GWM planning new upmarket electric car brand to take on Tesla
SHANGHAI - China's Great Wall Motor (GWM) plans to launch a new standalone brand for electric and smart vehicles, sources familiar with the plan said, as automakers in world's biggest car market pursue growth in the new segment.
Inspired by the success of electric vehicle leader Tesla, as well as Chinese startups such as Nio Inc, Li Auto and Xpeng, several Chinese carmakers this year announced plans for new electric brands, mostly to offer more expensive products than their mass-market lines.
Conventional Chinese car companies such as SAIC Motor, Changan Automobile and GAC are seeking to move their products up the value chain as China's economic planners push new technologies.
Baoding-based Great Wall will launch a new standalone brand, internally coded as "SL project", for electric and smart vehicles, which will be priced higher than existing products, two people, who declined to be named, said.
The new brand, the name of which sources declined to reveal, will include SUVs and sedans, which will be battery electric vehicles or extended range electric vehicles that allow drivers to charge their cars with electricity or petrol.
Asked about the plan, a Great Wall spokesman said "the big tide has come, we will join the game," without elaborating.
Great Wall currently has the affordable electric Ora brand and is building an EV factory with BMW in China.
To compete with rival Geely, Great Wall has added the P-series bakkie and off-road SUV models to its range.
The P-Series was launched in South Africa this month, however at this stage there is no word on whether any of the new electric models will reach SA shores.