Something is happening in the field of electric cars, and we didn’t see it coming

Xiaomi SU7Xiaomi SU7

With the Xiaomi SU7, will electric cars have their iPhone moment?

The world of electric car market analysts is divided into two groups: those who are convinced that the Chinese boom is imminent and will nuclearize the European automobile industry, and those who think that these fears are largely exaggerated and that the bubble of electric cars will quickly darken the central state.

As is often the case, the truth will surely lie somewhere in between. Yes, the Chinese threat hurts the Europeans, but probably not to that extent. Because on the one hand the European (and American) brands still have valuable assets, if only through their seniority, their know-how and the power of the brands, but also because a number of new Chinese brands are kicking up the dust in front of them. The name has crossed any ocean. Certainly, they are numerous, which is often synonymous with power, but many of them remain fragile and completely unknown outside their cantons. So in Europe…

Dozens of Chinese brands are best known on their landings

If we look at the forces involved, only a handful of Chinese manufacturers seem to be doing relatively well in overseas markets. We are obviously talking about BYD, probably the strongest so far, MG, Geely (which is more of a consortium than an actual brand), Xpeng and possibly Nio, the latter two still very savvy on the old continent. . Even Aiways, a pioneer who seemed to have made his mark here, seems to be experiencing some difficulties.

So, of course, we are only at the beginning of a very competitive market, but the dreaded waves have not yet arrived, and experts in the field are like Bryce from Nice on the pebbles with a surfboard under his arm: looking at the horizon, they are rusting on the spot.

And then, boom! As often happens in this type of recent and very popular market, a challenger comes out of almost nowhere and shuffles the cards, causing a small earthquake. are you here Yes, in its own way. But the brand is already 20 years old and is not really a newcomer anymore. And then, if the sleek California revolutionized the automobile market in a very broad sense and rebounded in its own right, it’s no longer moving much in the electric market (at least while waiting for a new model).

No, I want to talk about another brand, which has so far distinguished itself in consumer electronics and hi-tech products, such as smartphones, connected watches, robot vacuum cleaners and scooters. In fact, a whole range of everyday devices that support, facilitate and enhance the lives of generation X to Z.

This brand, as you understood, is Xiaomi.

Xiaomi’s meteoric success in reproductive technology in electric cars?

I don’t know if you realize, but the Xiaomi story is pretty crazy. To make it short, we are not talking about a large historical conglomerate such as a certain Asian consortium like Sony, Samsung or LG, which are now part of the landscape. We are talking about a brand created not a century ago or 50 years ago, but… in 2010. And saw the geek and tech media manager that I was then literally born before his eyes. How far have you come since then? Just one example: Xiaomi, originally an app development agency for Android, has become the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer behind Samsung and ahead of Apple. In just 11 years, as this exhibition is from 2021.

What does this have to do with Apple? Not much, but a few signs indicate that Xiaomi is not a Chinese company like others. First in its approach to the market, which shares similarities with the Cupertino firm. Instead of inventing new products with a risky destiny, the Chinese group focuses on what exists, conducts a 360-degree in-depth study, and releases its own product with the promise of doing more and better than the existing one. Prices, without being at the entry level. A strategy that has worked very well so far, and not just in China. Enjoy looking around you: a large number of electric scooters, connected bracelets or robot vacuum cleaners that you will find are from Xiaomi.

Another similarity to Apple is the famous keynotes (product launch conferences) hosted by the brand’s boss Lei Jun, who adopt the same gestures and dress code popularized by Steve Jobs for geeks forever, with the “one more thing” ending. It is also said that his In imitation, Xiaomi may have copied some of the designs of the Apple brand.The only disgruntled note was the hiring of Hugo Barra in 2013, not from Apple but from its sworn enemy, Google, and more specifically from its Android division.

What does this have to do with our topic? I’m coming After a few years of clever teasing, Xiaomi has finally officially unveiled its first electric car. In other words, the Chinese went through with its project, unlike Apple, which eventually gave up.

So the Xiaomi SU7 is a sedan that seems to be born from a hidden love affair between the Porsche Tectonic and the Tesla Model 3, both in terms of design and performance. Bad ancestry. And the buzz on social media since its launch a few days ago is phenomenal. We recognize the signals that announce that something important is happening when we cannot open this SU7. But what doesn’t lie is when the buzz – in which we participate in our modest way – goes beyond the circles of media, analysts and car enthusiasts to reach the general public. Just like when Apple launched the iPhone in January 2007, and the explosion literally took the smartphone out of nerds and tech gadget enthusiasts and into the general public, the results we can measure. Even after 17 years the functioning of the society.

When you buy a Xiaomi, you are buying a trendy product, not a Chinese product

Clearly, Xiaomi has hit hard and for the moment it seems to have succeeded. With a significant competitive advantage based on the fact that it is already a well-known, popular and proven brand, that gives it a level of trust that no other Chinese electric car brand can claim, not even BYD. Of course, the incredible price of this very attractive SU7 – at least for the launch in the Chinese market – has a lot to do with it since we are talking about a price of less than 30,000 euros for the entry-level version. . Prices as we know them are maximized at the expense of margins to quickly gain a larger market share. But that’s not all. Even when it launches a new scooter or a new tablet, the hype surrounding this brand has always been significant and favorable. Tech media publishers can attest to this, as Xiaomi is one of the brands that counts when we talk about the turnover generated by engagement in their e-shop section.

In this way, Xiaomi can also attract some electric motorists with this SU7 who were still reluctant to go to the dark side of the force by buying Chinese. Because when you buy Xiaomi, you are not really buying a Chinese product, but a trendy product. Perhaps the only Chinese brand to achieve this feat with DJI for drones. For locals, the question is understandable because the order book is already closed for 2024, but it may happen that if the beast comes to Europe one day, the event will repeat itself, as happened after the iPhone arrived in Europe in December 2007. Its launch in the US in June of the same year.

Now it remains to know the feedback of the first buyers and the first real tests of the auto press that will soon appear on YouTube and others in the coming weeks, so that the potential of the machine in terms of quality and performance can be objectively evaluated. , autonomy and efficiency, and determine whether or not the electric car market will finally experience its iPhone moment. There also remains the question of the distribution network, which is still non-existent here. But let’s remember that Apple didn’t have an Apple Store in Europe at the time of the iPhone launch, even if the two markets aren’t completely comparable because Apple relies on telephone and internet operators to distribute its products.

But some signs are unclear, and may indicate that we are at the beginning of a new situation in the sector.

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