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Industry News: Wuling / GM / Shanghai Automotive have Small EV Mojo in China selling 200,000 Mini EVs in 200 days.


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According to China Daily Wuling Motors, a joint venture of GM, Shanghai Automotive and Wuling Motors sold 36,000 mini EVs in January 2021 toppling Tesla's Model 3 as the worlds best-selling electric car and to add insult even if you combine Tesla Model 3 and Y combined they still did not sell as many EVs as Wuling Motors.

Wuling Motor's Mini EV, has no connection with BMW Mini and it comes in two configurations, two or four seater, range of 106 miles and top speed of 62 mph and depending on options sells starting at $4,500 and $6,300.

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Four months before it went on sale, auto reporters were invited to share their views in March 2020. They over all said it would not sell in big cities where international brands were preferred and chances would be slim in small towns or rural areas where people were constantly choosing gasoline auto's. These views have proved wrong and with it the facts that EVs at an attractive price point would sell in large numbers to the general population.

The Mini EV has safety front and center with 57% of the auto made of High Strength Steel. It also has anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), and reversing radar. The back seats are equipped with two ISOFIX child safety seat restraint interfaces to cater to young families.

The auto has 13 kW of Power (17.5 hp) and 85 Nm of torque (115.3 ft-lbs) to go along with a smart battery management system that uses pre-heating and battery insulation to deal with cold or heat as well as IP68 water proofing and dustproofing of the battery system. The mini EV is 2,917 mm long (115 inches), 1,493 mm wide (59 inches) and 1,621 mm high (64 inches) on a 1,940 mm (76 inches) wheelbase. Ultimate inner city or urban commuting auto.

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Wuling Motors now has requests from 150 counties / regions in China asking when will the Mini EVs go on sale. As production ramps, so will new outlet offering the Mini EV.

Statistics are currently showing that the majority of buyers are in small cities / towns with 72% of these buyers born in the 90's and 60% of them are female.

Where Tesla is considered a toy for the Rich, Wuling has gone after the Companion to the young independent Woman / Man. Selling points have been easier to park and maneuver especially for new drivers. The range while short in comparison to Tesla is more than enough for commuting to work, easy to charge at home over night as well as cute, customizable and affordable.

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Wuling motors has been showing GM how to build profitable small auto's and market them for success. Wuling says you sell them like designer clothes, not like traditional auto's. Wuling has achieved this by partnering with Pantone, the global authority on Color and Design.  In addition, Wuling / GM / Shanghai automotive are working on partner deals of co-branding with Disney and Nike for the regional markets.

The focus has been  rather than copy everyone one else on making auto's that look like Tesla and sell much higher, Wuling has focused on the last mile of mobility and looking good while arriving. Wuling is also launching e-bikes and scooters as it has branded itself as a Lifestyle Brand not an auto company.

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GM could sell that as a Chevy something here..would be badass, as a sub-20k entry level BEV below the Bolt.   

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7 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

GM could sell that as a Chevy something here..would be badass, as a sub-20k entry level BEV below the Bolt.   

I figure it would be about a 10 to 12K auto here. :P 

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It wouldn't sell here as a $12K gas car, why would it as an electric? Fiat 500 is probably better built/more modern @ $16K, and no one buys those.
The U.S. is not the market for junk like this.

Edited by balthazar
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I dont think these are going to be produced like the cheaply made Chinese products that Walmart and Dollar Tree sell to us. If GM is serious in bringing these to North America, or similar small EVs, Im sure GM will make sure they are not junk.   

But then again, GM did sell Vegas, Citations and Chevettes to Americans.  Oh...the calendar says 2021 and not 1981?  

That's right...2021.

Here we are bitchin' that EVs are waaaaay too pricey and electrification is damn near impossible because there is suuuuuuch a low take rate yet this thing exists...with an interesting marketing angle. Sold like designer clothes.  Like everything else we buy in North America since...I dont know...the 1980s, with both the young and the old. The Millennials, Gen Xers and the bloody Boomers...   We are conditioned to buy consumer products this way anyway...  

With Disney AND Nike co-branding... An angle like that seems...fun.    

Like who knew cars could be fun again?    And affordable.  

If I were them, Id try to get Hot Wheels involved as well.  And since Nike could be a co-branding entity, why not try to get the NFL, MLB, NBA and the NHL involved for North America too.   Id buy a Boston Bruin or a Darth Vader (Disney owns Star Wars...) version of this over a ho-hum Chevrolet Bolt any day of the week! 

I absolutely agree with  @daves87rs 's post above mine!!!  

A basic car, that is affordable. And it be fun to buy since it looks like it could stylized like a customized car, but at the car store (GM dealership) directly...

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3 hours ago, balthazar said:

Didn’t the toyoter scion try that very tactic?

The ‘answer’ is an appealing product at a competitive price, TOGETHER.

Well, at this point it would be a good start. Scions sadly came as SUV/CUVs were blowing up, so we never truly got to see what the brand could do. Had they maybe been able to at least put an affordable CUVin there, things could have been different. These little EVs could be something that could be built on. At around 10k ish, it brings in the young, and folks who may never gone down this road before. GM could put a few more affordable models above this. Then you could get into stuff like Bolts or Trucks. The market would still gently side toward EVs, but it still allows ICE based stuff to still have a role. Best part is that you are bring a new set of drivers who were not able to afford before.....

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On 3/27/2021 at 5:34 PM, David said:

range of 106 miles and top speed of 62 mph and depending on options sells starting at $4,500 and $6,300.

At those prices and range, I could definitely use one of these to just stay around town going to the bus stop for work, grocery store, gym, Rural King. 

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2 hours ago, balthazar said:

iQ, 'fun', 'customizable', 'cute'. $11,990. Dead in 4 years. 

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I get your point and agree that Scion tried this initially with the first push, but then FAILED as the Scion Stores did not deliver the true customization that people expected.

When you went into a store, there was nothing about adding stickers, easy add on's other than wheel caps as everything else was a dealer install option with a labor charge and while low income and families looking for a new auto for their teen bought initially, the add on / customization thing failed due to it not being as cheap as the initial marketing message implied.

This was the original auto show messaging:

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We ended up with this.

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The show rooms had expensive rims, radios and nothing of a clothing like inexpensive buy, add on yourself and go. Toyota FAILED to deliver on their initial marketing message.

If GM can learn from the success in China and bring a cheap customizable auto to the US, I do believe even in EV form that something like this could ignite passion in driving among the youth.

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I don't think that was it at all- most consumers go to the aftermarket if they do any customization (which is a very small percentage). Dealer or aftermarket - I see no evidence that drives sales either way. Mini has offered some treatments; most folk don't choose them. Civics traditionally have frequently been customized- via my observation it seemed to be all aftermarket. It's the base car that's the fundamental here, and the Civic isn't nearly the punishment box the Scion iQ was, the fiat 500 is, or the wuling mini unquestionably will be. You can't (successfully) put lipstick on a piglet.

The China market is not remotely the U.S. market (and vice versa). Pointing to a success in the Chinese DM doesn't mean much here at all. Young motorists have no basis in micro-mini cars, so where would any demand come from?

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On 3/29/2021 at 3:01 AM, daves87rs said:

Well, at this point it would be a good start. Scions sadly came as SUV/CUVs were blowing up, so we never truly got to see what the brand could do. Had they maybe been able to at least put an affordable CUVin there, things could have been different. These little EVs could be something that could be built on. At around 10k ish, it brings in the young, and folks who may never gone down this road before. GM could put a few more affordable models above this. Then you could get into stuff like Bolts or Trucks. The market would still gently side toward EVs, but it still allows ICE based stuff to still have a role. Best part is that you are bring a new set of drivers who were not able to afford before.....

The Scion xB (the bB in Japan) is the closest thing that Toyota did to match this vehicle.  They sold well for their time before Scion itself was canceled.  The closest thing NOW would be a KIA Soul.  Imagine that: a KIA Soul EV at about 70% off of retail selling extremely well in China (albeit a GM joint venture product).  Too bad GM does NOT sell the Trax here at about $12,500 or so.  That would really fly off the dealer lots.

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It's called a clown car. What a joke, it's even smaller than a "Smart" car. I could fit that thing in the back of my truck and still be able to shut the tailgate.

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