The Wuling Hongguang MINIEV is one of China’s hottest selling EVs. The very affordable city compact went on sale last summer to much fanfare, and now a convertible version is headed to the Shanghai Auto Show.
A product of SAIC-GM-Wuling, a joint venture in which General Motors is part stakeholder, the fixed-head MINIEV costs the yuan equivalent of about $4,300. In the 20-day period after its debut on July 24, 2020, Automotive News China reported that Wuling had sold 15,000 units and taken orders for over 50,000 more. It is the most popular EV the joint venture has ever produced.
The Hongguang MINIEV Cabrio concept makes several visual changes to the four-seater it’s based on. Lights front and rear have been replaced with video game-esque LED units, some of the negative space in the bumpers and doors have been filled in with contrasting color trim, and larger, and it rolls on more stylish six-spoke wheels.
Inside, the display screen that shows the instrumentation has doubled in width emerging from behind the steering wheel to where an infotainment touchscreen would typically be. A multi-function steering wheel succeeds the plain two-spoke. Due to the retracting top, the folding rear bench is no more, turning the Hongguang into a personal two-seater.
The regular Hongguang MINIEV is powered by two battery options, a 9.3 kWh unit with a 75-mile range, or a 13.9 kWh battery capable of 106 miles. Top speed is around 62 mph, plenty for the densely packed streets of Chinese cities.
It’s also immensely cute, looking like a number of modern Japanese kei cars, which is probably a strong selling point. It also comes in bright colors like light blue, yellow, and pink, with colorful upholstery patterns as well.
The SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture was formed in 2002. Chinese auto giant SAIC holds 50.1% of the stake, GM holds a 44% stake, and Wuling holds the rest.
While the car shown at the Shanghai Auto Show will be a concept, some Chinese language websites, like Autohome.com.cn are claiming that the Cabrio is destined for production. Some spy photos of the show car have already been snapped, showing that it has a maroon fabric top to contrast with the light blue body. The Hongguang MINIEV Cabrio is scheduled to be revealed when the Shanghai Auto Show opens April 19.