BYD appears to have revealed what the F will stand for with its new off-roader brand: Fang Cheng Bao, which translates literally to Formula Leopard.

    A page has been created on Chinese social media network Weibo for Fang Cheng Bao and, given an earlier copyright filing for it by BYD, it appears to be a lock.

    Not content with just rolling out its high-end Yangwang brand, with its Mercedes-Benz G-Class-rivalling U8 SUV, it’s now rolling out the Fang Cheng Bao brand with a boxy SUV of its own.

    The new brand will slot in under Yangwang, with a price range of between 400-600,000 yuan (A$84,060 to $126,091). That’s right around what the Land Rover Defender costs in Australia.

    The as-yet unnamed Fang Cheng Bao mode, codenamed SF, is set to be revealed this month.

    Images shared on Chinese media earlier this year reveal boxy, upright styling in the vein of the Defender, Ford Bronco, and a raft of new Chinese SUVs like the Jetour Traveller and GWM Tank 300, down to the tailgate-mounted spare tyre carrier.

    Spy photos reveal a luxurious cabin with leather-wrapped surfaces and metal- and crystal-look switches.

    Chinese media reports indicate the SF measures 5m long with a 2.8m wheelbase, and will use a 507km plug-in hybrid powertrain with a combined range of 1000km on the CLTC cycle.

    It will also reportedly use BYD’s new DiSus-P suspension system, also known as the Intelligent Hydraulic Body Control System, which also features in the Yangwang U8.

    This can control the oil intake of the damper, damping adjustment valve, and stiffness adjustment valve, while offering travel of up to 200mm.

    This system can also lift all four wheels simultaneously, or independently for a single wheel. BYD claims it can provide an instantaneous 200 per cent increase in stiffness during high-speed cornering or other “intense” driving conditions, while also reducing impact load in a collision.

    Yangwang and Fang Cheng Bao join the Denza brand, formerly a joint venture with Daimler which BYD has now assumed control of. It slots in underneath both brands in terms of pricing.

    It’s unclear if Fang Cheng Bao – and Yangwang, for that matter – will be exported from China.

    BYD is busily embarking on a massive global expansion, with its namesake brand having recently entered markets like Australia and Europe.

    With its export program, however, it has been focusing on its electric vehicles and not its plug-in hybrids.

    The Chinese automaker only produces electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as of last year.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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