The Volkswagen ID.7 sedan has had a somewhat tepid reception since it was officially shown off and driven by journalists. Sure, it seems to be a fine enough EV; InsideEVs contributor Tom Moulagney was genuinely impressed by the car’s driving dynamics. And some customers still want that sort of thing from their sedans. Still, when it comes to the car actually taking up space in the overall EV conversation, it seems like the ID.7 has stayed kind of quiet, ceding ground to more eye-catching shapes from China and South Korea. And pre-orders in China don't seem to bode well for its success there, either.

The ID.7 isn’t quite on sale yet in the U.S. or Europe, but buyers in China have been able to reserve one for a while. But outlet CarNewsChina found that the ID.7 is kind of a dud right out of the gate, amassing a mere 300 orders in the first 72 hours it was available for preorder.

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VW's electric ID.7 meets China's cutthroat EV market. Will other places respond the same?

China's a trendsetter for EV and PHEV cars. New EV models often have thousands of preorders within a few days of the vehicle going on sale. If Chinese consumers aren't interested in the ID.7, U.S. consumers might not be interested either. 

In a country where it’s common to see thousands of preorders for new EVs, only a few hundred may mean rough things for the brand.

CarNewsChina consulted with a Chinese market consumer research agency CarFans, an agency that specializes partially in tracking the amount of preorders of new vehicles. The firm determined that each dealer in China received between zero and one (1) preorder for the car. Chinese consumers are put off by the high price and perceived lack of value; for example, they aren’t so keen on the fact that heated seats are a cost-added extra. Moreover, Chinese dealers have reportedly struggled to move less-than-desirable configurations of the ID.7, as buyers who are interested in the ID.7 want cars equipped in ways that the dealers don’t have.

In China, that’s not good news. The "Western" auto brands dominated in China for years, but more recently, they're facing crushing competition now that the homegrown car companies actually know what they're doing. The CEOs of non-Chinese automakers have openly stated that they’re in danger of losing the Chinese market, in part because they were slow to develop EVs. But it seems like the EVs they are making aren’t all that desirable.

For context, the similarly priced and similarly shaped Zeekr 007 received 25,000 preorders in nine days. I can’t imagine Volkswagen will somehow gain 24,700 more preorders for the ID.7 if given six more days. 

As a whole, VW’s EV operations aren’t going all that smoothly. For example, Chinese-market Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4 got significant price cuts this past summer to boost flagging sales and make the car more competitive against Chinese domestic competition from BYD and Geely. In Europe, Volkswagen cut output at the factory that produces the ID.3 and ID.4, citing slowing demand. Audi is also scaling back its EV rollout, disappointed with EV sales growth.

Is it truly slowing demand? Or has VW produced a car that’s a little uncompelling?

Gallery: 2024 Volkswagen ID.7 First Drive Review

In the U.S., the ID.7 will likely start around $50,000. It will be imported from Germany, which means it won’t qualify for any EV purchase tax credits. At that price, it’s facing stiff competition from the Hyundai Ioniq 6 or Tesla Model 3, both proven, trusted nameplates that are selling handsomely.

It’s not that the ID.7 is a bad car. We won’t know that until it is officially on sale and in the consumer’s hands. But from what we already know, it’s not clear if this car will be able to make a case for itself against the competition. Plus, China tends to be somewhat of a mirror for the United States market. The love of large crossovers and expensive premium brands is just as strong, if not stronger, in China. Thus, if Chinese consumers aren’t wowed by the Volkswagen ID.7, American consumers probably won’t be either.

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