigation apps with you in the car, you will get nothing. There is no corresponding smartphone integration in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. DFSK also shares this shortcoming with other, sometimes significantly more expensive, Chinese brands such as BYD and Nio.
Fengon 500: The compact basis
In Germany, the DFSK model range consists exclusively of SUVs, in addition to light commercial vehicles.
The basis is the DFSK Fengon 500. With a length of 4.39 meters, it competes with compact SUVs such as the Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq. With a basic price of 18,500 euros (all prices as of February 2023), it competes on the market against significantly smaller SUVs such as Renault Captur and Co., but also against the successful Dacia Duster.
Under the hood is a 1.5 liter four-cylinder vacuum engine with 78 kW /106 hp. It works standard with a five-speed manual transmission, for an additional charge of 1,495 euros you can get the version with a continuously variable CVT automatic, which is then also equipped with a cruise control system.
The WLTP standard consumption is given as 7.2 liters for the manual switch and 7.4 liters for 100 kilometers in the CVT-500. So, like its bigger brothers, the smallest DFSK is not really economical.
Fengon 580: seven-seater
The brand's bestseller in Germany is the DFSK Fengon 580, which was called the Glory 580 before the facelift. The 4.68 meter long SUV has additional seats in the trunk that can be folded up as standard, which means that there is space for up to seven people in the car.
The 1.5 liter petrol engine without supercharging has an output of 107 kW /145 hp, a CVT transmission is standard. The equipment also includes leatherette seat covers, automatic air conditioning, a navigation system with maps of Europe and a panoramic glass sunroof.
The list price of 26,995 euros makes the DFSK Fengon 580 a bargain, especially in view of the format and space. In return, drivers of the model have to adjust to a WLTP standard consumption of 9.8 liters per 100 kilometers and incomplete safety equipment. Parking sensors at the rear and cameras for a 360-degree all-round view are on board. But you will look in vain for modern assistance systems such as a lane keeping function or blind spot warning system.
Fengon 5: The SUV coupé
The five-seater SUV coupé Fengon 5 shares the same technical basis as the Fengon 580. The 4.69 meter long body with the flat roof course places more emphasis on styling than on utility. The 1.5 liter engine has an output of 101 kW /137 hp, but the maximum torque of 220 Newton meters is ten times higher than in the Fengon 580 (210 Nm). The Fengon 5 also relies on a continuously variable automatic transmission, the standard consumption is 9.9 liters per 100 kilometers.
The equipment largely corresponds to that of the Fengon 580, the hatchback model also has heated front seats. At a price of 28,995 euros, you can choose between a black or dark red artificial leather interior.
Fengon 7: SUV top model with all-wheel drive
The current flagship of the DFSK brand is the Fengon 7.With a length of 4.93 meters, it corresponds to the format of the SUV luxury class, but is positioned against competitors such as Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento. The Fengon 7 makes the name its program, it can also accommodate up to seven people.
A turbocharged two-liter four-cylinder petrol engine with 162 kW /220 hp provides propulsion. The torque of up to 355 Newton meters is managed by a six-speed automatic converter. The Fengon 7 is the only four-wheel drive vehicle in the brand's SUV range. According to the WLTP standard, 10.3 liters flow into the combustion chambers every 100 kilometers, after all the tank holds a generous 70 liters.
The DFSK Fengon 7 also underpins its role as the brand's top model when it comes to safety equipment. Here, an adaptive cruise control system, which not only keeps the speed but also the distance to the vehicle in front, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition are part of the standard equipment.
The front seats are electrically adjustable and can be heated, the second row can be manually varied in the longitudinal position. A head-up display, navigation and dual-zone automatic climate control are also part of the Fengon 7 package. The price: 38,995 euros
Mini trucks for craftsmen and municipalities
Indimo Automotive is celebrating great success with DFSK in a small format. The light commercial vehicles, the so-called "mini trucks", have successfully established themselves in the market. Customers include local authorities, caretaker companies and craftsmen.
Above all, the small format of the Chinese flatbed trucks and vans is popular. With models like the K01H, you can also be out and about in parks and on sidewalks, for example, to spread in winter or to empty waste bins.
The importer has developed a wide range of accessories in cooperation with partners. So you can buy complete conversions as a snow plow or cleaning vehicle. The conversion to an all-wheel drive commercial vehicle can also be carried out on request. The basic flatbed trucks with 53 kW /72 hp 1.2-liter engine cost from 14,995 euros.
The electric vans are a little larger. With a flatbed, the model is called the DFSK EC31, as a box van, the EC35. In the floor of the vehicle is a 42 kWh battery (usable net 37.8 kWh), which supplies a maximum 60 kW (82 hp) electric motor with power. The range and the top speed, which is limited to 80 km/h, narrow the target group for e-transporters to commercial customers in urban areas. Prices start at 30,822.50 euros.
Seres 3: The electric SUV
There is also an electric alternative for SUVs. The Seres 3 is the first model in a planned family that will soon include the larger Seres 5. These vehicles were developed as part of an American-Chinese joint venture with Sokon Motors and are offered as a separate brand.
The Seres 3 is based on the DFSK Fengon 500, but differs visually from the combustion engine with a different front mask without a grill and larger wheels.The permanently excited synchronous motor under the front hood has a maximum output of 120 kW (163 hp). A 53.61 kWh battery should ensure a range of just over 300 kilometers according to the WLTP standard.
The Seres 3 currently costs 42,672.50 euros with imitation leather covers, front seat heating, inductive charging station for the smartphone and reversing camera before deduction of the electric car subsidy.
Forthing: From 2023 with two models
In the course of 2023, the range of models in Germany will be expanded to two models with the additional name Forthing. They originated from Dongfeng Motor Company, so strictly speaking they are not DFSK family members. In this country, however, they are sold via the DFSK dealer network.
The Forthing 5 is a 4.65 meter long SUV with a Mitsubishi engine. The 1.5-liter four-cylinder delivers 130 kW /177 hp and is linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Forthing 5 will probably be available from early summer 2023 for 29,795. A battery-electric version will follow later, which will have a modified front end without a large radiator grille.
In addition to the many SUVs, a seven-seater van is also coming to the dealers. It bears the rather unwieldy designation Forthing 4 U Tour and offers electric seats in the first two rows in front of a retractable bench for three. Here, too, the Mitsubishi engine drives the front wheels. The power is given as 145 kW /197 hp.
In view of the extensive comfort equipment with panoramic glass roof, automatic air conditioning and high-beam assistant, the low price of the 4.85 meter long van makes you sit up and take notice: It is said to cost 30,995 euros.
The most important facts about DFSK:
Without much fanfare in the form of marketing campaigns and advertising campaigns, importer Indimo Automotive has firmly established the Chinese brand DSFK in Germany and other European countries. The model range consists primarily of SUVs, which offer plenty of interior space and low prices in front of modern assistance systems and low fuel consumption. This concept primarily appeals to private customers who do not cover too many kilometers.