FAW Bestune Pony rolls off production line

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Today saw the first FAW Bestune Pony micro EV cars roll off the assembly line of the Yancheng factory of FAW Group. These cars will be delivered to the first group of users ahead of the cars official launch on May 28. Also disclosed was FAW’s plans for the Yancheng factory along with two new products, the E311 and E541, to be produced there.

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Bestune, formerly known as Besturn, is the mainstream brand of FAW. In recent years Bestune sales have stalled and last year were 120,666 compared to over 370,000 for Hongqi. Around a decade ago Bestune easily outsold FAW’s Hongqi brand.

Part of the plan to revitalize the brand is to make it into a new energy brand starting with the Pony. The Bestune Pony (Xiaoma in Chinese) began presales on April 30 with three models. Prices started at 28,900 yuan (4,000 USD) for the 122 km range Cute Horse and went up to 34,900 yuan (4,850 USD) for the 170 km range Vitality Horse. A three-door, four-seater micro EV it is very much in the style of the Wuling Hongguang  Mini EV. It measures in at 3000, 1510 and 1630 mm (l/w/h) while the wheelbase is 1953 mm. Power comes from a 20 kW electric motor which can deliver 85 Nm of torque. Inside technology doesn’t consist of much more than a 7-inch digital instrument display. One good thing is that there is no center console, with the gear selection moved to a knob on the dashboard.

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Plans call for seven new energy vehicles over the next 3 years for Bestune, presumably the Pony is the first of these. Next up will be the E311 (product codename) an SUV which will probably debut at the Guangzhou Auto Show later this year. Production of the all-electric SUV is likely to begin late this year or early next year. This will be followed by the E541 sedan. It is possible that the new energy models will be spun off into a different brand. Already the badge on the Pony and E311 is different to the one currently used by Bestune. The brand has also announced that no new fuel models will be developed although existing cars will be remodeled and replaced. By 2028 FAW plans to sell 1 million of its own brand cars a year.

The Yancheng Branch of FAW was established in December 2023. Yancheng is a city in Jiangsu Province. Currently the factory there covers 20,000 square meters and can produce 70,000 vehicles a year. By December this year 30 new production lines will be added, and the automation rate increased by 50% along with efficiency increased by 30%. These measures will increase annual capacity to 100,000. Further improvements will see this increase to 150,000 by November 2025 when upgrades to the intelligent manufacturing in six major units will be complete, along with  70% recycling of packaging materials and a 2000 yuan (300 USD) reduction per vehicle in manufacturing costs.

FAW Yancheng factory development

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Source: Autohome

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