BYD on Wednesday officially unveiled its newest premium marque with a performance-oriented plug-in hybrid off-roader. The Chinese automaker expects the new brand to signify personality and luxury, and is betting on it to help attract more of the country’s affluent middle-class buyers.
With the launch of the Bao 5, BYD’s reply to makers of top-tier luxury off-roaders, China’s biggest electric vehicle maker is seeking to “redefine” a market segment that has been ruled by internal combustion engine cars (our translation), Chairman Wang Chuanfu declared during a press conference at BYD’s headquarters in Shenzhen on Wednesday.
The name of the new brand, FangChengBao, translates literally to Formula Leopard. BYD said the new lineup responds to emerging and future demands for off-road travel with an edgy design, strong performance, and sophisticated personalized features.
The architecture: The Bao 5, the first model under BYD’s new luxury lineup, is a large sports utility vehicle based on tailor-made PHEV architecture that is expected to underpin future EV performance.
- BYD stated that its DMO (dual-mode off-road) PHEV platform splits up the car’s torque and delivers it to the wheels in a fluid way. This could provide enhanced traction and stability when driving on uneven and slippery surfaces and make the Bao 5 one of the most maneuverable SUVs on the market, with a turning radius of 3.4 meters (11.2 feet), according to chief scientist Lian Yubo.
- The DMO platform has an in-house developed powertrain system that uses a 1.5/2.0-liter high-performance petrol engine along with a dual-motor rear-drive unit, delivering a combined output of more than 500 kW. This allows the spacious SUV to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.8 seconds, while its DiSus adjustable suspension system provides passengers with an improved experience on sideroads.
Other details: The seven-seater SUV has a straightforward, boxy design with a lot of hard lines and angles. The car radiates a high-definition car-width strip of light in a rectangle ahead, and boasts luxury interiors including a high-quality stereo system provided by French audio engineering brand Devialet.
- The car comes with BYD’s blade battery, leveraging the company’s latest technology to place the cells in the chassis, allowing for single trips of up to 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) on a full fuel tank and a full charge. Lian added that the lineup’s upcoming models, ranging from sportscars to full-size SUVs, could travel between 800 and 1,500 km on one charge depending on powertrain and specifications.
- No official pricing details have yet been released, but the new lineup is expected to have a price range of between RMB 400,000 and RMB 600,000 ($54,685-$82,028). The company will debut the car publicly at the upcoming Chengdu Motor Show on Aug. 25, with plans to open more than 100 direct-sales stores under the brand in 60 or so Chinese cities by year-end.
Context: BYD first revealed its plans to develop a premium marque that “specializes in professional and personalized identities” last November. The company already operates two luxury brands, Yangwang and Denza, with price ranges between RMB 800,000 and RMB 1.5 million, and between RMB 300,000 and RMB 500,000, respectively.
- In January, the automaker introduced the first two Yangwang-branded models, namely the U8 off-roader and U9 sports car, and is scheduled to begin delivery of the former in September. The two all-electrics come with four electric motors, have an 800-volt battery system, and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in two and three seconds, respectively.
- Denza’s general manager Zhao Changjiang wrote on the social media site Weibo that it has sold more than 100,000 D9 multi-purpose vehicles 10 months after delivery began last October. BYD on July 29 began delivering the N7 crossover with a starting price of RMB 301,800, the second model since its refresh of the brand in late 2021, and launched the larger N8 SUV on Aug. 5
- BYD sold 1.25 million pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the first six months of 2023, of which around 81,000 were exported EVs, representing a year-on-year growth of 94.3%. That number beat Tesla’s 476,539 units sold over the same period in China, of which nearly 40% were for overseas exports, according to figures from the China Passenger Car Association.