The first Chinese SUV in Europe’s electric-car market

The first Chinese SUV in Europe’s electric-car market

A $28,000 sport utility vehicle looks set to become the first Chinese entrant in Europe’s electric-car market, betting its competitive price will help draw customers away from the likes of Volkswagen AG and Tesla Inc.

Shanghai-based automaker Aiways has secured the required permits and certifications for a Europe launch, and plans to start sales in the second quarter of next year, co-founder Fu Qiang said in an interview. The upstart will first start selling the vehicle, called U5, in China this month.

The U5’s launch in China is scheduled for Nov. 29 and will involve a mix of marketing strategies, including showrooms in larger cities and online sales. The domestic price will be 200,000 yuan to 300,000 yuan ($29,000 to $43,000).

In Europe, the company will try to reach consumers through pop-up stores, leasing offers, and various local partners, with Norway, the Netherlands and Germany among the key targets. The planned starting price for the most basic version is about 25,000 euros ($28,000), which could give Aiways an edge.

While small electric cars from Volkswagen and its competitors start from less than 30,000 euros, electric SUVs easily go for twice that or more. Tesla’s Model X SUV can cost more than 100,000 euros in Europe.

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