By the end of 2024 at the latest, the main models of BBA's locally produced medium-to-large SUVs will be selling for less than RMB 500,000, he said.
(Li L9. Image credit: Li Auto)
The rapid rise of local Chinese automakers in the electric vehicle (EV) era is posing a threat to German luxury automakers' pricing system here. In the view of the man at the helm of Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI, HKG: 2015), within two years the German automakers' SUV models will be significantly less expensive than they are today.
"I expect that by the end of next year at the earliest, and the end of 2024 at the latest, the main models of BBA's locally produced medium-to-large SUVs will sell for less than RMB 500,000 ($74,700)," Li Auto founder, chairman and CEO Li Xiang said on Weibo on Wednesday, adding that "Consumers will be the biggest beneficiaries."
In China's auto industry, "BBA" is seen as an abbreviation for Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.
Li did not mention specific models, but the three German luxury automakers' medium-to-large SUVs offered in China are the Mercedes-Benz GLE, BMW X5 and Audi Q7, with starting prices of 699,800 yuan ($104,480), 605,000 yuan and 632,800 yuan, respectively.
(Mercedes-Benz GLE. Mercedes-Benz website screenshot)
The Li Auto CEO's comments came nine days after the company unveiled its new SUV, the Li L9, a rare challenge from a Chinese carmaker to German luxury carmakers.
However, his views now seem to be shared by many Chinese. The company's just-launched SUV Li L9 has the same dimensions as the large SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and BMW - the GLS and X7 - but costs half as much.
Li Auto officially launched the Li L9, the company's second model after the Li ONE SUV, following its predecessor's extended-range technology, at a launch event held in the evening of June 21 Beijing time.
The Li L9 is priced at the same flat rate as the Li ONE, at RMB 459,800, up RMB 110,000 from the Li ONE's RMB 349,800.
The Li L9 is a full-size SUV with a length, width and height of 5,218 mm, 1,998 mm and 1,800 mm respectively, and a wheelbase of 3,105 mm, almost identical to the top-of-the-line family SUVs from Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
The length, width and height of the Mercedes-Benz GLS are 5,218 mm, 2,030 mm and 1,823 mm, with a wheelbase of 3,135 mm. The length, width and height of the BMW X7 are 5,163 mm, 2,000 mm and 1,835 mm, with a wheelbase of 3,105 mm.
In terms of pricing, the Mercedes-Benz GLS has a suggested retail price starting at RMB 1,068,000 ($167,630) and the BMW X7 starts at RMB 1 million, both twice the price of the Li L9.
The Li L9 has already received more than 30,000 orders within 72 hours of the vehicle being available for pre-order, the company said on June 24, adding that this demonstrates the car's excellent product appeal to family customers.
On June 4, Li said on Weibo that the model will be officially delivered to customers in August and deliveries could exceed 10,000 in September.