The joint venture of SAIC Motor, Liuzhou Wuling Motors, and GM China, keeps outperforming well-known Chinese electric vehicle makers Nio and Xpeng in sales, according to data for the first month of this year.
SGMW, which was set up in 2002 in Liuzhou, sold 36,762 cars of the Hongguang Mini EV model in January, reported Chinese online news portal egsea.com. In contrast, Nio delivered 7,225 units, all of its models included, while Xpeng handed over 6,051 units in total in the same month. SGMW, which also produces other gasoline and EV models under different brands such as Baojun, has sold more than 150,000 units of the Hongguang Mini since the firm put it on the market in June 2020.
Overall, the joint venture distributed a total of 121,468 EVs in the first eleven months of last year, beating all other electric car makers in China, including Tesla, with 115,024 vehicles sold in the country, according to data released by the China Passenger Cars Association.
The Hongguang Mini EV has three versions, priced RMB 28,800 (USD 4,448), RMB 32,800, and RMB 38,800, respectively, making it the cheapest EV in the country, with only a basic equipment that even comes without airbag. In comparison, Nio starts from RMB 358,000 (USD 55,284) and Xpeng from RMB 146,800 (USD 22,670).
Advertised as “people’s riding tool,” the car targets buyers who travel short distances, to get groceries or pick up kids from school. SGMW also markets other benefits that include less necessary parking space and lower energy costs as the car is lighter. The cheapest version has a range of 120 kilometers, while the most expensive one can run as far as 170 kilometers with a single charge.
“The sales of the Hongguang Mini EV shows that there is great demand for low-priced EVs in China, where car ownership is still very low,” Zhang Xiang, an auto analyst with a government-affiliated think tank, told KrASIA, adding that there haven’t so far been any EVs priced around RMB 30,000 in China.
According to Zhang, the model has not only attracted consumers in China’s small cities and rural areas, but also in large cities, where they use it as a backup when the first car isn’t available due to traffic restrictions. ” The success may attract other automakers, especially those that produce mini vans, to add low-priced, low-speed EVs,” Zhang predicted. He doesn’t expect Nio and Xpeng to follow suit though.