General Motors’ minicar joint venture in China, SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW), has launched Air EV, a fully electric, entry-level car in Indonesia. The automaker hopes to expand its footprint outside China amid strong global demand for electric vehicles.

Why it matters: The Air EV is the company’s first electric vehicle launched outside China and built on Global Small Electric Vehicle, a dedicated EV platform for global markets. The automaker expects to play a role in a market dominated by Japanese auto majors.

Details: Launched at this year’s Indonesia International Auto Show on Thursday, the Air EV comes in two battery pack options – 17.3 kilowatt per hour (kWh) and 26.7 kWh – delivering a driving range of about 200 and 300 kilometers, respectively.

  • The automaker includes an in-car voice assistant and priced the minicar in the range of Rp 238 million ($16,162) to Rp 295 million ($20,033), targeting the country’s middle-class looking for a second vehicle.
  • Wuling claims it has received “several thousand” pre-bookings for the affordable minicar, with plans to roll out the vehicle to more overseas markets such as India and Egypt. The automaker also made Wuling Mini EV, China’s top-selling EV model last year. 

Context: On July 6, Wuling announced plans to launch the Air EV in India. The automaker plans to export parts and assemble them at a manufacturing plant of MC Motor India, a subsidiary of Chinese automaker SAIC Motor.

  • SAIC was China’s biggest car exporter in 2021, recording sales of nearly 700,000 vehicles abroad last year. SGMW took almost 20% of the total volume, covering over 40 overseas countries.
  • Indonesian car sales grew 66.7% in a year to roughly 887,000 vehicles last year. Japanese automakers, including Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Honda, dominated the market with a combined share of around 95%, according to figures compiled by Statista, a market and consumer data provider.

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