I was primarily persuaded by its safety features. So much so, that I made a booking for the AITO M7 on the very first day of its release.
Regardless, the AITO M7 is, without a doubt, a fantastic car.
Hello everyone, the new AITO M7 quickly became a hit upon its release, garnering over sixty thousand bookings within a month. Why has the M7 gained such significant recognition? In this edition of 42Talk, we’ve invited two owners of the AITO M7 five-seater Smart Drive Edition to discuss their thought process during their car-purchasing journey. Let’s dive in!
Mr. Gao: 30 years old, resides in Xi’an, Shaanxi. A BYD Qin DM-i owner who made a booking on October 6.
Mr. Wang: 35 years old, resides in Suzhou, Jiangsu. A LEAPMOTOR T03 owner who made a booking on October 4.
Why Choose AITO M7?
I primarily bought this car for personal family use. In my opinion, most buyers who purchase this model are probably in the same boat. Given our age, I find myself preferring sedans.
Most would opt for the AITO M7 or vehicles in the same category, like LI, as a family car. I doubt many would require such a large vehicle for single-person use. I own a BYD Qin DM-i, but lately, as my child grows, I’ve found it increasingly inadequate in terms of space, comfort, and functionality.
My main use for the car is commuting, along with occasional family use during holidays or for outings.
Key Factors Considered When Purchasing A Car
The primary factor I considered was safety. At our age, safety becomes the most critical consideration, whether for ourselves or family.
Then, I consider the car’s space and intelligence, which includes the vehicle’s intelligent systems and assisted driving features. Assisted driving, in fact, further complements the car’s safety aspect. The two factors can be viewed separately or as a combined feature.
I previously owned a LEAPMOTOR T03, which essentially had no intelligent driving capabilities. I’ve always been keen on watching the development of intelligent systems. At the time of the Xpeng P7 first generation’s release, the Smart Drive wasn’t fully developed, but now I believe it’s evolved to a satisfactory state. Furthermore, I’m quite open to trying out Smart Drive, as driving can be tiring during long hauls or highway drives.
Like Mr. Wang, I consider safety as my top priority. If a vehicle fails to meet the quality and safety standards, all other features are akin to castles in the air. As parents, safety is our main concern.
The second key factor, for me, is Smart Drive. I’m required to road trip from Shaanxi to Hunan 2~3 times a year, each journey being around 3,000 kilometers. Without Smart Drive, these long-haul drives can be particularly challenging and tiring. Thirdly, I consider intelligence, features like a smart cockpit and the likes.### Did I Buy AITO Because of Huawei?
If it wasn’t for Huawei’s endorsement, I probably wouldn’t buy it. I consider myself a fan of Huawei, I have bought a lot of Huawei products.
Many cars have the smart driving capability, including those from Huawei, Xpeng, NIO, LI, etc. Currently, the most recognized in terms of smart driving are essentially Huawei and Xpeng. These two are relatively advanced ones. But if AITO didn’t have Huawei’s endorsement, I would definitely choose Xpeng, because I prefer pure electric vehicles.
I think the discussion about AITO M7 cannot be separated from the term “Huawei”. Why? Every aspect of the AITO M7 has the shadow of Huawei. Without Huawei, would this car still be within our consideration? Without Huawei, which part of it is better than other cars? After thinking, I found it might not be outstanding.
I said in a previous interview with 308, if the whole decision-making process is based on 10 points, maybe 8 points are because Huawei impressed me. But it’s not that I bought the AITO M7 because I like this brand, but because it really did well.
Models Compared At The Time Of Purchase
In fact, until now, I still want to buy a pure electric vehicle. I had seriously considered the Xpeng P7 when it first came on the market. At that time, I hadn’t bought my first car, but then for a variety of reasons, I bought a BYD.
Why didn’t I choose Xpeng when I was buying the second car? Although I like it in many ways and am very satisfied with the car, I always feel that Xpeng lacks a final push, a push that can truly drive my decision. As for what it lacks, I can’t say. Looking at the recent news about Xpeng, its internal governance is also not smooth, so how can consumers believe it can provide a reliable long-term service? Although its product is indeed good, it is always praised but not popular. I hope that Xpeng can do better in the future.
I have compared many vehicles, including Xpeng G6, G9, then NIO’s new ES6, LI L7, AITO M5, IM’s LS6 and avatr 11. I checked out all these cars. First, I want to ensure the trunk space and seat comfort, these two points eliminate most of the models.
Avatr 11, its trunk space is just too small; IM LS6, I don’t quite like the design; M5, first is that the space is too small, second the seats are too hard, the back seats are uncomfortable.
Regarding LI L7, actually, I don’t quite like this brand LI. It gives me the feeling of being somewhat biased towards marketing, maybe I don’t quite approve of its technical strength yet. Including a few accidents it had with smart driving, like its car misidentified the advertisement of sprinter Su Bingtian on a billboard as a real person and the car braked on the highway, made me feel that it might not be reliable in terms of technology; NIO ES6, first is that the price is a bit high, and then I think its back seats aren’t as comfortable as Xpeng’s G6 ones.
Thus, these vehicles were essentially ruled out, eventually narrowing down the choices to Xpeng and Huawei. Ultimately, the decision to go with Huawei was largely influenced by its safety features. This was due to a recent trip over the national holiday, where there was immense traffic on the roads, multiple accidents, and a sense of exhaustion from long hours of driving. After watching quite a few online videos on AITO’s Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), I immediately booked an AITO M7 the day after returning from the trip.
Much like Professor Wang, I have always intended to purchase another vehicle and have been keeping a keen eye on new energy vehicles like LI, Xpeng, avatr, ZEEKR, and the likes.
I dismissed the avatr 11 and IM LS6 right after viewing their interior photos; seriously considered the Xpeng G6, but the delivery cycle was unfathomably long; I quite fancy LI, have been following it since the internal release of LI One, never placed an order simply because I needed a pure electric vehicle, my original plan was to wait for the release of LI’s pure electric model when it’s probably more mature.
However, the decision for the AITO M7 this time around was swift. During my time at home in Hunan over the October holiday, I came across a barrage of reviews about AITO’s smart driving capabilities on a short video platform, which immediately won me over and led me to make a booking within three days.
Prior to this, I had never looked into AITO, mostly because I found its sales volume average and its external appearance lackluster. Yet this time, it was all the buzz on the short video platform that scooped a large audience, including myself, which made me visit their showroom and eventually place an order.
Do you feel any remorse for making an impulsive purchase after placing the order?
Indeed, it was a bit of an impulsive consummation while booking the AITO M7, and there are aspects of it that I am not particularly fond of, like certain baffling downgrades and the fact that its aesthetics aren’t quite up to snuff.
Currently, I do not regret it. Regardless, the AITO M7 is unquestionably a top-tier vehicle. If the full score for a car is 100 points, there’s probably no car on the market scoring over 85, and the AITO M7 is likely around 80. It definitely takes the top spot among the available options. So, apart from the aesthetics that I am admittedly not very keen on, I am quite satisfied with everything else.
I’ve got no regrets either. In fact, I look forward to getting the car as soon as possible. I share a similar view with Professor Gao. Its exterior design isn’t unattractive, but in this era of new energy vehicles, it doesn’t quite seem up to the mark. This includes its somewhat traditional front face design, reminiscent of the good old model by Volkswagen, which entirely lacks the new energy vehicle look.
Speaking of the interior, I would have preferred the hold-shift. Firstly, it saves space and secondly, it allows for a more minimalist design. But instead, they went ahead and installed a crystal-shift, a design choice that I’m not particularly fond of.
What’s All The Buzz About The AITO M7?
In my view, it’s a culmination of multiple factors, not just one. The car made its debut at the Chengdu Auto Show on August 25, and was launched on September 12.
That was around the same time Huawei’s Mate 60 hit the market on August 29, causing quite a sensation. The launch didn’t just create a stir for just a day or two – the hype continued well into now. The Mate 60 has greatly boosted Chinese people’s faith in Huawei. This resulted in a significant increase in traction online, as well as in-store traffic, which all benefited the new M7 model.
But why has the M7 gained more popularity than the M5? I believe it’s due to the M7’s positioning and pricing.
The M7 is a big car, often referred to as a “Daddy Car”. I’m not too fond of that term as it suggests these vehicles are purely for driving kids around. The comfort these cars provide isn’t limited to those with children – they’re great for everyone. This is why the M7 is more popular than the M5, it attracts a larger audience. In terms of pricing, the M7 is very competitive, with prices almost CNY 60-70,000 less than similar models from LI, which I believe is why it’s so popular.
I’m not overly concerned about the delivery. At the time of my order, I was told delivery would take 8-12 weeks. However, I was nearly 40,000th in line. The scaling of delivery will take time, as previously sales were dismal. They have to hire more people, retrain, and restart production, all while coordinating with a multitude of suppliers. This is a complex and systematic task that simply can’t be rushed.
But, I am satisfied with the progress they’re making in increasing production capacity. Word is that the delivery plan is to turn out 14,000 units in October, 18,000 units in November, and even more in December. This is impressive. Xpeng’s G6, launched at the end of June, will break the 10,000 mark only in October, three months later. From this, it’s clear that Huawei’s supply chain management is in another league, something evident from the delivery.
The spectacular success of the Mate 60 indeed substantially boosted the online presence of the AITO M7. To be honest, I hadn’t known much about AITO before, nor had I taken the initiative to find out. But the M7 came into the limelight once the Mate 60 was launched. I mean, if Huawei can make breakthroughs in chip technology, why can’t they build a good car?
The AITO M7 is already a superior car. Having free time during the National Day holiday, people went to showrooms to check it out. All of this, coupled with the multitude of reviews on short-video platforms, helped this car, which was already set to explode, become the talk of the town.
I placed my order on October 6th, the day before the cutoff for benefits. At that time, I estimate there were already around 50,000 orders ahead of me, so I was expecting a wait of over two months for my car.
Given that the production in October might be approximately 10,000, and it’s unlikely that they can produce 30 to 40,000 vehicles in November, I’m simply hoping to receive the delivery before Lunar New Year. Besides, Huawei has reliable supply chain management capabilities in the industry. As per Mr. Wang, I feel assured about this. Sokon also is a well-established automaker with abundant experience. Despite some online critics viewing it through a biased lens, Sokon’s supply chain management is strong too, so I don’t foresee any major issues.
Expectations for AITO
I’ve been following AITO, since the release of its first M5 model, and subsequently the SF5. The car gained considerable attention around April or May of last year. That M5 model, with its Huawei HarmonyOS vehicle system, was a smart version that created a buzz online.
We know that AITO’s sales broke the 10,000 mark for several consecutive months at the time, but the sales declined afterwards due to fierce competition in the Chinese new energy vehicle market. Every manufacturer is upgrading their technology. Vehicles that were popular in April or May fell behind in the second half of the year, as many competitors significantly enhanced their capabilities.
The second surge in popularity came when the M5 came to the market. It created some noise online, but its sales didn’t pick up, mainly due to issues in cost-performance ratio and positioning.
On the other hand, M7 completely took off. We know the M9 is set to launch in December. Riding on the success of M7, I believe M9, being a flagship product, will undoubtedly be a hit. With successful launches like M9, subsequent launches of models such as M8 or an upgraded M5 should naturally follow suit, elevating the brand considerably.
AITO M7 has made a good start because it successfully identified a distinct selling point — the intelligent driving system. They can continue to play other cards in the future, like launching a rear-wheel drive version or an electric version of M7.
In my perspective, they should really hire a designer who would appeal to their younger customer base, rather than designers who use an older, more traditional style. It could cause an upswing in sales, as I believe around 70-80% of new energy vehicle customers are young. The current design certainly could use improvements, an opinion I think even the most devoted fans would agree with.
Do frequent price drops of new energy vehicles affect the owners’ mindset?
My view on this is that ‘there can be no progress without betrayal’. I’m supportive of companies that betray their old designs. If I bought a car and it remained the same ten years later, would I want to buy the exact same thing or not buy at all?I only decided to buy this car now due to my belief that the autonomous driving capabilities are sufficient. Cars from a few years ago, although advertised to have autonomous driving capabilities, significantly lag behind today’s standards. I believe that we have now reached a stage in which these capabilities are satisfactory. In a few years, there might be areas in which this car falls behind, but it won’t render the semi-autonomous capabilities completely useless. Maintaining its technology to remain relevant could help it withstand time.
I have confidence in this car as I acknowledge that progress in technology is bound to happen. This includes battery electric vehicles creating extra space such as a front boot. Thus, there may be minimal areas where I believe there could be space optimization. Perhaps in a few years, there will be newer technological advancements, but I don’t anticipate a considerable gap. For instance, I don’t foresee an immediate shift from level 2.999 to level 4, where hands-off driving is possible as stated by Ren Zhengfei. It is unlikely to achieve that in a short time.
Indeed, I believe there are areas for improvement. One is to revamp some of the design aspects as mentioned by Professor Gao. This includes revamping the exterior and interior design. There could also be an overhaul of the car’s architecture.
The first car resulting from the Huawei and Seres collaboration is, in my opinion, the M9, with the M5 and M7 riding on Seres’ earlier platform.
I have compared the exterior dimensions of the M5, Xpeng G6, and Model Y. All three have similar dimensions. However, in terms of weight, the M5 weighs over 200kg more than the Xpeng G6 and possibly 300kg more than the Model Y.
This weight difference is outrageous for cars of the same size, implying there are places the design can be optimized. It makes it difficult to achieve efficient fuel consumption. I believe that on future updates, Huawei’s M5 will have significantly less weight.
First, this is a consumer product, and I think many people have not adjusted their mindsets. It’s not an investment, as most investments come with losses. Why would one expect a consumer product not to depreciate? Especially since the renewable energy vehicles are currently undergoing fast developments and regular updates. Any purchase will be followed by a swift drop in price. However, if your fear of being backstabbed prevents you from buying a car, it isn’t valid either. There will always be better cars. Should we then never buy a car? Not really.
Just as Professor Wang said, it has surpassed the explosive phase of technological development from a year or two ago, making its growth relatively steady.
The AITO M7 is capped at level 2.999 due to regulations. It could reach level 3 if regulations allowed it. Will it reach level 4 next year? Unlikely. Not due to regulation limitations, but because the technology isn’t there yet.
Therefore, buying a car now seems appropriate as the updates, whether software or hardware related, won’t be the same as those drastic changes from a year back. There’s also the benefit of early enjoyment. How long do you plan on waiting? Buying a car at age 40 doesn’t have the same feel as if bought at 35.Thank you very much for your time. We have come to the end of this session! If there are any topics you’d like to discuss, feel free to comment below.
This article is a translation by AI of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.