Mini Bronco: Pass on the Ford Bronco: Go for the Baojun Yep EV Instead
With the new Ford Bronco and Jeep brand shining a light on old-style SUVs, all automakers are paying attention, even in China. But in most other parts of the world, as with China, smaller sells better. So what we have here is the GM-derived Baojun Yep two-door pickup. Or let’s call it what it is, a mini-Bronco EV.
Is the Baojun Yep based on a production EV?
Right now, the pickup is only a concept, fashioned around Baojun’s Yep two-box SUV. But because of that, it is not a stretch to produce it, should the automaker give it the green light. Beyond the top chop, a spare hangs at the back, and large wheels combine with a slight lift.
Since it is based on the production SUV, we’ll assume under the mini-Bronco’s skin it’s the same. That means power comes from one 67 hp motor at 50 kW and 103 lb-ft of torque. The top speed is around 62 mph, with a range of 188 miles. According to Carscoops, a dual-motor version is coming soon.
On the outside, the mini-Bronco has a slightly longer body behind the rear wheel centerline, to give just a skosh more cargo space. But, this isn’t about practicality, it’s more about fun. While the bed adds some practicality, eliminating the rear seat of the SUV limits passenger capacity. But, again, there shouldn’t be much-added expense since 90% of the pickup already exists.
Does GM make the Baojun Yep EV?
So what is SAIC-GM-Wuling? It’s a joint venture between GM Chian, SAIC Motor Corporation, and Liuzhou Wuling Motors Co Limited. But GM’s influence includes its Global Manufacturing System. Since forming in 2002, the triumvirate has produced millions of vehicles in China. The Chevrolet Spark, which has been sold here since 2012, is one of its co-developed vehicles. (BTW, this is the last year the Chevrolet Spark will be available in the U.S.)
As for the Baojun Yep SUV, it will launch on May 25. So the mini-Bronco pickup concept helps to bring attention to the small SUV. In many ways, it looks like the Suzuki Jimny and its exterior dimensions are almost exactly the same.
Would this sell in the U.S.?
To give an idea of potential sales, SAIC-GM-Wuling sold almost 70,000 Mini EVs in China in the first quarter of this year. One thing helping these EVs sell is the price, which in the case of the Mini EV is $8,680. While we know relations with China are shaky, it would be interesting to see if an EV like this could sell in the U.S. With its cute looks and crazy low price, how could it not?