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BYD launches a new brand 78,800 yuan (approximately RMB 1.5 million).

The moment the price of the small EV Hailu was announced at the press conference held by BYD on 18 June, the visitors who thronged the venue cheered.

The Haikou is a four-seater hatchback EV with a small overall length of 3,780 mm and a cruising range of 305 km. The minimum price starts at 78,800 yuan, making it the company’s cheapest EV.

Luo Hao, assistant general manager of BYD’s brand PR department, told Nikkei Business and other media that the company’s aim in launching the Haeo is to “target the younger generation, our potential customers, and bring a new EV experience to them as well.”

Not just budget EVs: at the Shanghai Motor Show, BYD unveiled the U9 EV supercar as a new model for its luxury car brand Yangwang. The car’s acceleration performance, which can reach 100 km/h in two seconds from a standstill, is a selling point.

Yangwang is BYD’s top-of-the-range brand with a selling price of over RMB 1 million (approximately JPY 19.5 million). The U8, an SUV-type plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHV) with a range of 1,000 km, is priced at 1,098,000 yuan, while the U9’s price was not disclosed but is likely to be similar.

In the future, BYD will “diversify its brands according to customer needs” in the Chinese market (Luo). In addition to the main BYD brand, the company currently offers the high-priced DENZA brand and the luxury brand YANGWANG, and has announced the launch of a fourth brand. ‘We are launching a new professional and individual brand,’ Luo said. By offering EVs optimised for each customer target, the company intends to survive in the increasingly competitive Chinese EV market.

BYD’s Luo said, “We are proud to have pioneered new energy vehicles (such as EVs) for 20 years”, and BYD’s new move as one of the top two players is sure to be a major hurdle for Japanese companies aiming for a comeback.