Brand Profile: China’s Aion will arrive in 2024
The next wave of ambitious Chinese car brands will launch in Australia from 2023, alongside established offerings now such as MG, LDV, GWM, Haval and BYD.
We already have a good review of this year’s plans from the Chery, JAC Motor and GWM’s Tank and Ora brands, but there’s another OEM with the recommended Aussie plans that we spend less time with. .
That brand is Aion, part of Guangzhou Automobile Company, shortened to GAC Group, headquartered in Chau Giang New Town and listed on both the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges. .
Like many Chinese OEMs, it focuses on joint ventures with established brands, in this case Japanese brands. Active joint ventures include GAC Toyota, GAC Honda and GAC Mitsubishi, all of which are manufactured under license.
But as the Chinese government turns more towards domestic brands and domestic consumption, GAC has expanded – not just with its own line of GAC-branded cars developed with what it collects. obtained from joint venture partners, but also through another sub-brand.
This sub-brand is Aion and we’re going to have a hard time here.
GAC Aion New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd was established on 28th July 2017, focusing on ‘new energy’ vehicles, with a more premium inclination. Since then, a portion has gone public to fund R&D spending.
The company has been upbeat about its export plans and like many sees Australia as an ideal test market – it is close to China in its master plan, highly competitive and fragmented. , but is small enough that failure isn’t a disaster.
Based on our discussions with those working behind the scenes, we expect to see the first Aion products go on sale in Australia from the second half of 2024, with the brand going live. seriously from 2025.
Like Tesla and Polestar, it is expected to use a direct-to-consumer sales model instead of engaging with franchisee-dealer partners. This is an increasingly popular approach from clean EV brands.
At the time of writing, GAC Aion has advertised eight home-grown models in China, only a few of which will be entry-level models for Australia, using factory right-hand drive (something GAC Aion still does). expanding).
It is expected that the first product that will make an impression is the Aion Y Plus, a 4.5-meter-long high-rise MPV model for young people, which will be launched in China in September 2022. This electric car provides The claimed range level (according to mild Chinese testing) ranges from 430 km to 610 km depending on battery choice, with motor outputs of 150kW and 225Nm.
Another vehicle that Aion is expected to offer at or soon is a new generation SUV that will be slightly larger than the Y Plus. Aion is currently selling the LX Plus and V Plus in China and we understand that the Australian model will be the next generation successor to both.
Headline actions from a branding perspective would be GAC Aion Hyper GT and Super SSR.
The Hyper GT is a wild-looking fast car that competes with the Tesla Model 3, offers an extremely slippery 0.19Cd aerodynamic rating, 250 kW power rating, 0-100 acceleration km/h for 4 seconds, butterfly doors and 900V architecture. It even has LiDAR.
The company hopes that an updated version of this car, potentially including a dual-engine performance model, will launch in RHD form around 2025.
Ultimately, every brand needs a product that stands out – not a product designed to sell in bulk, but for great marketing. As for the GAC Aion, this is an LHD-only Hyper SSR supercar.
Aion Super SSRDubbed “China’s first supercar” by GAC, has been designed to set “a new standard for China’s auto industry” in terms of both performance and manufacturing.
The company claims that the hi-po EV accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in an insane 1.9 seconds in top form or 2.3 seconds in low-end form.
The electronic engine with a Porsche-style two-speed transmission produces 900kW (1225hp) which is claimed, when operating at full capacity “providing a powerful repulsion equivalent to a rocket launch in 1.7G speed”.
The company also mentions the use of aviation tire technology with low heat retention and a 900V silicon carbide chip that operates 2.5 times faster while consuming less energy.
GAC Aion also makes the sleek Camry-sized S Plus sedan, but given local tastes, this seems less of an issue to us.
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