Honda unveils new-generation electric vehicles for China - SUV VEHICLE

Honda unveils new-generation electric vehicles for China

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New electric trio spearheads model onslaught from the Japanese car maker as it takes on Chinese rivals.

Honda has revealed the first of its Ye Series electric vehicle range with plans for the first models to be in Chinese showrooms by the end of 2024 as it looks to reverse a sales slump in China.

To be shown at the 2024 Beijing motor show starting on 25 April, three Ye Series vehicles were unveiled – two SUVs and a family-sized five-door ‘GT’ hatchback – with the Chinese character for ‘Ye’ translating to ‘shine brilliantly’, not to be confused with the US rapper formerly Kanye West.

Honda – having recently cut prices in Australia after its lowest sales on record – showed the P7 and S7 five-door SUVs, both using the same electric vehicle underpinnings and offered in a single-motor rear-wheel drive and more powerful two-motor all-wheel-drive version.

The Ye GT has what Honda describes as a ‘low and wide’ silhouette, with a fastback body and a focus on driving dynamics.

With a planned on-sale in China before the end of 2024, the Ye P7 and the Ye S7 will arrive ahead of the Ye GT Concept, which is scheduled for showrooms before 2026.

Plans for six Ye Series on sale in China by 2027 would give Honda a 10-model electric vehicle range in China.

The car maker’s Beijing stand will also show the e:NP2 and e:NS2 electric models as part of its e:N electric vehicle range launched in 2021.

There are no plans for the Ye Series to be sold in Australia, the local arm of Honda not planning on adding a battery-electric vehicle to its range before 2028.

In China – where Honda has partnerships with GAC Group and Dongfeng Motor – the Japanese car maker has fallen behind key rivals Volkswagen, Toyota and Tesla as well as local brands in the race to offer electric vehicles.

Electric cars made up almost one-third (31 per cent or 9.49 million) of China’s 30.09 million new vehicle sales in 2023.

While growth has slowed in the first three months of 2024, China’s electric car sales still increased 14.7 per cent year-on-year to the end of March.

Honda – through GAC Honda (629,318 sales) and Dongfeng Honda (604,800) – sold 1.23 million vehicles in China in 2023, a fall of 10.1 per cent year-on-year, with the CR-V SUV its best-selling vehicle ahead of the Accord and Civic.

Over the first nine months of 2023, the Japanese car maker sold 93 per cent of its electric vehicles in China but this was only 0.5 per cent – a mere 10,400 vehicles – of its 2.8 million global sales over that period.

In December 2023, GAC Honda cut its China workforce by 900 staff in response to slowing sales and subsequent production decline, with rival carmaker Nissan also suffering falling sales (down 16.1 per cent) in China.

Honda announced last month it would partner with Nissan – which also has a partnership with Dongfeng – to develop low-cost electric cars for China in an effort to strengthen both brands’ sales.

Honda plans to offer 30 battery-electric vehicles globally by 2030.

In 2023, it pulled out of a partnership to develop cut-price electric models with US car giant General Motors, with GM instead set to introduce a heavily revised version of its Chevrolet Bolt urban electric hatchback in 2026.

Honda also dropped the Honda E electric hatchback due to slow sales after less than four years in showrooms across Europe – with Australia missing out, although several were independently imported.

In January 2024, the Japanese car maker announced a new generation ‘0 Series’ electric vehicle line at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which will initially be sold in North America before export markets are considered.

The post Honda unveils new-generation electric vehicles for China appeared first on Drive.

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