BMW partner Great Wall plans upscale EV brand, report says

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Inspired by the market success of electric vehicle leader Tesla, as well as Chinese startups Nio, Li Auto and Xpeng, several Chinese automakers this year announced plans for new electric brands, mostly to offer more expensive products than their mass-market lines.

Conventional Chinese automakers 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.

The new standalone brand from Great Wall, internally coded as “SL project,” 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.

Asked about the plan, a Great Wall spokesman said “the big tide has come, we will join the game,” without elaborating.

To compete with rival Geely, Great Wall has added the P-series pickup truck and SUV models to its range. In the first 11 months, it sold almost a million vehicles.

The new brand is Great Wall’s second attempt to crack the premium segment. In 2016, it launched its WEY brand for more upscale models, although it has struggled to generate sales growth.

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Saurabh Shukla

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