Five years after the birth of the first series, a completely different Eado – “A milestone”, Chen Zheng defines it – makes its appearance on the automotive stage. Its mandate could not be more challenging: to express, alongside the Raeton CC, the new design language of the Changan brand and to launch a youthful compact intended for a young demographic on the Chinese and later international market.
“Eado is an acronym, where E stands for Extraordinary, A for Action, D for Dominating and O for Outcome. For me, from the design point of view, Eado stands for Efficient, Active, Different and Optimistic. That is how we encapsulate the new reality. I have deep emotions for Eado”, explains Chen Zheng, global design Chief of the Chinese carmaker. He also manages the Chinese studio in Chongqing and the Japanese studio in Yokohama out of the impressive European design centre on the outskirts of Turin, of which he is General Manager, a total team of 450 people.
The Changan Eado XT – code name C211 – should not be confused with another Eado that Changan is launching at the same time: the smaller Eado DT, earmarked to be the Chinese brand’s entry level model. From its older sister it has only borrowed the name for marketing purposes aimed at exploiting its charm and celebrity, but in reality it is a facelift of the already existing Yuexiang V7 subcompact, also known as the Alvsin V7.
The XT has been committed to enhancing product content and achieving leapfrog development, it encapsulates Changan’s ambition to change the connotations of its production with a quantum leap that can also be seen in the birth of a fourth brand within the group, alongside Changan itself (V-shaped logo), OuShang with its MPVs, KaiCheng with its light commercial vehicles (from A-shaped logo), and a premium brand, in a development that follows the precedents of Toyota (Lexus) and Nissan (Infiniti) achieving another breakthrough.
“In the four years up until the end of 2017”, says Chen Zheng, “the first series of the Eado sold 720 thousand units, 68 percent to young families. But the structure of Chinese society is changing rapidly, due also to new legislation that from 2013 allows families to have more than one child. There is a need for larger cars for parents and two children, perhaps even granny too, as well as the family luggage. Sometimes even a puppy”. Many opt for an Mpv. But even without going that far, a roomy car can be very convenient. And the Eado fits into that category.
4.71 metres long, 1.82 wide, 1.50 tall, available with a 1.6-litre 125 bhp aspirated engine or a 170 bhp 1.5 turbo, the new car had a very complex gestation. Chen Zheng explains: “Before thinking about design we had to make a study of user habits in a China where even young families are becoming more affluent. We therefore sent seven employees across China to learn about the daily lives of our potential customers. What do they do at the weekend, what mobile phones do they have, what tools do they buy, what means of transport do they use, what routes do they follow? A precise map for each family observed. And that’s because we don’t want to be a traditional brand, but the new brand”.