Looking forward to the launch of U8, a key step for BYD’s brand improvement

Original link: https://www.latepost.com/news/dj_detail?id=1877

Releasing high-end sub-brands or specific performance cars is a powerful way for car companies to prove or show their strength, such as Toyota’s Lexus, Honda’s Acura, Nissan’s Infiniti, or Volkswagen’s Touareg and Phaeton. They connect the past and the future – representing a summary of the past and a look forward to the future.

On the evening of September 20, the first model of BYD’s high-end sub-brand “Looking Up”, the “Looking Up U8” luxury version was launched, priced at 1.098 million yuan, and can make a U-turn in place and drive in water in an emergency. This extended-range SUV that looks like a Land Rover Defender is a key step for BYD’s brand to move up. Its promotional focus includes hard-core off-road, high-end and luxury.


Yangwang told “Late Auto” that BYD Group has not set a clear sales target for Yangwang U8, but “since this is a mass-produced car, we naturally hope to sell as many as possible.” The show cars have already arrived in stores in 13 cities including Shenzhen, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Hangzhou, and batch deliveries are expected to begin in late October this year.

According to information previously released by BYD, the U8 has two versions: a luxury version and an off-road player version. The latter was unexpectedly absent from this launch conference and will be available in the first quarter of next year at the earliest. BYD R&D engineer Zhou Jiangshan told Late Auto that the powertrains of the two versions are the same. The main difference is that the off-road player version will have fewer smart cockpit configurations.

As a high-end brand with a price range of 800,000 yuan to 1.5 million yuan, Yangwang will be fully directly operated, which is different from the dealer model of the main brand. Directly operated stores will then be divided into two types: center stores and showroom stores. Currently, more than 70 directly-operated stores are under construction, and it is expected that more than 90 stores will be open before the end of the year, covering more than 40 cities across the country.

A practitioner engaged in product and market research at a traditional OEM told Late Auto that direct competitors to the U8 are mainly fuel SUVs priced in the millions, such as the Range Rover. With its product strength, U8 is also expected to divert some sales of imported large off-road SUVs such as Toyota Prado, Land Cruiser and Mitsubishi Pajero.

On November 8, 2022, BYD publicly announced the “Look Up” brand for the first time. During the 2023 Shanghai Auto Show, Yangwang is the only Chinese new energy vehicle brand exhibited in the luxury car pavilion. Although it can only see the exterior and interior, the audience can still queue for more than an hour. Everyone is curious about what kind of Chinese car can be sold for 1 million yuan and how to make a U-turn.

At this new car launch, Yangwang did not use a lot of professional terms in order to explain the technology more rigorously like in previous media communications. Instead, Yangwang tended to use easy-to-understand language to explain to the audience what the Yangwang U8 can do and how to do it. .

For example, when Lian Yubo, chief scientist of BYD and dean of the Automotive Engineering Research Institute, introduced the power performance of the U8 with 1,200 horsepower, he compared it to a “Type 99 main battle tank”; when Hu Xiaoqing introduced the silent performance of the U8, It did not mention concepts such as “decibel”, but said, “As long as the user gently closes the electric suction door, the U8 Deluxe Edition will isolate natural noise.”


When talking about the function of turning around in place, BYD said that this is because each wheel is equipped with a motor, which can independently control the power output of the four wheels. For example, through the reverse rotation of the left and right wheels, a U-turn can be achieved. According to “Late Auto”, this technology comes from BYD’s Sifang technology platform, which was launched in 2018 and comes standard with 800V SiC high-voltage electronic control.

Models of traditional off-road brands such as Jeep and Land Rover can also make a U-turn on the spot, but are often limited to low-adhesion road conditions such as sand, ice, and grass. The U8’s in-situ U-turn function can not only be used in the above-mentioned low-adhesion road conditions, but also suitable for high-adhesion road conditions such as asphalt roads and cement roads.

The U8 Deluxe Edition is expected to be the second mass-produced model in the world to be equipped with four motors. In June 2021, Croatian electric vehicle manufacturer Rimac Automobili launched the Nevera, a production version of its all-electric supercar C_Two. Its maximum power is 1.6 times that of the U8, and its acceleration from zero to zero is faster. Of course, the car owner also has to pay a higher price – 2 million euros.

Because the key parts of the vehicle meet IP67 waterproof level requirements and the waterproof capabilities of core components reach IP68 level, U8 has certain emergency escape capabilities (emergency floating) in relatively dangerous water-related environments, Lian Yubo said at the press conference , looking up at the U8, the entire vehicle can be immersed in the water for 30 minutes without obvious flowing water in the vehicle, and can move forward at the fastest speed of about 3 kilometers per hour.

At that time, the engine will automatically shut down in advance, the suspension will be raised to the highest level, the windows will be raised automatically, the air conditioning vents will be switched from closed to internal circulation, and the cooling fan will be turned on with adaptive control to provide better sealing and waterproofing effects. The four motors with IP68 waterproof rating allow the vehicle to continue to move in a submerged environment. As for the underwater turning function, it is achieved through the independent direction control of the wheels by each motor.

Zhou Jiangshan explained to “Late Auto” that there are limits to wading, “It doesn’t mean that the car will not get flooded if it is driven in the water all the time.” Floods and other turbulent water scenes will also affect the performance of U8. “We also tested on relatively flat water.” BYD said that the emergency float is an emergency function that is passively triggered by the Yangwang U8. It is recommended that users do not try it easily in non-emergency situations. Once triggered, the user needs to send the vehicle back to the Yangwang direct service store for maintenance.

Zhang Xiaoliang, founder of So.Car, an automotive product strategy consulting organization, told Late Auto that there may be some differences between the actual off-road performance of the U8 and the performance. “Relying on the free steering of the four wheels, it is indeed possible to realize the function of turning around on the spot. But if it is traveling over long distances or even under more severe working conditions, the control of body stability, especially body roll, etc., looks up to U8 Whether we can adapt to it is still a question mark.”

In less than a year, BYD has gone from Tesla’s most powerful pursuer to the industry’s number one, standing in the spotlight. When it is basically locked in the world’s best-selling new energy vehicle company for the year, it releases the brand it looks up to. According to “Wate Auto” learned from many BYD people, in addition to the range-extended SUV U8 and the pure electric supercar U9, it is also developing a variety of models such as coupes and urban SUVs.

At the press conference, Lian Yubo said that BYD has invested a total of more than 1,200 vehicle test engineers and more than 300 test vehicles during the development cycle of the U8. The testing scope covers 28 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions across the country, restoring 99% of the real road conditions. A 1% extreme scenario was simulated.

The challenge surrounding this new brand is still whether the product can support a million-dollar price. According to Zhang Xiaoliang, the competition between several new domestic car-making forces is often based on performance, size and configuration, and intelligent functions such as assisted driving, corresponding to the price range from 300,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan, which is more recognized by Chinese consumers. Product awareness in the mid- to high-end price range.

“If the price continues to rise, even if the product far exceeds everyone’s inherent knowledge and has a strong breakthrough, it will be difficult to open up the market space. For example, Gaohe is now experiencing such embarrassment.” Zhang Xiaoliang said.

Honda has also experienced similar challenges, but when facing the global market. In 1990, when Honda launched its supercar model Acura NSX in the U.S. market, it was also questioned by consumers and the media. And when Honda used its product power to break the stereotype that “Japanese only make low-priced, low-fuel consumption cost-effective models”, the NSX finally gained market recognition.

BYD’s overseas sales accounted for less than 7% in the first eight months of this year. As Zhang Xiaoliang said, electrification has given BYD a relatively unique opportunity, which makes its growth efficiency higher than that of previous Geely, Great Wall, and Changan. A more pragmatic expectation may be to sell as many cars as possible to improve the brand image, implement more technologies, drive sales of mid-to-high-end cars such as Denza in a relatively more popular market, and ultimately accelerate their global success. ization process.

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