HiPhi Y Launches with Lower Price: Can it Boost the Sales of HiPhi?

On July 15th, HiPhi, a subsidiary of HiPhi, officially launched its third model, HiPhi Y. Compared to the previous models, HiPhi X and HiPhi Z, which were priced over 600,000 RMB, the HiPhi Y has made a significant price dip.

However, as Ding Lei stated in an interview in February of last year: “Even if we delve into a wider user base, our products are still impressive, distinct, and avant-garde”. Let’s take a look at what makes the HiPhi Y so special.

The HiPhi Y comes in 4 versions:

— Pioneer Edition priced at 339,000 RMB, with a 560km range;

— Elite Edition priced at 369,000 RMB, also with a 560km range;

— Long-Range Edition priced at 399,000 RMB, with an 810km range;

— Flagship Edition priced at 449,000 RMB, with a 765km range.

While making a significant price cut, HiPhi Y also comes standard with full-speed rear-wheel steering, second-generation NT wing doors, British Bowers & Wilkins sound system, and 16 other attractive features.

Clearly, relying solely on the HiPhi X and HiPhi Z, two high-end flagship models, can uphold the HiPhi’s prestige but not its sales volume. Consequently, HiPhi is now focusing on increasing its sales.

Since last September, HiPhi has not announced its monthly sales for 11 consecutive months.

If they want to run more stably and further on the NEV track, creating a product that can uphold sales volume is an urgent and necessary task for HiPhi.

The pressure is now on HiPhi Y.

The ‘loudest’ car in its class

For HiPhi X and HiPhi Z, while there remains room for improvement on product strength, they present some serious imagination in design and configuration, especially the “NT wing door” and “PML programmable smart light” that once made HiPhi X popular.

These two features are also carried over to HiPhi Y and come standard. Additionally, in terms of exterior, HiPhi Y inherits the sci-fi design language from HiPhi X, giving the HiPhi Y a very high recognition rate compared to competitors of the same price range.

If a user drives a HiPhi Y, the car would likely draw a lot of attention. Whether it’s the NT wing doors opening or the PML programmable smart lights lighting up, the user and HiPhi Y would surely be the ‘loudest’ person and car.Aside from being the most extravagant vehicle, HiPhi Y’s dimensions, with a length, width, and height of 4,938/1,958/1,658 mm and a wheelbase of 2,950 mm, categorize it as a mid-to-large SUV.

Among the high-end electric models in the same price bracket, HiPhi Y has few competitors aside from the Cadillac LYRIQ, which recently dropped its price to around 350,000 RMB. It is, in essence, the largest high-end electric vehicle in its price range.

Of course, the HiPhi Y should not be underestimated in other areas as well.

Surprise in the Interior

Inside, HiPhi Y comes equipped with a standard 12.3-inch instrument panel, a 17-inch control screen, a 15-inch co-driver screen, a 9.2-inch streaming rear-view mirror, and a 22.9-inch head-up display.

Behind the control screen, HiPhi Y comes with a standard infinitely adjustable mechanical arm that can rotate longitudinally from 0 to 25 degrees. This feature, which can be controlled by voice commands, helps the user avoid glare from the sun. There are also magnetic areas on the sides of the instrument panel where users can place their phones and other items to personalize their cockpit.

Although HiPhi Y already has a significant number of screens, there’s another one that isn’t on the HiPhi Y, but rather with the user.

In the center of the roof, HiPhi Y comes standard with a HiPhi Port extension dock. This can be fitted with braces to hold a tablet for rear cabin entertainment . It can also connect to a Go Pro or projector.

With this, HiPhi Y’s “color TV” is complete. And you can’t have a “TV” without a “sofa”.

The rear seats of HiPhi Y come standard with two-position backrest angle adjustment and three-position heating function. The thickest part of the seat cushion is 11.3 cm, and the longest part is 51.8 cm, which provides good support for the user’s body. Of course, the front seats aren’t left out either, they come standard with three-level ventilation, heating, and massage functions.

With a “TV” and “sofa” in place, the only thing missing is a “fridge”.

In consideration of front and rear passengers, HiPhi Y has placed a 6.4L fridge under the armrest box, covering numerous temperature ranges from -6℃, 0-20℃, and 40-50℃. However, the fridge is an optional extra.

In terms of comfort, whether through its choice of materials, design, or configurations, it’s evident that the HiPhi Y has been created with careful consideration.

Power and Driving Feel Superior

When it comes to power, HiPhi Y comes in single and dual motor versions. The single motor version has a maximum power of 247 kW and maximum torque of 410 N・m. The dual motor version has a maximum power of 371 kW and maximum torque of 620 N・m, accelerating from zero to hundred in as little as 4.7 s.
When endowed with sufficient power, HiPhi Y comes equipped across all models with structure suspension composed of double wishbone at the front and five-link at the rear, along with CDC continuously variable damping shocks, full-speed rear wheel steering and Brembo four-piston brake calipers at the front.

According to those who have test-driven HiPhi Y, the driving experience supercedes many competitive models.

Plenty of Intelligent Features

In terms of assisted driving, HiPhi Y is equipped with NVIDIA Orin-X + Texas Instruments TDA4 chips. The vehicle is fitted with 31 driving assistance sensors, including 13 cameras, 5 millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic radars, and an optional Velodyne LiDAR.

In building its smart cabin, HiPhi Y uses the Qualcomm 8155 chip for its central control screen and the Qualcomm QCS 8250 chip for the copilot screen. The overall operation is reasonably smooth.

Comparing HiPhi Y’s price and product strength, HiPhi is all in for a mass-market product.

Is HiPhi Really Ready for Mass Production?

HiPhi is serious about making HiPhi Y a mass product. But is HiPhi really prepared for this?

From the content above, in terms of the product, HiPhi Y combines the advantages of HiPhi’s previous two products. It has certain competitive edge in price, space, endurance, and driving experience among its peers. HiPhi Y is capable of defeating and withstanding competitors.

HiPhi is well-prepared on the product side. What about in other regards?

Brand Empowerment is an Unknown

Although HiPhi seems to follow the path of brands like Tesla and NIO, establishing a brand tone with high-end luxury models first, then gradually exploring downwards to form brand potential, in reality, HiPhi and Tesla, NIO, etc. are not identical.

The prerequisite for a high-end brand to form brand potential by exploring downwards to the mid-to-low end is that the initial high-end image of the brand is solid. Either the brand sells well and is acclaimed like the Tesla Mode S/X; or like NIO’s EP9, which is not for sale at all, but sets records at Nürburgring, given to NIO’s investors, Li Bin’s friends, filled with enriching stories and symbolizing the brand like a totem.

However, the market performance of HiPhi X and HiPhi Z has not helped HiPhi establish a sufficiently influential image to compete with brands of the same level, nor are there captivating stories behind the products.From the perspective of users, HiPhi Y doesn’t so much look like a ‘step-down’ for the luxury brand as a ‘compromise’ instead.

When actually buying HiPhi Y, exactly how much motivation the HiPhi brand can provide its users might differ from person to person – at present, everyone seems to have their own answer.

HiPhi is Financially Solid

HiPhi has never disclosed its profit and loss situation but from 4349 total vehicles sold in 2022, calculating with an average unit price of 800,000 Yuan, HiPhi’s 2022 sales volume amounts to around 34.79 billion Yuan. For an independent high-end brand enterprise, such achievements don’t necessarily look impressive.

However, Ding Lei clearly expressed: “Human Horizons has original capital from the United States, government investment, and there are currently no plans to launch private equity, neither will there be Rounds A, B, C, D of investment.”

Meanwhile, in June, the Saudi Arabian News Agency reported that Saudi Arabia’s Investment Department and Human Horizons signed a deal worth approximately $5.6 billion, to jointly develop, manufacture, and sell electric vehicles. Allegedly, a memorandum of understanding has also been signed between both parties.

So, as things stand, HiPhi seems financially capable to pave the way for HiPhi Y.

Production Capacity needs a Boost

Perspectively, HiPhi currently operates a city boutique factory in Yancheng, Jiangsu, with a maximum annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles.

Comparatively with NIO and LI who fundamentally have an annual capacity well above 300,000 vehicles, HiPhi’s city boutique factory looks unable to support the mass production for HiPhi Y, much less if considering the factory still needs to produce HiPhi X and HiPhi Z.

Thus, once HiPhi Y enters a solid sales phase, there could probably occur problems like delivery delays due to inadequate capacity, thereby limiting sales growth for HiPhi Y.

Reportedly, HiPhi had revealed plans last year to build a new production base in LaiXi, Qingdao, which haven’t made any significant progress.

HiPhi certainly needs to pick up the pace for increasing its production capabilities.

Store Expansion is Required

According to the latest data from the official website, HiPhi’s national stores are around 88, predominantly in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and provincial capitals.

When it comes to stores, HiPhi has a significant gap with peers – currently, NIO’s stores total 379, and LI has exceeded 310.

Due to HiPhi’s initial high and niche positioning coupled with a less attractive price, HiPhi’s store layout is bound to be limited, but now, with the price threshold cut in half and dipped into a fiercely competitive 350,000 level market, for HiPhi, which has no first-mover advantage in this market, the lack of store count might significantly hinder the initial stage of sales growth.
Without sufficient stores, the volume of HiPhi Y wouldn’t have enough battleground. In terms of store layout, HiPhi is speeding up desperately.

In general, to achieve the volume of HiPhi Y, HiPhi have prepared a heavyweight product, but the establishment of a complete system for volumetric products is somewhat lagging behind. In the crazy roll-in of the current new energy market, it’s not easy for HiPhi to achieve a rise in sales.

In Conclusion

In 2021, Netease’s founder, Ding Lei stated, “I don’t pursue scaling at this stage”,and disliked the terminology “volume”.

However, there is a gigantic gap between the massive investment of the automobile industry and HiPhi’s formerly niche products. If you want to bridge this gap, “scaling” and “volume” are things that have to be faced.

Digital life, tech luxury, dawn breakers… HiPhi in the past always looked very unconventional, and even somewhat aloof. But the “cold in the heights” that no one cares about may not be more meaningful than the lively “human world”.

On the eve of HiPhi Y’s launch, I arrived at HiPhi’s Global Harbor store in Shanghai around 21:10 in the evening, and found it was much livelier than when I used to come at the same time.

I left around 21:50, and during the 40 minutes interval, approximately 3 – 4 groups of customers came to inquire about HiPhi Y, and HiPhi’s salespersons were in an excited state of car introducing.

Now, the HiPhi Y has finally arrived, will it keep HiPhi’s stores and even the entire HiPhi brand lively?

This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email bd@42how.com.