General Motors’ joint venture in China, SAIC-GM-Wuling, has been incredibly successful at selling tiny electric cars such as the Hongguang Wuling Mini EV. But GM’s joint venture is now turning its attention to the off road segment with a new EV concept that looks suspiciously familiar to the Suzuki Jimny, as Car News China reports.
At SGMW’s recent debut of the 2023 Baojun KiWi EV, the carmaker teased an unnamed boxy EV with design that basically looks like the company tore the body off a Suzuki Jimny frame, and set it atop the chassis of a Baojun KiWi.
The Baojun KiWi EV itself is similar to the Wuling Mini EV, but costs more and comes better equipped as part of the automaker’s premium lineup.
Other reports (link in Chinese) show “KiWi” branding on the off road EV’s grill, meaning it could be a new model in the Baojun KiWi lineup. The EV would reportedly be built on the same platform as the KiWi, but will use two electric motors instead of just one. Each electric motor would make a minimum of 54 horsepower for at least 110 HP, according to Car News China.
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Two electric motors indicate this Jimny doppelgänger could come with AWD, but nothing is certain for now. Indeed, the EV could end up with limited off road capability — well, compared to the actual Suzuki Jimny — if it even comes to market at all. Everything about this concept is speculative, and about as blurry as the footage currently available on YouTube.
But given how well SGMW’s tiny EVs are selling in China, I would say there’s a decent chance that the carmaker is looking to capitalize on current trends with its own off-road(ish), lifestyle electric car.
And, hey, as long as carmakers anywhere are keeping two-door models alive in the age of the homogenous fully-electric blob, I’m excited. Baojun plans to show a concept that’s close to production-ready at the Guangzhou Auto Show in November of this year, and will reportedly also announce the launch of its electric off-roader, which is expected to be sometime in early 2023.