New car brands in France (# 5): Aiways U6 (2022)

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The young start-up from Shanghai is preparing to launch its second model, an SUV cut with original lines, on the technical basis of the U5. Something to stand out in an electric offer where classic SUVs are king.

On the electric platform of the U5, Aiways plans to launch a model halfway between coupe SUV and raised sedan with a particularly spectacular design, theU6. In the form of a concept named U6 Ion, it was to be revealed to the public at Geneva Motor Show 2020, canceled at the last minute.

Sad fate for this impressive show-car close to the production model, which benefited from the advice of the famous Japanese designer Ken Okuyama (GM, Porsche, Pininfarina: Ferrari F50, Maserati Quattroporte…), in a consulting mission for the young Chinese brand.

Her rather massive figure (4.73 m) offers good proportions and a clean appearance of the body surfaces, while the treatment of details is a little more loaded: shields filled with appendages aerodynamic, brightly colored accents in the side sills, 20 inch rims, complex headlights and lights …

Air penetration is neat, with variable openings in the grille, deflectors creating a side air stream and a rear spoiler, for a Cx of 0.26 in the final version. Passengers will appreciate the fully glazed roof dome, letting light enter an interior that is at least as original as the exterior, with many colored touches.

Influences from aviation and navigation

From the original concept, the brand did not retain the steering wheel which recalled a airplane broomstick. The selection of the transmission incorporated in a large rotary handle, a reference to the world of motor boats, is kept. A fun treatment, extended by the integration of a scooter and a drone.

the dashboard of the production model, expected in 2022, will leave aside the major exuberances of the style study to adopt a classic steering wheel and a wiser interior presentation, adding a multimedia screen even bigger evoking the Tesla Model 3. The production U6 coupe should receive a 63 kWh battery to power its engine. 150 kW (204 hp), as on the U5. What to give performance in relation to its look to say the least dynamic.

The results of The Auto-Journal : the products are there, but …

If it failed to take at the time of the thermal era, the offensive of Chinese manufacturers in Europe takes a completely different measure with the arrival of electric. Enough to offer models well suited to demand, playing on aggressive prices and sometimes spectacular designs. Still, it is difficult to take the step of buying cars from manufacturers without notoriety here, be they giants in their country, the first automobile market in the world. Electricity is already unknown to many customers.

Will they want to take the plunge by taking the risk of trusting brands without an image and a limited distribution network? We can bet that, among them, some will succeed in standing out, with the appearance of models in our streets and an evolving image. But a question will always keep some consumers, that of the origin of products while we are increasingly looking for “made in France” (or “in Europe”).

This article by Nicolas Valeano can be found in The Auto-Journal n ° 1097 of 12/02/2021.

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