Chinese EV Xpeng to be launched in S'pore by H2 2024, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Chinese EV Xpeng to be launched in S'pore by H2 2024

Xpeng, a Chinese electric vehicle (EV) brand backed by German carmaker Volkswagen, will be launched in Singapore by the second half of 2024.

Sources with close knowledge of the negotiations said the EV maker appointed Premium Automobiles as its distributor recently.

This will be the second Chinese EV brand that Premium is representing, after Zeekr from Geely.

The first Xpeng model to retail in Singapore is expected to be the G6, a sport utility vehicle that is about the same size as the Tesla Model Y. This is likely to include a single motor version capable of covering 580km on a single charge.

Premium Automobiles did not respond to queries on Xpeng when approached for comment. The dealership, which is also the retail partner of German car brand Audi, would say only that Zeekr remains on track to be launched here by the third quarter of 2024.

The Straits Times has also contacted Xpeng for comment.

Xpeng’s impending foray into Singapore comes as the EV adoption rate here rises. In 2023, EVs made up 18.1 per cent of total car registrations, up from 11.7 per cent in 2022 and 3.8 per cent in 2021.

The Chinese brand is regarded by industry experts as among the strongest contenders against Tesla, although it delivered just 141,600 units in 2023 – a fraction of the 1.08 million units managed by the American EV brand.

It sells left-hand drive models in China, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

On March 11, the South China Morning Post reported that Xpeng plans to launch right-hand drive models in the second half of 2024 as part of its global expansion strategy.

Volkswagen holds a 5 per cent stake in the company from Guangzhou, China, and the companies are working to develop two VW-branded models for the Chinese market.

Automotive consultant Say Kwee Neng said Xpeng is one of three Chinese EV brands – the other two being Nio and Li Auto – that are well regarded for their products’ technology, design and level of sophistication.

“There is a lot of hype behind these three brands, but ultimately, it will be down to the representative in Singapore to bring in the right model mix and be relevant. We have already seen how BYD has broken down walls to make Chinese EVs desirable to consumers here,” Mr Say added.

Chinese EV brand BYD was the fourth-biggest selling brand in Singapore in 2023, outselling the likes of Nissan (fifth), Hyundai (seventh) and Tesla (ninth).

Xpeng joins at least five other Chinese brands that are slated to enter the Singapore market, including GAC Aion, which will be launched in April by Vincar.

Their addition will more than double the number of Chinese car brands from the four in 2023 – BYD, MG, Maxus and Ora.

Mr Say believes that Chinese EV brands are hastening their move into Singapore to build up global credibility as they try to break into European markets.

Automotive analysts expect EV sales in China to grow at a slower pace in 2024, even as domestic EV brands and Tesla have been cutting prices to boost demand. This slowdown in demand is pushing Chinese EV brands to look abroad for sales, some industry insiders believe.

The other Chinese EV brands slated to launch here are Smart, which Cycle & Carriage will roll out in the first half of 2024; Chery, which is represented by Vertex Automobile; Seres, which is imported by Hong Seh; and Neta, which Vincar has the rights to distribute.