BYD-Mercedes EV joint venture Denza Automotive launches second vehicle as it aims to challenge likes of BMW and Audi
Chinese automotive giant BYD has launched a mid-sized electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) under its high-end Denza joint venture with Mercedes-Benz, as the company seeks to compete with the likes of BMW and Audi.
The N7 features a self-parking system, Lidar and a driving-assistance system called God’s Eye.
Deliveries of the vehicle are to begin this month, Denza said, adding that the basic version of the car can travel up to 702 kilometres on a single charge.
The car is designed to compete directly with petrol-powered vehicles such as the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5.
Denza general manager of sales Zhao Changjiang said the N7 had received more than 24,000 pre-orders, with 65 percent ordered as replacements for current vehicles.
BYD, which surpassed Tesla as the world’s biggest EV manufacturer in 2022 and is China’s biggest car company, is best known for lower-priced vehicles that cost around 30 percent less than those from Tesla and Chinese EV makers Nio and Xpeng.
More recently it has been looking to break into the high-end EV market with the Denza and Yangwang brands, under the latter of which it launched the U8 luxury SUV last September.
The massive U8, which resembles a Range Rover, can reach 100km per hour in 3.6 seconds and features four wheel-side motors allowing it to rotate in a “tank turn” or crab-walk sideways.
Denza launched its first vehicle, the D9, last August and sold 11,005 of the cars in May, selling over 10,000 for the third consecutive month.
The firm said it aims to deliver more than 10,000 units monthly by the end of this year.
The brand was co-founded with Mercedes, then called Daimler, in 2011 as a 50-50 joint venture, with BYD buying out an additional 40 percent of Mercedes’ share in 2022 to raise its holding to 90 percent.
Tesla has been instituting repeated price cuts to fend off competition from BYD and other rivals, with additional discounts introduced in mainland China over the weekend for its US-assembled Model X and Model S vehicles.