's head of automotive business Richard Yu said the M7 SUV has seen a comeback from the dead.

(New Aito M7. Image credit: Aito)

Chinese tech giant Huawei-backed automotive brand Aito saw huge initial success with the launch of the new Aito M7 early last month, with a significantly lower starting price giving the SUV a rebirth.

Since its launch on September 12 until October 6, the new Aito M7 has received more than 50,000 firm orders, the brand announced on October 7 on Weibo.

The new Aito M7 received 3,500 firm orders on October 5, and the number surpassed 7,000 units on October 6, Richard Yu, Huawei's managing director and chairman of the smart car business, said on October 6 in his personal WeChat status.

"It's a comeback from the dead, it's really not easy," Yu said while praising the initial sales performance of the new Aito M7.

Aito is a premium car brand launched by local carmaker Seres Group with Huawei on December 2, 2021, with its first model, the Aito M5, officially launched in February 2022 and the second model, the M7, in July 2022.

Yu launched the new Aito M7 at an event in Shanghai on September 12, lowering the starting price by RMB 40,000 ($5,500) compared to the model previously on sale and adding a five-seat version besides the previously available six-seat version.

The Aito M5 is available in both extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) versions, while the M7 is available only in EREV options.

The five-seat version of the new Aito M7 offers three options with starting prices of RMB 249,800, RMB 284,800 and RMB 309,800 respectively. Its six-seat version offers two options with starting prices of RMB 269,800 and RMB 329,800 respectively.

As a comparison, the old Aito M7 was offered in three variants with starting prices of RMB 289,800, RMB 309,800, and RMB 379,800 respectively.

In addition to the lower starting price, Aito is offering the earliest customers who order the new M7 an entitlement worth RMB 33,000, which can be used to get free access to more advanced features including the HUD and electric doors.

The expiration date for the entitlement was October 7, which could be one of the key reasons why the new M7 has seen a significant increase in orders over the past two days.

Earlier today, the page for the new M7 on Huawei's online mall showed that customers who buy the model now are still eligible for a specific entitlement, though the value has been scaled back to RMB 30,000, with an expiration date of October 31.

Aito has been delivering more than 10,000 units per month for most of the second half of 2022. The company has had a weak 2023, however, with deliveries of 5,015 units in August, about half of the same period last year.

The launch of the new M7 has been a big success for Aito, and on September 30 it announced that firm orders for the model exceeded 30,000 units.

With the new M7 accumulating a large number of orders, Aito is also going to face capacity challenges.

On September 28, local media outlet 36kr quoted an Aito salesperson as saying that Seres had urgently recruited about 1,000 workers and asked the factory to produce 24 hours a day in order to deliver the vehicles as soon as possible.

The delivery lead time for the first batch of orders for the new Aito M7 is eight weeks, and orders after October 7 are another batch with a possible delivery lead time of three months, the report said.

($1 = RMB 7.3015)

Huawei-backed Aito launches new M7, set to intensify competition in China's EREV market

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