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New Chinese brand takes aim at Tesla, Kia and Hyundai: Xpeng says it won't play in entry-level electric car price-war with Chinese rivals such as the MG 4, BYD Dolphin and GWM Ora

Xpeng positions itself above Chinese rivals in Oz.

Speaking to CarsGuide the boss of Xpeng’s importer in Australia, Jason Clarke said Xpeng wasn’t interested in playing in the same entry-level EV space as its Chinese contemporaries like MG, BYD, and GWM.

Speaking on the topic of where Xpeng will sit in the market and whether there’s room for another brand Clarke said: “We think growth in EVs is going to escalate rapidly. We were at about eight per cent adoption, I think it’s going to double certainly within the next two years and then probably double again so the growth in EV ownership is just going to be huge.

“Now if you’ve just got Tesla, MG and a couple of others, you don’t really have much choice, and they’re not necessarily going to be the best quality vehicles - We think if you bring in a technology- and quality-forward vehicle like Xpeng to the market I think there’s there’s still plenty of room in the EV market now for that brand.”

“The build quality, the design, the range, the recharge speed, I think [Xpeng] can win significant market share there.”

When asked if the brand was concerned about the amount of affordable EVs landing in Australia from its rivals, Clarke explained that Xpeng has no interest in playing in the entry-level space and won’t need to discount its offerings to stay competitive.

“If you were going to bring in a low-cost car and position on price - I’d worry then. Tesla and MG and BYD discounting - I don’t think that’s good for their brand. That's where they’re positioning their cars. I’ve gotta say the quality [of the offering] goes hand-in-hand with cost.”

“We wanted to get the best quality we could find and we didn’t mess around finding the best one we could. We [True EV] had to hustle hard to win the Xpeng distribution contract, that’s for sure.” 

Xpeng is targeting a circa-$60k starting price for its first car in Australia, the G6 mid-size SUV, which is set to arrive before the end of 2024. Clarke confirmed this would be for the standard range rear-wheel drive model initially, but the long range and performance all-wheel drive variants would arrive at higher price-points during the course of 2025.

This pricing places the G6 in the same league as Tesla’s Model Y (from $60,900) and a significant margin above electric offerings from Chinese rivals such as the BYD Atto 3 (from $48,011) and MG4 (from $40,990).

Instead it looks to provide an alternative option to more established automakers like Hyundai and its Ioniq 5 (from $67,900), Kia with its EV6 (from $72,590) and Ford’s Mustang Mach-E (from $72,990). The G6 will also be a thorn in the side of Volkswagen, which will have its similarly-sized and likely similarly-priced ID.4 on the market imminently.

One of Xpeng’s competitive advantages is its 800-volt battery architecture, which allows the G6 to charge from 10 to 80 per cent in just 20 minutes off a DC charger capable of 280kW or more. This puts it in a similar league on the charging front to the Ioniq 5 and EV6.

Xpeng P7 pictured.

The brand also develops its own software and navigation system in-house and offers a suite of connected technologies backed by over-the-air updates.

Clarke said Xpeng leadership in China wasn’t messing around when it came to winning market share in right-hand drive markets. It is expanding throughout South East Asia, including large markets such as Thailand and Malaysia.

“They have a roll-out strategy that they’re executing. They really mean business, they’re taking this seriously, they’re capitalised to do it, they have a great product and a good strategy.”

“We identified 120 brands in China and made a shortlist of maybe seven we’d like to work with, and [the G6] was head and shoulders above everything else that we saw in terms of design and quality”

Xpeng X9 pictured.

“The G6 will be our biggest seller and perfect to hit the market with.”

The mid-sizer won’t be the brand’s only shot at success either. In 2025 Clarke says it will add the G9 large SUV to its line-up, and plans to add one of its sedan models (likely the P7) and the X9 people mover to the range in the future.

Tom White
Senior Journalist
Despite studying ancient history and law at university, it makes sense Tom ended up writing about cars, as he spent the majority of his waking hours finding ways to drive as many as possible. His fascination with automobiles was also accompanied by an affinity for technology growing up, and he is just as comfortable tinkering with gadgets as he is behind the wheel. His time at CarsGuide has given him a nose for industry news and developments at the forefront of car technology.
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