(Bloomberg) -- China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group Ltd., which has pledged to take on Tesla Inc. but repeatedly missed production targets, is taking preorders for its first vehicle.
The electric sports utility vehicle, the Hengchi 5, is larger than BMW AG’s X1 model and powered by Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. batteries. The car is designed to run 602 kilometers (374 miles) on one charge, the Guangzhou-based company said during an online event Wednesday evening.
The starting price of the vehicle is 179,000 yuan ($26,681) after the state subsidy, the company said. Deliveries are expected to start as soon as October and reach 10,000 units by the end of March.
“Hengchi 5 will become the best pure electric SUV below 300,000 yuan,” said the company president Liu Yongzhuo. The company has “invested huge efforts in the past three years” to introduce international talents and advanced technologies, and to “build a quality Chinese EV by integrating global wisdom,” Liu said.
It’s a step forward for the carmaker whose parent group is still stuck in debt issues. Having touted the car as early as 2019 and pledging to take on Elon Musk’s Tesla as the world’s biggest maker of electric vehicles within three to five years, the company has pushed back its production date several times.
Evergrande NEV will build a sales network of 200 outlets by the end of this year, comprising both direct-sales stores and authorized dealers. Customers who put down a 1,000 yuan refundable deposit and 10,000 yuan upfront as of Aug. 1 can pay the remaining balance at delivery and are allowed to return the car for refunds within 15 days after delivery. The company also promised to buy back the car at up to 60% its original price in three years.
At its peak, Evergrande NEV was valued more than Ford Motor Co. before being caught up in the debt crisis engulfing its parent company, property developer China Evergrande Group. The stock plunged more than 95% and trading in Hong Kong has been suspended since April 1.
Meanwhile, China Evergrande Group defaulted in December and aims to provide creditors with a preliminary overhaul proposal by the end of July. The real estate giant said last month that it was actively pushing forward with the restructuring work.
Both onshore and offshore investors are closely watching what could be one of the nation’s biggest debt restructurings, as they prepare for a lengthy battle over who gets paid from what remains. Evergrande has more than $300 billion in liabilities.
The developer is also facing a winding-up lawsuit in Hong Kong.
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