The Seres is a brand under state-owned Dongfeng, and the M7 is assembled in their factory in Chongqing, which is dedicated to Aito production and went into operation in July 2022. The plant’s annual production capacity is 150,000 units, and the production capacity of M7 is currently about 700 units daily.
Customers who want to order M7 place a non-refundable deposit on Aito’s website and the rest of the price upon delivery. The M7 reached 100k orders milestone just 12 days after it got 90k orders on November 15.
Aito M7 is the company’s second car, which was launched in China on July 4, 2022. The M7 that got 100k orders is the updated 2024 version, launched on September 12. The price of the new M7 started 40,000 yuan (5,600 USD) lower than the 2022 version, signalizing Huawei also joined the price war in China.
The new Aito’s M7 is a large 5-seater SUV with 5020/1945/1760 mm (L/W/H) dimensions and a wheelbase of 2820 mm. It is an EREV, so it comes equipped with a 40 kWh ternary NMC battery from CATL, which is suitable for the 240 km CLTC range or 1,300 km combined range with a full 60L fuel tank.
M7 has two powertrain options: single motor RWD with 200 kW and 360 Nm peak torque and dual motor AWD with 330 kW and 660 nM peak torque. All versions have 1.5T ICE that is not connected to the wheels but only charges the battery. The price starts at 249,800 yuan (35,200 USD) for the entry-level version and ends at 379,800 yuan (53,500 USD) for the top trim.
There is also a lot of Huawei software inside. Of course, it comes with HarmonyOS, but mainly, the M7 features an ADS 2.0 assisted driving system (ADAS), which Huawei claims can navigate highways and cities without HD maps. According to Huawei, by December, it should support navigation-assisted driving in all Chinese cities.
Aito currently has three cars in its lineup. Their first production car was the M5 SUV, launched in December 2021 as an electric range extended vehicle (EREV). Later, it added a BEV powertrain version. It was followed by the M7 SUV in 2022, and the latest is the large flagship SUV Aito M9 with 530 hp that rolled off the production line in October and presale for about 70,000 USD.
Huawei went all in during the Aito M7 launch, and it paid off. During 2023, the brand sales were struggling, around 4 thousand units per month, and Huawei was desperately and unsuccessfully trying to lift it above the 6k level at least. Well, it seems the Chinese tech giant got tired of it in September when they took advantage of that huge cash pile they sat on and launched an updated version of M7, almost 6k USD cheaper than the previous one. On top of that, they offered various perks and subsidies. It worked. Aito sold 12,700 cars in October, and the upcoming flagship M9 is getting a lot of positive headlines in China. Moreover, Huawei is using the power of its established network of hundreds of showrooms and retail stores to present cars next to mobile phones. Like it or not, Huawei is on its way to becoming one of the key players in China’s EV market.
The company that would feel the pressure from Huawei joining the price war would be Li Auto, which also focuses on SUV EREVs, with L7 and L8 being the most threatened. However, Li Auto’s sales keep rising, no matter how many perks Huawei offers. The same goes for BYD Tang, a PHEV SUV that is not affected by Aito’s successes. It almost seems the market for plug-in hybrid SUVs is inflammable in China.
Well, it should be, as more new models are coming in 2024, led by BYD’s Fang Cheng Bao, YangWang, and Denza. But also many smaller brands are joining, for example, Polestones 01 and Deepal S7. We will keep an eye on it.