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  1. Analysis
July 30, 2021

SAIC future models – Roewe & R

Roewe contributes worthwhile volume and, it's presumed, profit to parent firm SAIC Motor. Virtually exclusive to China, the brand has lately been joined by a new division called R.

By Glenn Brooks

Looking at retail sales for the Chinese market in the first half of 2021, Roewe had customer deliveries of 177,043 units. The far newer R brand, with just two models, managed 4,305 cars. Let’s take a look at the smaller of those marques first.

R

Originally due to be called ei6, the ER6 was the first R model. A 4,724 mm long electric version of the Roewe i6, it went on sale in May 2020 although the first deliveries didn’t take place for a further three months.

The vehicle was originally the Roewe ER6 when displayed at its first motor show (Chengdu) a year ago this week. The brand was changed soon after.

The ei6 had been announced and shown as a prototype in April 2017 with the powertrain claimed to be a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine plus one electric motor. The ER6 is instead an EV. The single motor has a stated output of 181 hp, the battery’s capacity is 70 kWh and the NEDC range is up to 605 km.

After some minor model year updates, the next news for the ER6 should be a facelift in 2024. The second generation due in 2027 will be on a different platform: the current model uses SAIC’s SSA.

The only other existing R model is called Marvel-R and there are two choices of power for this 4,674 mm long electric SUV. The cheaper of these comprises a two-motor set-up which also means rear-wheel drive and a claimed range of up to 500 km. The three-motor option also means standard all-wheel drive.

Originally called Roewe Marvel X and launched in China in October 2018, the vehicle was facelifted and had its name changed in May 2020. One year later it was launched in multiple LHD European countries as the MG Marvel R. At the same time, the Chinese market original became the R Marvel R (i.e. new brand and model name lost a hyphen).

SAIC should facelift the Marvel R once more in 2022 and replace it in 2025 using the same architecture, albeit in modified form.

There is as yet no confirmed name for a future crossover; only the code: ES33. SAIC revealed a prototype in March, stating that ES33 would be in production in the second half of 2022. Another fact was that LiDAR supplied by Luminar would feature.

The pre-production car made its public premiere at the Shanghai motor show in April with the final version due to be revealed within the next six to nine months.

Roewe

There are two models which, together, are Roewe’s best sellers. The first of the pair is an EV but atypical by being a wagon. The Ei5 is said to use an adaptation of GM’s aged Delta architecture, helping to make it a low cost model. The single motor is powered by a 52.5 kWh battery pack. The MG 5 EV is more or less the same car.

The first time that the Ei5 was seen was as a prototype at the Guangzhou motor show in November 2017. Sales commenced in mid-2018 and there was a facelift in April.

The second of the pair is called i5. This is a (4.6 m long) sedan version of the Ei5. Unlike the battery-electric wagon though, the i5 is powered by petrol engines.

A facelifted i5 premiered at the Guangzhou motor show in November 2020. There will likely be a second facelift in late 2022 or early 2023. Both models should then be replaced by new generation EVs during the final quarter of 2025/first quarter of 2026.

The i6, a 4,671 mm long sedan, is another popular model. It replaced the Roewe 550.

Production commenced in January 2017 and the car went on sale during the following month. The MG 6 is closely related to the i6.

The i6 Max was announced last September. This is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine which produces 178 hp and 275 Nm.

The R ER6 can be thought of as the electric version of the i6 as the cars share a platform, a wheelbase dimension and many other things.

SAIC added the i6 Max PHEV at the same time as the Max. The plug-in hybrid has an identical petrol engine but adds a single motor for a combined power output of 308 hp (and 480 Nm compared to 275 Nm).

The next generation i6 range is scheduled to appear in 2024.

The model name isn’t yet known but a crossover-coupe is said to have been heralded by the Jing, a concept that premiered at the Shanghai motor show in April. That vehicle had a dramatic front end with the grille meant to resemble the mouth of a whale.

Both petrol and petrol-electric PHEV powertrains should be offered when the model goes on sale in 2022.

Not a future model but instead the most recently released series production vehicle is called iMax8. This 4.7 m long MPV premiered at the Beijing motor show in September 2020, having been previewed by the iM8 at a brand event held four months earlier.

A 173 PS 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo engine was said to power the iM8 concept. SAIC told the media that the production vehicle’s name would be iMax 8. The Max is said to standard for ‘Make Attitude Xtreme’, SAIC says.

The production model went on sale in China during the first quarter with a more luxurious four-seat derivative added in April. A facelift isn’t due until 2024 but there should be an electric version in 2022 or 2023. The next generation will likely be launched in 2028.

The Kelaiwei is one other relatively new Roewe. This unusual model is a 3,140 mm long two-door EV. There is no Roewe logo on the front end: instead, the word CLEVER is where the grille would be.

The 37 kW (50 horsepower) and 100 Nm motor is said to be supplied by JJE (Jing-Jin Electric). The 27 kWh battery pack gives an NEDC maximum range of 260 km, SAIC says.

A facelift for the Kelaiwei (Chinese name)/Clever should take place in about 18 months’ time with a replacement in early 2026.

Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of Just Auto. That includes Roewe and R models not detailed in this report.

Future platform intelligence

More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of GlobalData’s Automotive Intelligence Center.

This, the second of three features examining SAIC Motor’s current and future models, follows a look at what’s ahead for Maxus & LDV. MG will be the topic of the third report.

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