Firm orders for the SU7 include refundable orders within 7 days as well as non-refundable orders with locked-in configurations, unlike what other EV makers are doing.

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Xiaomi (HKG: 1810, OTCMKTS: XIACY) has updated its order figures for its first electric vehicle (EV) model, the SU7, but it's calculating "firm orders" in a different way than other automakers.

The Xiaomi SU7, which was officially launched on March 28, received 88,898 firm orders in the first 24 hours, the company said yesterday evening.

In China's EV industry, some EV makers announce pre-sale orders for a new model after it goes on pre-sale, with deposits that can be refunded at any time. Such orders are often called "小定," which literally means small orders.

After a new model is officially launched, customers can start locking in configurations, and EV makers may post firm orders, usually with a non-refundable deposit or a 1-2 day hesitation period for consumers. This type of order is often referred to as a "大定", which literally means a big order.

A firm order, because the deposit is usually non-refundable, demonstrates true consumer acceptance of a new model. Pre-orders, on the other hand, are less likely to reflect the true acceptance of a new model, as deposits can be refunded at any time.

Xiaomi is offering standard, Pro, and Max versions of the SU7 at a starting price of RMB 215,900 ($29,900), and began accepting orders for the customized vehicles on March 28 at 10 pm Beijing Time.

Xiaomi is allowing customers to pay RMB 5,000 to order the model, but allows them to get a refund at any time within seven days, unlike other EV makers.

Xiaomi allows customers to lock in their configurations for the vehicle in advance when they pay a deposit, but if they do so, the deposit is immediately non-refundable.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi is offering a Founders Edition for the SU7, limited to 5,000 units at the same prices as the standard and Max editions, with deliveries set to begin on April 3.

Founders Edition vehicles are the ones that have been produced, and consumers can reserve the model by paying a RMB 20,000 non-refundable deposit.

Deliveries of the customized Xiaomi SU7 will start at the end of April for the standard and Max versions, and at the end of May for the Pro version.

Xiaomi's post-launch announcement of the number of "firm orders" for the SU7 has caused a lot of confusion as to whether or not it includes refundable orders. In a Weibo post yesterday evening, the company hinted that the number of "firm orders" it announced included both refundable and non-refundable ones.

As per industry practice, firm orders generally offer a hesitation period, ranging from 1-3 days, during which they can be refunded or the configuration can be changed, Xiaomi said, adding that once the configuration is confirmed and the order is locked in, the vehicle goes into production.

Considering the huge number of appointments to view and test drive the Xiaomi SU7, the company has extended the hesitation period until April 30 to seven days in order to give potential customers a better test drive experience and longer time to consider, it said.

Xiaomi also created a table showing what different EV makers are doing on firm orders.

(NASDAQ: TSLA) charges a RMB 1,000 deposit for the Model 3 and Model Y and does not offer a hesitation period, and the deposit is non-refundable. (NASDAQ: LI) charges a RMB 5,000 deposit for all its models, and customers can get a refund or change their configuration within 24 hours.

(NYSE: XPEV) charges a RMB 5,000 deposit for the G6 and supports refunds or configuration changes within 72 hours, as does (NYSE: NIO) for the ET5 and ES6. -backed Aito charges a RMB 5,000 deposit on the M9, with support for refunds or configuration changes within 24 hours.

Xiaomi said the deposit is refundable within 7 days by default when customers customize the SU7, but the company also offers the option to allow customers to lock in their configurations. If they do so, the vehicle will enter production, the configuration cannot be modified and the deposit is non-refundable.

As of 12 pm on March 29, Xiaomi EV's customer service system received a total of 469 cases of requests for refunds and configuration changes, it said.

Xiaomi also said there are still a lot of people booking test drives of the SU7, with each store receiving an average of 90-120 people per day, and those who book now need to wait 3-5 days.

Xiaomi may release SUV model by year-end, report says

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