's launch of the premium brand is tentatively scheduled for the end of this year, when the first hardcore off-road model will be unveiled, according to local media.

BYD will launch a new premium brand in the fourth quarter with models starting at more than RMB 1 million ($146,000), local media outlet Yicai reported today.

The company's executives had previously said that its new premium brand would have a price range of RMB 800,000 to RMB 1.5 million. But BYD has raised the starting price to more than RMB 1 million, the report said.

The premium brand is tentatively scheduled to be launched at the end of this year, when it will debut its first hardcore off-road model, according to the report.

The premium brand will have new and separate teams for products, sales and service network, and operations, and the first model will be mass-produced and sold in the first quarter of 2023, the report said.

BYD will unveil its premium sub-brand and its logo in the third quarter, and will launch its first model, which will be a hardcore off-road vehicle, in the fourth quarter, said Li Yunfei, general manager of BYD Auto's brand and PR division, on Weibo on May 22.

The premium brand will use BYD's cutting-edge automotive technology and represent BYD's strongest capabilities in electrification and intelligence, he said.

Based on current product plans, the premium brand's price range is expected to be RMB 800,000-1.5 million, Li said at the time.

BYD's passenger car business consists of the Dynasty series, Ocean series, Denza brand, and a premium sub-brand, all of which are wholly owned and operated by BYD, except Denza, which is a joint venture between BYD and Mercedes-Benz, he said.

On May 21, local auto media Yiche reported that BYD is expected to launch a new brand for the high-end market in August, with a possible name of "Xingji" (星际, literally meaning "Star").

There has been much discussion within BYD about naming the brand, and the name currently preferred is "Xingkong" (星空, literally meaning "Sky"), Yicai reported today.

It is worth noting that earlier this month, spy photos, as well as a video of BYD's first model of the premium brand, have been circulating on the Internet.

These spy photos show that the brand's first model may be positioned similarly to the Mercedes-Benz G class, with a possible height of more than 1,800mm.

BYD rumored likely to launch new brand targeting premium market in August