Huawei-backed Aito says gets 50,000 orders for M7 car since relaunch

SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) – Huawei-backed electric vehicle (EV) brand Aito has received more than 50,000 orders for its revamped M7 model within the first 25 days since it went on sale, the company said.

Richard Yu, Huawei’s Smart Car CEO, announced the milestone on his Weibo social media account on Saturday.

The orders, which required a non-refundable deposit, would put Aito among China’s five top-selling new energy vehicle manufacturers, based on sales data for August.

Huawei has enjoyed a swell in patriotic consumer support since the surprise launch of its premium Mate 60 Pro phone in late August, which many analysts say uses a domestically made chip and marks a breakthrough in the face of years of U.S. technology sanctions against the company.

The Aito brand, which Huawei makes in partnership with Seres Group, launched the M7 in July last year.

As of June, Aito had shipped just 27,405 of the original M7, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

It relaunched last month with a new five-seater version and a lower starting price point than the original.

While Yu introduced the new M7 in a presentation last month and the cars carry Huawei branding, Huawei has repeatedly said it does not make cars on its own but only helps other automakers make better vehicles.

Huawei is also expected to launch an S7 sedan with Chinese automaker Chery under a new marquee, Luxeed, next month which Yu said would be superior to Tesla’s Model S. It will also roll out another model under the Aito brand, a M9 sports-utility vehicle, in December.

Huawei’s intelligent automotive solution business brought in one billion yuan revenue in the first half of this year, a tiny fraction of the 310.9 billion yuan ($42.63 billion) its total business earned over that period, the company said in August.

(This story has been refiled to add a missing word in paragraph 8)

($1 = 7.2932 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and Brenda Goh and Zoey Zhang in Shanghai; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Miral Fahmy)