Chery, a Chinese automaker and a manufacturing partner of Jaguar’s Land Rover, will launch a new electric vehicle brand in March in the hope of getting a slice of the country’s growing premium EV segment, local media reported.

Why it matters: State-owned Chery is the latest automaker to partner with Huawei for an electric car manufacturing project, following similar moves by BAIC, Changan, and GAC. The new brand could give it the potential to challenge market leaders and help Huawei expand its in-car reach.

Details: The EV-only brand will target high-end car segments and will have a similar relationship to parent Chery as Zeekr has to Geely, sources told Chinese trade media Yiche on Monday.

  • Chery plans to build the first two models, including a sports sedan and a large-size crossover, based on its new EV platform E0X and use Huawei’s in-car software and Qualcomm’s 8295 processor, the report said.
  • Scheduled to debut in March and for delivery by the end of 2023, the new models will have a driving range of at least 700 kilometers (435 miles) on a single charge and be powered by CATL’s latest “Qilin” battery pack, financial media outlet Caixin reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • The vehicles will also utilize artificial intelligence chips from Horizon Robotics, which allow users to access advanced driver assistance capabilities such as automatic lane switching on Chinese highways. Chery is an investor in Horizon, alongside Volkswagen and its partner SAIC.

Context: In September, Chery announced plans to make EVs in collaboration with Huawei under the latter’s Zhixuan (“smart choice”) model, by which the smartphone giant not only supplies key components but also allows partners to sell EVs through its retail sales channels. The companies said that one of the first two models would be priced above RMB 300,000 ($42,944).

  • Last week, Huawei and Chery also revealed respective partnerships with battery giant CATL, making this a three-way partnership, similar to that between Huawei, CATL, and Changan for the launch of premium EV brand Avatr last November.
  • Huawei and Seres, a smaller manufacturing partner, have made impressive sales gains with deliveries of more than 66,000 Aito-branded EVs in the nine months that ended in November. The two companies plan to launch their third production model late next year, Chinese media LatePost reported Tuesday.
  • Known as a brand of budget cars, Chery reported sales of more than 221,000 new energy vehicles, mainly all-electrics and plug-in hybrids, for the first 11 months of this year. This represented a 148% year-on-year increase and accounted for around 20% of its total sales.

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