is shifting its strategy from targeting niche markets to aiming at the mass market with a mainstream SUV to follow the Zeekr 007 sedan, according to local media.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

Auto's premium electric vehicle (EV) subsidiary Zeekr is reportedly planning an SUV for the mainstream market, after unveiling the regular sedan Zeekr 007 earlier this month.

In addition to the upcoming Zeekr 007, Zeekr is planning an SUV for the mainstream market, internally codenamed CX1E, local media outlet AutoPix said in a report yesterday.

The SUV, which is still in the development stage, is expected to begin trial production in the first quarter of 2024 and will go into mass production late next year, according to the report.

Like the Zeekr 007, the CX1E will be aimed at the mainstream EV market, with competitors expected to include the Model Y, the report said.

Zeekr was founded in 2021 and currently delivers three models in China: Zeekr 001, the Zeekr 009, and the Zeekr X.

The Zeekr 001 is a shooting brake style SUV, the Zeekr 009 is an MPV, and the Zeekr X is a premium compact SUV, all of which are aimed at niche markets.

Zeekr debuted the Zeekr 007, its first model for the mainstream market, on the first day of the Guangzhou auto show on November 17. Pre-sales of the Zeekr 007 have already begun, with a starting price of RMB 229,900 ($32,200).

Zeekr is a relative latecomer to China's new car-making scene, and its initial strategy of targeting niche markets has seen it seize some opportunities, but it has also suffered setbacks, AutoPix said.

The Zeekr 001 remains Zeekr's main seller, with sales of 61,500 units in the first 10 months of the year, contributing 67 percent of Zeekr's total sales in the period. In comparison, the Zeekr X and Zeekr 009 each sold just 15,000 units in the same period.

Zeekr is shifting its approach and starting to target the mainstream market, with the Zeekr 007 being a more mass-market model that will compete with models including the Tesla Model 3, the report noted.

Zeekr's models are produced at three factories, with the Hangzhou Bay plant in Ningbo being the most important, and is for the production of the Zeekr 001, Zeekr 009 and Zeekr 001FR, according to the report.

The Ningbo Meishan plant, which has been producing mainly Lynk & Co 09 vehicles, will be responsible for Zeekr 007 production. With the unveiling of the Zeekr 007, the Meishan plant's focus will gradually shift to producing the Zeekr model, according to the report. The Lynk & Co 09 sells only about 1,000 units per month.

After the Zeekr 007 and CX1E, Zeekr will also introduce a model codenamed CC1E, which will be a touring version of the Zeekr 007, AutoPix said, adding that the model has just been projected.

The pressure on sales borne by the Zeekr 001 will ease once the Zeekr's mainstream market-oriented models are in place. The Zeekr 001 will get a facelift in 2024, according to the report.

Along with the launch of the new model, Zeekr, which currently has around 340 sales outlets, is also expanding its sales network.

Zeekr plans to add more than 200 new outlets in 2024, more than 100 of which will be non-direct Zeekr Homes, according to AutoPix.

Zeekr delivered a record 13,077 vehicles in October, up 29.2 percent year-on-year and up 8.5 percent from September, according to data it released earlier this month.

In the January-October period, Zeekr delivered 92,105 vehicles, up 85.72 percent year-on-year, and the company is aiming to double its deliveries this year from last year to about 140,000 vehicles.

($1 = RMB 7.1378)

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