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China new models March 2024: Li Mega and Tank 700 launch

Li Auto Mega

It’s now time to study the newcomers in the Chinese wholesales charts. This month we have 8 new models hitting dealerships, 7 of them Chinese. This again illustrate the dynamism of domestic brands vs. foreign ones. To fully understand the scope of the Chinese market, make sure you consult our Exclusive Guide to all 184 active Chinese Brands.

1. LI Auto Mega (3,229 sales)

LI Auto is one of the success stories of the past couple of years. Launched in January 2020, the brand managed a stellar 50,354 sales in December 2023 alone. This with very similarly designed SUVs: the L7, L8 and L9. The new Mega MPV breaks with the rest of the lineup, inaugurating a very minimalistic and radical design a la Tesla Cybertruck. Like all other LI models, the Mega is an EREV (Extended Range EV) which uses an ICE engine to charge the batteries or power the e-motor only, it is not connected to the wheels. It seats 7 people in a 2+2+3 configuration, 5.35m long. Many seat combinations are available for different seating and sleeping options. The Mega is powered by two electric motors for 400 KW, with a 102.7 kWh ternary battery pack from CATL. The range is 710 km.

The Mega’s claim to fame is its ultrafast charging time: from 10% to 80% in 11 minutes. That makes it the fastest charging vehicle currently in production. The interior features two large digital screen: one for infotainment and one for the passenger. The Mega isn’t cheap at 559,800 yuan (72,760€ or US$77,300). For reference, the L9, the brand’s previous flagship, is priced from 429,800 to 459,800 yuan. It will compete with the likes of the Denza D9 (339,800-660,000 yuan), Xpeng X9 (359,800-419,800 yuan) and Zeekr 009 (500,000-588,000 yuan). All Li models peaked last December, the L7 at 20,428, the L8 at 15,013 and the L9 at 14,913. These are all very decent numbers and the Mega, more expensive, will be deemed successful at much less.

Bar for success: 6,000 monthly sales

2. TANK 700 (2,235 sales)

Spun off from WEY to form its own fully fledged hardcore 4WD brand in January 2021, TANK has been a very successful operation for Great Wall. 137.425 units were sold over the Full Year 2023 and 2024 volumes are up 65.9% after three months. The 700 is the fourth model of the brand after the 300, 400 and 500. Its full name is the 700 Hi4-T, which means it’s a PHEV. It is powered by a 360 hp 3L bi-turbo V6 coupled with an electric motor for a total output of 517 hp and has a 9AT transmission. There is also an ICE version yet to be launched, and that may be reserved for overseas markets. It is 5.11m long but only seats 5.

The exterior is very bulky and quite convoluted with large wheel arches and a spare wheel mounted on the back door. There’s also a superfluous roof spoiler. The 700 is priced from 428,000 to 700,000 yuan (55,600-91,000€ or US$59,100-96,700). For comparison, the Tank 500 is available for 335,000 to 395,000 yuan so the 700 is clearly above and may compete price-wise with such models as the recently launched AITO M9 (469,800-569,800 yuan). In terms of sales prospects, the Tank 300 peaked at 11,958, the 500 at 5,536 and the 400 at 4,586. The 700 is significantly more expensive, so its bar for success is relatively low.

Bar for success: 4,000 monthly sales

3. BYD Yuan UP (1,517 sales)

BYD needs no introduction, it was simply the best-selling carmaker in China over the Full Year 2023, overtaking Volkswagen. Far from resting on its laurels, the brand continues to launch new models at unbridled speed. The last to come out of the factory is the Yuan UP, and it received 20,000 orders just three days after launch. This is the third model under the Yuan nameplate after the PLUS and Pro. The UP is 4.31m long and blends with the other BYD models of the same size, nothing innovative there. I guess you don’t change a winning formula.

Inside, there is an 8.8-inch instrument panel, a 12.8-inch infotainment screen and an 8-inch head up display. These are relatively small in today’s Chinese standards. No physical buttons though. There are two versions available, one with 301 km range and one with 401 km range. Again, modest performances. It takes 30 minutes to charge from 30% to 80%. The Yuan UP is priced from 96,800 to 119,800 yuan (12,600-15,600€ or US$13,400-16,500). For comparison the Yuan Plus aka Atto 3 is available from 119,800 to 163,800 yuan and the Yuan Pro from 95,800 to 113,800 yuan. The Yuan Pro peaked at 10,093 sales while the Yuan Plus has a best of 30,788 units so we’d want the Yuan UP to fit inbetween to call it a success.

Bar for success: 15,000 monthly units

4. Wuling Bingo Plus (1,375 sales)

Launched a year ago in March 2023, the Wuling Bingo EV peaked at a splendid 27,458 sales last December. Now Wuling is releasing a more sophisticated EV model, the Bingo Plus. Its exterior design is nothing out of the ordinary and the inside is clearcut with few physical buttons. It is powered by a 75kW water-cooled flat-wire motor. Fast charging is possible going from 30% to 80% in 30 minutes. Ranges are 401 and 510 km depending of variant.

Price is 89,800 to 98,800 yuan (11,700-12,800€ or US$12,400-13,600) compared with 59,800-88,800 for the Bingo. But there are additional perks available. When you order online you can save 4,000 yuan through financial subsidies and a trade-in allowance of 2,000 yuan. Competitors include the BYD Dolphin (99,800-139,800 yuan) and BYD Yuan UP (96,800-119,800 yuan). We anticipate great success for the Bingo Plus.

Bar for success: 15,000 monthly sales

5. eπ007 (1,220 sales)

And yet another brand launched in the Chinese market! Yipai (东风奕派), or eπ, is a new addition to the Dongfeng family. The website is here. It was unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2023 and is a premium brand slotted below Voyah. The 700 is the brand’s first model to hit the Chinese market. It is a 5-door liftback available in extended range EV (EREV) and BEV. The exterior design is classic with the mandatory pop up door handles. The option of always spectacular scissor doors is available on the higher-end specs.

Inside, we have an 8.8-inch LCD instrument cluster and 15.6-inch infotainment screen in a very pure cockpit. The 700 is priced from 159,600 to 199,600 yuan (20,700-25,900€ or US$22,000-27,600) and will compete with the likes of the Galaxy E8 (175,800-228,800 yuan), Qiyuan A07 (135,900-179,900 yuan) and Deepal SL03 (139,900-206,900 yuan).

Bar for success: 5,000 monthly sales

Hongqi L5

Also new for the month are the Beijing U5 Plus (140 sales), the refreshed Hongqi L5 (1 sale) and Kia Sonet (1 sale).

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