A super-compact electric vehicle (EV) launched by SAIC-GM Wuling Automobile last year is now taking the Chinese electric vehicle market by storm.
The Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV has reportedly been pilfering Chinese buyers away from other products offered by much larger brands since its debut.
While it may not have the most powerful electric motor or the longest range, the Wuling Hong Guang's sticker price is, arguably, its most attractive feature. The boxy compact vehicles, which measures just 3 meters (3.2 yards) long and 1.5 meters wide, is priced at just $4,460 for the base version and over $5,000 for models equipped with features such as air conditioning.
As part of its latest promotion, the company, a joint venture between General Motors and SAIC Motor, is offering the vehicles to customers at a low 13,000 yuan ($2,012) down payment and zero interest on the balance. SAIC Motor holds a majority stake in the joint venture, which mainly sells cars under the Wuling brand.
Some customers that had already purchased the vehicle said that car's convenience and the low price had won them over. Ever since it was launched, the car has become one of the country's best-selling new energy vehicles.
SAIC-GM Wuling has been marketing the vehicle as "the people's commuting tool." According to the company, the small compact electric car can comfortably seat up to four people. The vehicle is reportedly capable of traveling up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) on a single charge at speed of up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour.
While it isn't as fast or as capable as its domestic and international counterparts, SAIC-GM Wuling said that its features are more than enough for "day-to-day driving." The vehicle is equipped with latest-generation battery technologies, which the company said helps keep its price down.
SAIC-GM-Wuling said that the vehicle can be conveniently charged using a regular household outlet, which means that it can effectively be charged anywhere. Since July of last year, SAIC-GM-Wuling said that it had sold more than 112,000 units.
This makes it the country's second best-selling electric vehicle on a monthly basis, right behind the Tesla Model 3. Globally, the Wuling Hong Guang is the second best-selling electric vehicle, again right behind the Tesla Model 3.
"Consumers give high marks to its low cost and its design. It's sold especially well in Henan and Shandong provinces," analysts at UK-based research company LMC Automotive said.