LUMIN: A New A00-Level Pure Electric Car Released by Changan
This morning, Changan released a new A00-level pure electric car, LUMIN.
It is a small car priced at 48,900 to 63,900 yuan. Changan’s goal is very clear: to participate in the competition of the well-established and highly competitive A00-level pure electric car market that has emerged.
Market Cycles of Mini Cars
In fact, the market for this type of small-sized car has been in China for some time. The first season was actually opened by the QQ series of Chery; the second season was led by manufacturers such as “Old Laugh” in Shandong and Hebei. And now, the third season is dominated by Wuling Hongguang MINI EV, and various manufacturers have started to follow suit.
This reminds me of a saying that has long been said: history is a circle.
This “circle” reflects the different stages of China’s automobile consumption market, namely: when the automobile consumption market has just risen and needs to occupy the market, small cars like Chery QQ are indeed highly competitive with their good quality and low price.
And when the automobile market exploded in 2009 and the economic environment continued to improve, people’s wallets bulged, and they no longer needed so many small cars. This market was handed over to those “Old Laugh” manufacturers who are so unreliable in making cars for the elderly.
So, what about now? Is the transition from fuel cars to electric cars going to start over again?
Actually, it may not be a complete reshuffle, but demand has indeed been created. This demand is concentrated in a large part of consumers who do not want to give up their fuel cars and are willing to buy a pure electric car in addition to it. The psychological state is that they want to solve their urban travel needs but do not want to spend more money on a larger car.
For manufacturers, cheaper micro electric cars can first save the cost of producing cars and run more quantities. At the same time, it can produce carbon emission credits, so that they no longer have to unwillingly produce “three-cylinder” cars that seem to be technically acceptable but are not widely accepted by the market. From these two aspects, the booming development of micro electric cars is obviously reasonable.
So, we’ve seen the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV, which sold over 400,000 units last year, and the overall wholesale sales for the first four months of this year reached 342,000 units, up 62.1% from the same period last year, in a thriving market.
However, the cheap, practical, short-distance market without anxiety is not really a blue ocean market, because it has a lower entry threshold, which has created a red ocean market with intense competition. Therefore, “neijuan” is inevitable.
Obviously, Changan is trying to take the lead in the A00-level pure electric small car market, which is visible to the naked eye, by making LUMIN a quality small car.
How to Walk the Path of Competing Small Cars
Simplicity is almost everyone’s unanimous evaluation of micro pure electric vehicles. This is easy to understand. After all, it is difficult to balance cost and profit control when buying a car for 20,000 or 30,000, not to mention the range. Therefore, when the market has just opened and there are few products, most consumers will choose to accept it calmly and tolerate its shortcomings, or even absence, in configuration.
But now the situation has changed. Since there is strong demand in the A00-level pure electric vehicle market, and it can greatly help with carbon credit indicators and sales KPIs. It is natural that more and more manufacturers are joining in.
After the Wuling Hongguang MINI EV, the pioneer of the first generation of micro-cars, Chery revived the QQ series and named it “Ice Cream”. The little-known new force car brand, Zero Run, also started appearing on the sales charts with small cars like T03. Looking at the car brands with higher prices, including Baojun’s KiWi EV and Changan’s Benben E-Star, they are all upgraded versions of pure electric micro-cars (that is, more expensive, with better space, configuration, and endurance).
Therefore, the pricing of LUMIN has created a problem for itself: how to be more competitive.
Wide body, standard dual airbags, touch screen, AI predictive algorithm, and a one-meter-long anti-collision beam in the concealed and high-strength steel parts of the car. To put it bluntly, the comfort, vehicle technology, and travel safety have all been improved.
Under such comprehensive expansion, the overall width-to-height ratio of LUMIN reaches 0.9 (the overall width is 1700mm, and the height is 1545mm), which is almost a square. In the usual sense, such settings give the maximum comfort for lateral seating when unable to adjust front and rear.The 10.25-inch touchscreen provides a basic intelligent driving experience for the LUMIN mini car. Furthermore, features such as the NBooster intelligent braking system, energy recovery during braking, keyless entry and ignition, and the addition of a reverse radar and imaging system have improved the safety and stability of the vehicle.
In fact, for many of the familiar car products, these kinds of configurations have long been standard. However, when comparing the overall cost of the LUMIN and calculating the cost of ownership, one can understand that such improvements actually further compress the profit margin for Chang’an, while presenting a better product.
For a small car, its profit margin is already very limited, especially in the current environment of continuously rising lithium battery raw material prices and the need to restore the chip supply chain. Every step of improvement means an increase in cost.
Undeniably, LUMIN has some advantages as a latecomer. While other competitors either strengthen their configurations or create traditional versions like convertible, new color versions, and collaboration versions, LUMIN, as a newcomer, can further tap into market demand and adapt to win out in the environment of micro electric vehicles.
Scenarios bring about market expansion.
Do micro cars need emotional connections with people? In fact, the answer is yes. But in practice, it is not easy to achieve, mainly due to insufficient resource input.
Thus, this is actually a threshold that distinguishes between a car that is only used for commuting and an element that can make you feel close to and recognize your important travel partner. In fact, almost all A00-level pure electric car manufacturers consider commuting as the core scenario of their product. After all, they have limited conditions, neither having a larger body to expand usage scenarios, nor enough space to accommodate a larger battery.
But Chang’an LUMIN doesn’t seem to think so.
At today’s press conference, in addition to introducing the product features of LUMIN to everyone, Chang’an Automobile has put more emphasis on describing the travel scenarios. The scenes of two people’s daily travel, the storage scenes for traveling with children, and even camping scenes can all be included in the application scenarios of LUMIN.
Obviously, compared to larger, more spacious, and longer-range new energy vehicles, this kind of scenario still needs to use the space occupied by the rear seats to expand the trunk space, and even achieve it by installing a roof rack. However, looking at these needs integrated into the range of 155km, 210km, and 301km, it becomes more operational.
The diversified integration of scenarios strengthens the usability of LUMIN, but more importantly, it provides people with broader usage needs the opportunity to focus more on LUMIN when choosing a micro pure electric vehicle.
Of course, some people now think that the starting price of 48,900 yuan seems to exceed their understanding of the category of micro pure electric vehicles. But when we consider the overall product nature of LUMIN, the richer configuration, and the broader usage scenarios, the pricing becomes reasonable again.
Because from Changan’s positioning of LUMIN, it is not just a small car for commuting and earning carbon credits but a product crafted with care. This obviously involves the more macro-level issue of “curling” and upward breakthroughs in the positioning of A00-level small cars.
But no matter what, when we start to pay attention to LUMIN, it seems that we are not just paying attention to market recognition and product sales, but we can also look at the problem horizontally. If its appearance has driven more upward breakthroughs in the statistics of micro pure electric vehicles, then Changan’s attempt to achieve upward breakthroughs in micro electric vehicles through LUMIN has also been successful.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.