Zeekr aims at Audi, BMW, Mercedes buyers in Germany

GOTHENBURG, Sweden – As Zeekr, the Geely premium full-electric brand, prepares to enter the European market, it is taking aim at Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz customers who are switching to EVs from diesel models.

“You cannot play in the European premium pond if you are not able to lure at least a small portion of the 75 percent of German customers who will convert from diesels to electric cars,” Spiros Fotinos, Zeekr’s European CEO, told Automotive News Europe this week on the sidelines of the brand’s European launch here.

Zeekr on Tuesday opened pre-orders in the Netherlands and Sweden for the 001 midsize shooting brake and the X compact crossover. Deliveries are set to begin in the autumn, Fotinos said.

Fotinos, who joined Zeekr in September 2022 after 24 years at Toyota and Lexus, declined to give any short- or long-term volume prediction for Zeekr sales in Europe, outlining only the planned rollout per country.

Zeekr hopes to start sales in Denmark, France, Germany and Norway in 2024 and to cover Western Europe by 2026. Other launches in central and Eastern Europe, as well as in Fotinos’s native Greece, will follow the development of the electric vehicle market in each country, he said.

The launch of Zeekr will give Geely three full-electric brands in Europe, in addition to Polestar and Smart (50 percent owned by Mercedes), as well as Volvo, which aims to be an electric-only brand by 2030.

The Zeekr 001, at 4995 mm long, rivals the Hyundai Ionic 6 in terms of size and design. It will start at 59,490 euros in the Netherlands for an entry model that has a single electric motor with an output of 272 hp. The 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack supplied by CATL is expected to deliver a WLTP range of 620 km (385 miles), with homologation pending.

A dual-motor, all-wheel drive top-level Privilege version has 544 hp and a range of 580 km, with a top speed of 200 kph. It is priced at 67,490 euros.

In comparison, the Audi Q4 E-Tron Sportback starts at 53,000 euros and goes up to 73,000 euros for an all-wheel-drive Quattro version.

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