New Spy Shots Alleged to be Those of New SAIC Subcompact

   Date:2012-01-10 (Shanghai January 9) - SAIC Motor, which entered the SUV segment last year with the debut of the Roewe W5, looks to expand its reach into other market segments. Recent spy shots taken by (Chinese) in Shanghai's Jiading district seem to suggest that the manufacturer is now working on a new subcompact.

Looking at the photos (above), the subcompact has a wheelbase that would place it in the same range as the Chery QQ, BYD F0, Geely Panda, Suzuki Alto and similar vehicles. The left door is clearly emblazoned with the letters SMTC, an abbreviation short for SAIC Motor Technical Center. The subcompact looks to have a three door, two seat configuration, which would distinguish it from most other models in the segment.

There is a lot of speculation as to why SAIC would be interested in developing a subcompact. Some point to a statement made by the manufacturer in 2010 regarding its five-year development plan for 2011 to 2015, where SAIC said that "by 2012, [it] would begin production of the Roewe 550 plug-in electric hybrid and an own brand pure electric car." The photos may very well be that of the aforementioned own brand EV. 

According to reports made in 2010, the own brand EV would be powered by both an 18 kWh lithium ion battery and 47 kW motor, and would be able to be driven for over 150 km at an average speed of 60 km/h. It remains to be seen if those reported specifications will have changed or not.

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