BYD unveils two models in latest luxury sport utility push

The Bao 8.

SHENZHEN: BYD Co. doubled-down on its expansion into luxury sport utility vehicles and off-roaders with two new models to take on the likes of Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc.

China’s biggest automaker unveiled the Super 3 concept SUV and Bao 8 SUV at its Shenzhen headquarters last night in a glitzy livestreamed event.

The carmaker didn’t specify if the new SUVs are hybrid or pure electric cars.

Apart from the two new models, the automaker also displayed Super 9, a conceptual high-performance racing car.

Work on the Super 9 is led by its head designer, Wolfgang Josef Egger, who has worked at European luxury car brands such as Alfa Romeo, Audi and Lamborghini.

Super 3

BYD did not announce prices or when the cars would be available.

The launch is the first in a slew of unveilings in the lead up to the Beijing Auto Show, which runs from April 25 to May 4 and this year takes its place as China’s premier car show.

While BYD is best known for its range of budget EVs, such as the popular Seagull hatchback — which sells for 69,800 yuan (RM47,000) —it is also pushing into the high-end luxury segment of the market.

Earlier this year it debuted its most expensive car, the 1.68 million yuan (RM1.1mil) Yangwang U9 high-performance electric supercar to rival Ferrari NV and Lamborghini.

Super 9.
Super 9.

BYD already offers one car under the Fangchengbao brand - the Bao 5, also known as the Leopard 5 - a plug-in hybrid SUV that starts at 289,800 yuan (RM192,000).

Most of the Fangchengbao lineup features a plug-in hybrid system called Dual Mode Off-Road (DMO) that BYD developed for improving off-road driving experiences with better fuel economy and high horsepower, its chief scientist, Lian Yubo, said at the event.

BYD launched Fangchengbao late last year as one of three brands for upmarket vehicles. The other two brands are Denza and Yangwang.

Toyota's Land Cruiser, Stellantis' Jeep and Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover have been the leading players in the off-road vehicle segment that BYD is challenging with its electric vehicles. — Bloomberg/Reuters

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