Aito, a Chinese electric vehicle brand backed by Huawei, received more than 10,000 pre-orders for the M7 in just two hours, after it was unveiled on Monday. The new model is the brand’s second production vehicle featuring Huawei’s HarmonyOS operating system for cars.  

Why it matters: While reservations do not always translate into actual sales, the M7 has captured people’s attention, signaling that Huawei is turning into a serious rival to existing carmakers since entering the burgeoning EV space about one year ago.

  • Experts believe that the new car will become a direct competitor to Li One, a popular large plug-in hybrid vehicle launched by Chinese EV maker Li Auto that has similar configurations and a similar price point. Aito has the potential to achieve a sales volume of up to 100,000 units for this year, state media outlet Shanghai Securities News reported Monday, citing analysts from China Securities.

Details: More than 10,000 people pre-ordered the Aito M7 sports utility vehicle in the first two hours after the car brand began accepting RMB 1,000 ($149) deposits on Monday afternoon, a company spokesman told TechNode on Tuesday.

  • With a four-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine developed by Huawei and a 40.6 kWh battery pack supplied by CATL, the M7 will be able to go as far as 1,220 km (758 miles) on a full tank and 100% battery charge. It consumes 6.85 liters of fuel per 100 km, well below the 7.8 liters of Li Auto’s L9 SUV and the 10.8 liters of the BMW X7.
  • The car uses Huawei’s HarmonyOS operating system, enabling drivers to access “all the mobile services“ from Huawei’s app store, Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business group said during a press conference.
  • The six-seater luxury SUV will have a starting price of RMB 319,800 ($47,737) and will be delivered to customers in August. More than 600 Huawei stores around China will provide test drives starting July 23, and that number will be increased to over 1,000 stores by year-end, according to Yu.

Context: Huawei and its manufacturing partner Sokon have seen a steady increase in sales of the M5, their first vehicle under the Aito brand, shipping 7,021 crossovers in June, a 40% increase from a month earlier.

  • According to the latest figures, Aito has reached total delivery of 18,317 units in just four months since delivery began in March. Prior to this, the two companies had experienced an initial setback, delivering only around 8,000 Seres-branded electric crossovers in 2021 after unveiling in April, last year.
  • Huawei’s core business growth is still under pressure from US sanctions with revenue dropping by 14% year-on-year to RMB 131 billion in the first three months of 2022, CNBC reported. The smartphone maker has also partnered with state-owned automakers like BAIC and Changan to make EVs.
  • Domestic EV makers Nio and Li Auto released their new crossovers, the ES7 and the L9, last month, respectively, and scheduled delivery to begin in August. Another rival Xpeng Motors is set to launch its second SUV model G9 in the same month and will begin delivery in September, with pricing expected to start at more than RMB 300,000.

Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen