Jidu's first production model is positioned as a mid-size SUV that will be a generation ahead of in terms of intelligence, according to its CEO.

Jidu unveils ROBO-01, a robot car concept with futuristic design-CnEVPost

(Image credit: Jidu)

Jidu Auto's first production model is positioned as a mid-size SUV that will compete directly with the Tesla Model Y, said Xia Yiping, CEO of the car-making arm of Baidu, adding that Jidu's vehicle will be a generation ahead of Tesla in terms of intelligence levels.

Jidu unveiled the ROBO-01, a robot car concept, at its inaugural ROBODAY event yesterday, and Xia revealed the information in an interview with local media outlet 21jingji after the event.

In the price range of the Tesla Model Y, there are no particularly good smart cars that can compete with it, Xia said.

He did not comment more on Tesla, though late last month, Baidu co-founder and CEO Robin Li mentioned that the Jidu Auto is targeting the family passenger car market at around 200,000 yuan ($29,680).

Tesla currently offers three versions of the Model Y in China: an entry version with rear-wheel drive, a long-range version with dual-motor all-wheel drive, and a performance version with dual-motor all-wheel drive, priced at RMB 316,900, RMB 375,900, and RMB 417,900, respectively.

Judging from Xia and Li's comments, Jidu's first production car may have similar dimensions to the Model Y, but at a price potentially RMB 100,000 lower.

Li mentioned during Baidu's earnings call on May 26 that Jidu will take reservations for its first model in the second half of this year, with deliveries expected to begin in 2023.

Jidu also plans to announce a second model by the end of the year and begin taking orders in 2023, with deliveries starting in 2024, Li said.

At yesterday's ROBO-01 concept launch, Xia said Jidu plans to officially launch a limited version of its first production model in the fall of 2022, with the production model boasting a 90 percent resemblance to the ROBO-01 concept.

In addition to vehicle development, Jidu is accelerating the layout of product manufacturing and channel building.

Jidu, an independent brand, will build its own sales, delivery and after-sales service network and will open its first self-operated store early in the fourth quarter of this year, 21jingji quoted Xia as saying.

Jidu's first car will be built at Geely's plant in Ningbo, and as of now, the company has no plans to build production lines elsewhere, Xia said.