China’s electric carmakers are paying top-dollar rents to open showrooms in luxury malls, as they seek to gain an edge in the hyper-competitive market.
More than half the malls in Shanghai have at least one electric-vehicle showroom and more are planned, according to real-estate service provider Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. They are now part of the “standard configuration” of shopping centers in medium-to-large cities, the firm said in a recent report.
With dozens of EV makers in various stages of development jockeying for a slice of what is the world’s largest EV market, upstart brands like Nio Inc. and Xpeng Inc., and the new-energy arms of SAIC Motor Corp. and Geely Automobile Holdings, are staking out ground in malls to burnish their image as premium goods for the middle class and differentiate themselves from more established automakers.
Rents for a 200-to-300 square meter (2,150-3,230 square feet) showroom in prime areas of China’s biggest cities run to around $1…
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