The consumer electronic giant unveiled its first car, Xiaomi SU7, on December 28. Lei Jun, the company’s CEO and founder, didn’t leave the stage for three hours, passionately presenting all the technologies Xiaomi developed for its new EV. The battery capacity, motor power, various SW features, and many other specs were disclosed, but one thing was left behind – the price.
Xiaomi is a young company founded in 2010 as a software startup developing a modified ROM of Android OS called MIUI. A year later, Xiaomi launched its first phone, M1, which was like SU7, contract-manufactured by a third party.
Despite being relatively late in the smartphone race, Xiaomi phones became popular. The reason was simple. They launched top-specs, high-end phones, competing with Samsung’s flagships, but for half the price. Only later, Xiaomi launched its more mass-market brand, Redmi, and started selling budget phones.
Xiaomi didn’t have any retail stores then, and by cutting the middleman, distributors, and other third parties could offer the same specs as Samsung for half the price. “From factory right to the customer” was the company’s unofficial motto. It was also a great marketing tool as the phones were sold in batches online. A batch of 100,000 phones was often sold out in a few seconds, generating a positive PR for the company.
With this in mind, many Xiaomi fans expected the same pricing strategy for the EV business. And the company already feels the pressure and lots of anticipation. Lei Jun even had to address unrealistic expectations during the SU7 unveiling event: “Stop trolling; the car won’t be priced at 99,000 yuan (USD 14,000) nor 149,000 yuan (USD 21,000). Show some respect for the technology behind the car, ” he added with slight displeasure.
Jun later hinted that a car with the same configuration and battery would cost 400,000 yuan (USD 56,000).
It wasn’t the first time Jun had to comment on the SU7 price: “It will be a bit expensive, but still reasonable,” he said earlier in December. That is pretty unusual for the CEO of a mass-market automaker, and it just demonstrates what fans expect from Xiaomi.
The company PR was trying to manage expectations as fans’ disappointment might backfire heavily when the price is revealed. However, they might push the narrative about the “expensive car” too much, and fake posters with Xiaomi SU7 priced at 369,000 yuan and 599,000 yuan started circulating on Chinese social networks earlier this week.
“Until the official Xiaomi Auto product launch conference, all posters with Xiaomi car and prices are all fake,” posted Wang Hua, Head of PR at Xioami, on his Weibo.
And Hua continued: “It is impossible to have pricing and policies before the official release. Don’t believe the so-called insider rumors. No one knows the real price or the official release time because nothing has yet been determined. How do you evaluate whether the pricing poster you see is genuine? It’s very simple. Check Xiaomi Auto’s official account to see if it has been posted and if I have posted it.”
In early December, the date of the Xiaomi conference leaked, and the company made a statement where it denied the rumor as completely fake. It said that the date wasn’t decided yet and it won’t be December 28. The Xiaomi SU7 conference was then held on December 28.
On January 2, Lei Jun hinted at the price again, saying that SU7 has no competitor in its class and the 500,000 yuan (USD 70,000) segment.
CarNewsChina expects the price of SU7 to be about 300,000 yuan (42,000 USD). Xiaomi confirmed that SU7 started trial production in December and, according to Lei Jun, will hit the market in the first half of the year. SU7 already arrived at some Xiaomi stores in China.