Author: French Fries Fish
“The third car from JiKe, not necessarily called JiKe 003.”
On the first Monday morning after the Chinese New Year holiday, spy photos of JiKe’s new car during overseas testing were seen all over Weibo. However, what’s even more noteworthy is that the top management of the car company is personally involved – according to the naming rules of JiKe’s first two cars, 001 and 009, people instinctively think that the new car might be called 003, but the words of Yang Xueliang, the vice president of Geely, still aroused the curiosity of many.
Nothing is more exciting than unveiling a mystery.
JiKe officially announced the name of its third car model, ZEEKR X.
Sleek Small Car
Along with the name of ZEEKR X, the first official image also came.
As the brand’s first A-class luxury SUV, ZEEKR X was also created by the design team of Stephen Silaff. The family heritage is most evident in the daytime running lights on the front face.
The new car’s angular daytime running lights are in the same style as JiKe 009, but it also maintains an individual style in terms of its form, which deserves praise in today’s trend of “nesting” front faces.
The muscular lines on the hood resemble those of a bodybuilder, announcing its sense of strength.
The side view best expresses the A-class car positioning. At 4450mm in length, the car is definitely not small in the A-class car family, and the 2750mm wheelbase reveals the platform’s breath. As the perspective zooms in, another feature of ZEEKR X is that there are no physical door handles on the side, but two small buttons can be vaguely found on the B and C pillars when the picture is enlarged. The electric button opening method also matches the rumor of an electric door.“`
After removing the door handle, on the one hand, the smoother and more streamlined side lines can bring lower air resistance from the objective performance, thereby seeking longer range; on the other hand, subtraction is also a classic presentation technique of the “minimalism” concept. In addition to the door handle, the frameless doors, frameless rearview mirrors, and even the hidden charging port used by ZEEKR X all emphasize the minimalist concept repeatedly.
The first impression of the rear of the car is echoed by the daytime running lights in the front of the car. The two-stage taillights are like “black sheep that pierced through the era of through-lights.”
A new product line of the brand?
From the naming method that is different from the existing product line, it is hard not to guess that ZEEKR X may be a new product line of GeeK. And further evidence of this guess is a design detail originating from the tail of the car.
Geek 001 and Geek 009 are completely different product forms, one is a hunting-style coupe and the other is a luxury MPV. But if you have observed them carefully, you will find some common features. They use the same intelligent driving solution from Mobileye, so their external intelligent driving cameras also use the same layout.
The most obvious is the rearview camera protruding outward at the top of the rear of the car on both vehicles.
However, this design has been removed on ZEEKR X. Looking from the side, the roof of the new car is smooth and streamlined; looking from the rear, except for a long strip slightly protruding above the rear windshield, there is nothing on the roof.“`
Perhaps ZEEKR X has integrated the protruding camera into this elongated strip? However, from the perspective of the supply chain or the convenience of calibration work for intelligent driving system, I am more inclined to believe that ZEEKR X adopts a different intelligent driving scheme from Zeekr 001 and Zeekr 009.
Another evidence that leads to this speculation comes from the recent all-staff letter written by Zeekr CEO An Conghui, in which he said, “This year, our sustained high R&D investment will enter a harvest period.” Under the big title of “Breakthrough in Intelligence,” such an statement seems to suggest that Zeekr will have more legs to walk on in the field of intelligent driving solutions.
Ignoring the current effect, from the perspective of cost alone, Zeekr 001 and Zeekr 009 adopt the Mobileye SuperVision solution that uses 7 high-definition cameras with 8 million pixels each. It is reasonable for ZEEKR X, a relatively entry-level positioning, to choose a more economical new solution.
A dispute over positioning?
When it comes to positioning, based on the SEA vast architecture platform, “3-second Club Acceleration,” and a 2750mm wheelbase, ZEEKR X’s appearance has led many people to associate it with its sister model, smart #1. Since the delivery began at the end of last year, with the aura of Mercedes-Benz design, rounded and agile styling, and gender-neutral style, smart #1’s 2022 production has been sold out a long time ago, and the starting price of nearly 200,000 yuan has confirmed the crazy demand of the increasingly mature domestic consumer market for high-quality small cars.
Although stylistically different, there is no doubt that ZEEKR X is also following the high-quality small car route.
“`”According to Geely’s high-end pure electric brand, ZEEKR, the company will not release any products priced below 200,000 RMB,” Yang Xueliang recently confirmed in a public statement on Weibo, setting the price floor for the ZEEKR X. “The fact that the starting price of the new vehicle is higher than that of the smart #1 has already been confirmed.”
As a result, discussions between these two sister car models have become a hot topic. Some people say that the smart #1 has added emotional appeal, and that ZEEKR, as a new brand, does not have a clear advantage in this regard. Can a car model from the same platform support this selling price? Others say that from the price of the Geely 001, the price range for ZEEKR X is expected to be between 200,000 and 300,000 RMB, which will be relatively close to the smart #1. Will this lead to “internal conflicts” within the same group?
To this, I have two “no’s” to say.
First, I do not deny the disadvantage that ZEEKR has in terms of emotional appeal, but the same platform does not mean the same configuration. Any shortcomings of ZEEKR in terms of emotional appeal will certainly be compensated for in terms of configuration. High configuration has always been a tradition of the ZEEKR brand, as evidenced by both the 001 and the 009. The ZEEKR X’s door-less handle design also speaks volumes. Therefore, a price floor of 200,000 RMB does not mean “undervalued”.
On the other hand, I think concerns about “internal conflicts” are unnecessary. Please note that both cars carry the hallmark of boutique cars. The target group of boutique cars considers price as a secondary sensitive factor, otherwise, they would not have looked at compact cars with prices exceeding 200,000 RMB. Furthermore, boutique car owners undoubtedly have clearer and more specific sub-divided needs. The styles of ZEEKR X and the smart #1 are clearly evident. One caters to the appetite for robust technological configurations, while the other captures the heart of fans who love their appearance and emotional connection. Under different directions, why should there be competition between the two?
In comparison, I am more looking forward to whether ZEEKR X can surprise us in some critical hardware. For example, will Geely’s first-run battery brand, Kirin Battery’s CTP3.0 technology be applied in relatively smaller capacity batteries? Will this A-level compact car be equipped with CTP3.0 batteries, thus creating a more distinct differentiation in the underlying configuration compared with the sister car models?”“`markdown
Let time fly for a while and everything will be revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show in April. After all, with the flag of “delivery of 140,000 vehicles in 2023” and “instant hit upon launch” already set, and the European strategy set to land soon, ZEEKR will surely establish a more complete product lineup.
“‘X’ represents infinity and is the beginning of unlocking all great equations,” this is ZEEKR’s interpretation of ‘X’, and it is also the definition of the starting point for ZEEKR X.
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.