Honda launches next-gen EV brand in China to take on BYD, first two SUVs due out in 2024

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Can Honda turn things around in China? Domestic automakers like BYD are dominating the market. Meanwhile, Honda unveiled its next-gen EV brand “Ye” with the debut of the first set of models, including a pair of electric SUVs and a sporty GT model.

Honda unveils new Ye EV brand in China to boost sales

After sales fell 10% in China last year, Honda looks to jumpstart the brand with its new EV brand.

The new “Ye” series was unveiled in China on Tuesday, making it Honda’s third brand in the country after e:N and Lingxi. Honda plans to launch six new Ye vehicles by 2027.

Honda’s Ye brand will wear a new “H mark” to represent its next-gen EVs. The company said its new models are designed to offer more value to customers in China. They will be based on a newly developed dedicated EV platform tailored for the Chinese market.

The first two models are crossovers, the Ye P7 and Ye S7, which will go on sale by the end of the year. Based on its new platform, Honda’s next-gen EVs will be offered in single and dual-motor 4WD versions.

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Honda Ye P7 (Source: Honda)

The RWD variant is designed to offer “sporty and crisp handling,” while the 4WD model packs more power and responsive handling.

Inside, Honda’s new EVs are equipped with LED lights on the instrument panel and door panels that change based on AI.

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Honda Ye S7 (Source: Honda)

Honda’s Ye P7 “expresses a seamless, sophisticated and smart sense of the future,” while the S7 represents a “more emotional sense of the future that stimulates people who see the vehicle.”

The Ye P7 and Ye S7 are set to go on sale by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Honda’s new Ye GT Concept features a sleek low-riding silhouette. The interior is designed to immerse the driver like a race car.

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Honda Ye GT Concept (Source: Honda)

For the first time on a Honda, the next-gen EV will feature a far-focus display, giving the sense of a private theater. The electric GT is set to go on sale by the end of 2025.

The automaker plans to introduce 10 Honda-branded EVs in China by 2027, aiming for electric models to account for 100% of its sales in the region by 2035.

Electrek’s Take

With the Chinese auto market quickly transitioning to electric, many legacy automakers, including Honda, were caught flat-footed.

Domestic automakers like BYD are dominating sales in China, squeezing joint venture brands out of the market.

Honda’s sales fell 10% in China last year, Nissan’s slid 16%, and Toyota’s were 1.7% lower than the year before.

With electric cars priced under gas-powered rivals, like the new Seagull, starting at $9,700 (69,800), BYD expects joint venture brands’ market share to shrink to around 10% from 40% over the next three to five years.

Like many legacy automakers, Honda is scrambling to turn things around in the world’s largest EV market.

The company said its new Ye brand is designed to “accelerate its transformation in China where the EV shift is proceeding rapidly.”

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