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Author: Zheng Senhong
“Products priced like this in the past would have been beaten to death.”
On March 27th, the positioning of the RisingAuto F7 as a mid-to-large luxury sedan was officially launched, and an industry insider commented like this.
The RisingAuto F7 has a total of six models to choose from, with a price range of 209,900 yuan to 301,900 yuan.
- Basic version 66kWh lithium iron phosphate battery 209,900 yuan (to be released in the second half of 2023)
- Advanced version 77kWh 229,900 yuan, with the Pro version of high-end intelligent driving system priced at 249,900 yuan, and a power separation scheme priced at 145,900 yuan;
- 90kWh long-endurance version (single motor) 249,900 yuan, with the Pro version of high-end intelligent driving system priced at 269,900 yuan, and a power separation scheme priced at 149,900 yuan;
- 90kWh performance Pro version (dual motor) 301,900 yuan, power separation scheme priced at 201,900 yuan.
From the perspective of positioning, the NIO ET7, IM L7, and Mercedes-Benz EQE are more like RisingAuto F7’s competitors, but the real price has a certain competitive relationship with BYD Han EV, Hippo, Tesla Model 3, NIO ET5, XPeng P7i, and Lingpai C01.
This is also the reason why the server was overwhelmed when RisingAuto F7 was launched.
The reason behind this is not difficult to guess. In the current situation where the domestic auto market is frantically reducing prices, the price of the product exceeds the product power.
This includes the 99,800 yuan BYD Qin PLUS and the entire series of price reductions for Zerouno cars.
As an insider of RisingAuto said:
The price of F7 is indeed affected by the current market environment. RisingAuto Automobile is still in the initial stage, and the brand awareness has some room for improvement. We hope that through this pricing, users can truly experience the RisingAuto F7.
Obviously, in the face of this price war, the RisingAuto F7 has plunged into the most fiercely competitive market of pure electric sedans priced at 200,000 yuan.
AimHighWinLow: RisingAuto’s misalignment competition
In 2020, the domestic B-class pure electric sedan market was mainly dominated by Tesla Mode 3, BYD Han, and XPeng P7.“`
After three years, this segmented market has consistently accounted for more than 20% of monthly sales, with most months being above 25%, making it the backbone category of the domestic pure electric market.
For this reason, all car companies with sedan product lines have launched same-level models to participate in the competition, including NETA S, Leapmotor C01, NIO ET5, etc.
If we ignore the price, how can the Flevin F7 get close to these strong competitors?
During the entire 45-minute press conference, more than half of Flevin CEO Wu Bing’s speech was about the cockpit, in order to highlight one of Flevin F7’s core selling points – “comfort“.
On the one hand, the SAIC E2 architecture’s battery pack adopts a horizontal cell, which reduces the thickness of the battery pack by about 30mm compared to the traditional battery pack, effectively reducing the battery pack’s vertical space invasion of the cabin. The rear seats also have the longest 496mm cushion length and the thickest 40mm cushion filling in the same category.
On the other hand, the Flevin F7 creates a cockpit experience that surpasses the same level from three dimensions of seat comfort, audio-visual effects, and NVH, and even proposes a proprietary term-“Bach cockpit“.
It is reported that Flevin spent three years collecting samples from more than 3,000 drivers in major areas of the country when developing the F7 model. By scanning the human body curve, they established China’s first full index database of Chinese body features. This database has become the core indicator for Flevin F7 to optimize the seat experience for the Chinese people.
The upgrade of seat comfort is almost impossible to feel from the appearance, only if you sit in and drive for a while.
Regarding this type of change with strong concealment, there is also “NVH noise reduction“.
As a comparison, the noise performance of Flevin F7 at speeds of 60km/h, 80km/h, and 120km/h is similar to that of ET7, surpassing JiKe 001, BYD Han, and Xpeng P7.
“`Simply put, the FEIFAN F7 is a vehicle that clearly defines its positioning, maximizes driving comfort, and competes with the first-tier models in terms of range, power performance, and intelligence. In addition to its price advantage, the FEIFAN F7 sets itself apart from competitors through its unique selling points. When compared to competitors like NIO ES5 and JAC IEV7S, although the FEIFAN F7 falls slightly behind in terms of range, performance, and intelligence, it is considered “cost-effective” by users due to its 70,000 RMB price difference.
When compared to competitors at a similar price point, such as the BYD Han EV, SEA Lion, and Leapmotor C01, the FEIFAN F7 is marginally ahead in terms of comfort, performance, and intelligence.
In the sub-segment and overall electric vehicle market of the B-class pure electric sedan market, the Tesla Model 3 is an important competitor. Among the competing models against the Tesla Model 3, there are only two types of competitors: those that are more expensive than the Model 3 (such as the BYD Han, SEA Lion, and Xpeng P7i) and those that are cheaper than the Model 3 (such as the LiONESS, Leapmotor C01). The FEIFAN F7 is strategically positioned in between these two categories, emphasizing its price advantage and configuration capabilities.
As a vehicle that emphasizes both cost-effectiveness and well-balanced product capabilities, the FEIFAN F7 appears to be headed in the right direction.
Targeting Gasoline Car Market While Appearing to Compete with New Entrants
In terms of the market landscape, the intermediate car market has long been dominated by “German duo” Passat and Magotan, as well as “Japanese trio” Accord, Teana, and Camry.
According to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the sales champion in the intermediate car market for 2022 is the Toyota Camry, with total sales of 242,200 units throughout the year. Honda Accord, Volkswagen Passat, and Volkswagen Magotan followed behind with total sales of 232,900 units, 176,600 units, and 152,400 units, respectively. Despite being the only purely electric model of them all, the Tesla Model 3 placed ninth with sales of only 124,400 units.“`
This also indicates that the B-class car market is still dominated by fuel vehicles, and at the same time, it means that pure electric models have a huge space for expansion in this subdivision market.
Combined with the price range of 200,000-300,000 yuan, the Flevin F7, positioned as a C-class car with the product strength of a D-class, can no longer be described as “oil and electricity at the same price” or “a downgrading attack”, which is also why Flevin F7 dares to face higher difficulty in the subdivision market and take the lead in entering the territory of fuel vehicles.
This “high-low competition” price-performance strategy also truly reflects the current situation where some car brands have little influence.
In the price range of 200,000-300,000 yuan, Tesla, BYD, XPeng, and Zeekr have all seized the market.
Although Flevin has the support of SAIC, there is still a gap in brand awareness and market size with the above-mentioned brands, which is also Flevin’s current biggest dilemma.
When it comes to the price of F7, Wu Bing said: “If a brand cannot sell more than 10,000 per month, or 100,000 per year, it will lose its brand recognition in the current fierce competition, so we must quickly occupy the market.”
“In 2022, the sales volume of passenger cars priced between 200,000 and 300,000 yuan in China will be around 3.7 million, and this market is very promising. This is the core market of the Flevin brand, and we hope to let more users know about the Flevin brand through F7.” Wu Bing added.
Wu Bing once regarded R7 as the key model that would determine the success or failure of the Flevin brand in the future, believing that R7 should sell 10,000 units in 2022.
However, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers shows that the cumulative sales of Flevin R7 in January and February this year were only 702, of which only 200 were sold in February, and the total sales in the past year were less than 4,000.
R7’s debut is obviously far from satisfactory, which is completely inconsistent with the original expectations. F7, on the other hand, is undoubtedly a comeback work that Flevin Automobile has once again placed high hopes on.
“\”F7 sales plan is to be in TOP 3 in the segmented market, and strive to exceed the sales of NIO ET5\” – this is the internal market expectation for F7 in FEV.
For reference, currently, the monthly sales volume of ET5 is maintained at around 6,000 vehicles, and NIO’s target for ET5 is to sell more than 163,700 units of BMW 3 Series (cumulative sales in 2022).
In 2022, FEV’s total annual sales were only 14,532 vehicles, which is equivalent to at least a five-fold increase in the sales target for F7 alone this year.
The 200,000-300,000 sedan market is the most competitive and demanding segmented market.
From the perspective of fuel vehicles, users who purchase Camry, Accord, and Magotan seek balanced product power; while buyers of BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class seek identity.
At the same time, this market can also best reflect the technical strength, quality level, and market competitiveness of an automotive brand – this is also one of the core reasons why BYD and Tesla can become a sharp weapon in the B-class sedan market structure.
Tactically, in the face of this segmented market, which is both an opportunity and a challenge, FEV can only rely on price and configuration to compete and exchange the growth time of the brand for profit space.
This path has been successfully validated by JiKe in 2022.
At this press conference, Wang Yongqiang, the general manager of FEV’s product technology center, said: “From the perspective of an enterprise, if we want to survive for a long time, we must show the greatest sincerity within the scope we can afford.”
In other words, before FEV becomes a popular model, the system capability needs to make up for the deficiencies. If F7 cannot increase sales and expand market influence, then the next-round competition may be even more difficult for FEV.”
From the perspective of the number of sales channels, RisingAuto does not have an absolute advantage, and can only be regarded as part of the second-tier group including extreme Ke and ARCFOX.
As of now, RisingAuto has only 172 sales outlets in 64 cities in China, and 14 delivery centers in 12 cities.
Although the number of sales outlets cannot be directly equated with sales volume, for example, Tesla has fewer sales outlets than Voyah Automobile, and is almost equal to Hechuang Automobile, but Tesla China’s monthly delivery volume can reach about 80,000 vehicles.
For new automakers, brand recognition needs to be established step by step. Relying solely on online evaluations and product launches makes it difficult for consumers to directly buy cars.
Even if the product and marketing are done well, it is still difficult to achieve conversion of orders and delivery volume if consumers cannot see your stores and feel your real cars.
Sun Shaojun, the founder of Che Fans, revealed that the terminal sales channel of RisingAuto F7 did not exceed four digits on the night of its listing, and the core reason was seriously limited terminal sales channels.
According to the plan, RisingAuto will increase the proportion of independent after-sales service stations to 90% this year and accelerate the layout of channel outlets.
In terms of actual user experience, RisingAuto’s battery exchange lineup includes Ningde Times, PetroChina and Sinopec. Currently, only three battery exchange stations in Shanghai are in operation.
“The selection of battery exchange stations in cities such as Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, and Zhengzhou have been basically completed and are progressing through approval and construction processes.”
Although RisingAuto’s layout in battery exchange stations is still in the initial stage, the number of battery exchange stations and brand sales volume are also a pair of twin relationships.
2023 is not only the year when the elimination game begins, but also the year when the competition of system capabilities begins.
Previously, the product may have been the key point to impress users, but now, in addition to the product, a complete and smooth car purchase and use experience is more critical for consumers.
Developing a sales network and building battery exchange stations are not easy tasks for both RisingAuto and SAIC.
From the market’s response, the launch of the F7 has indeed received a lot of recognition, and it can even be said to be the strongest rebound in RisingAuto’s history. However, whether RisingAuto can continue this momentum and make breakthroughs still has a long way to go.
Overloading the server is only the beginning. The ultimate delivery volume is the only criterion to test the success or failure of the product.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email email@example.com.