This is 's first warm-up for the X9, an MPV that is expected to be officially launched in the fourth quarter.

(Image credit: Xpeng)

Xpeng (NYSE: XPEV) is starting to warm up its first MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) model, the X9, as its expected launch in the fourth quarter gets closer.

The Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker today shared three images of the X9 wrapped in camouflage on Weibo, showing off the model's general exterior design.

The X9's rear end offers a crossover feel, unlike current mainstream electric MPVs such as the 009 and Denza D9.

Xpeng's management said in a conference call on May 24 after the company announced its first-quarter financial results that it will launch a seven-seat all-electric MPV, internally codenamed X9, in the fourth quarter of this year.

Xpeng was thinking about how young people relate to MPVs when defining a 7-seat MPV, and will detail the logic of how young people would buy MPVs at the end of the year, the company said at the time.

On May 26, He Xiaopeng, Xpeng's chairman and CEO, said in a Weibo post that the company was building the X9 MPV, hoping to use the model to open up the MPV market for young people.

The seven-seat MPV model will be released at the end of the fourth quarter and may have a limited contribution to this year's deliveries, Mr. He said on August 18 during an analyst call after Xpeng announced its second-quarter earnings.

It's worth noting that passenger cars sold in China are dominated by sedans and SUVs, with MPVs being a niche, business-use-oriented model.

In the January-July period of this year, China sold 615,480 MPVs, contributing only 5 percent of the 11.3 million passenger cars sold, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

Sedans sold 5.39 million units and SUVs 5.29 million units in the January-July period, contributing 47.7 percent and 46.8 percent of passenger car sales, respectively.

Xpeng's local counterpart (NASDAQ: LI) is also building an MPV.

Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) will officially launch the Li Mega MPV in December, the first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) model from the extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) maker, the company announced during the Chengdu auto show late last month.

The Li Mega show cars will be available at Li Auto stores in January next year, with deliveries starting in February, it said.

Li Auto said it's confident the Li Mega will be the top-selling vehicle in China with a price tag of more than 500,000 yuan ($68,090), regardless of energy form or body style.

Meanwhile, (NYSE: NIO) still doesn't seem to have any plans to launch an MPV model.

Speaking on December 19, 2021, the day after Nio Day 2021, Nio founder, chairman, and CEO William Li said that the company was actively looking at how to position an MPV, and that in the long term it will have one, but it's not a high priority for the company.

($1 = RMB 7.3438)

New spy photo and video show more details of Xpeng X9 MPV