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2023 Auto Guangzhou: Ora Ballet Cat, sounds a bit like George Lennon Beatle

Clifford Chow
01/12/2023

ORA’s Ballet Cat looks like something which sounds a bit like George Lennon Beatle, and has a feature called ‘Goddess Mode’


Photos: Clifford Chow

GUANGZHOU, CHINA

Auto Guangzhou is one of the three most important auto shows in China. It provides a pulse on how the Chinese automotive sector is shaping up, and also lends attendees a peek into what might be coming their way.           

ORA, one of the brands owned by Hebei-based GWM, is among the few Chinese automakers which has penetrated the Singapore market. The electric-only marque’s single offering locally for now, is the Good Cat – a five-door compact hatchback, with a similar footprint to the Volkswagen Polo. Other brands under the GWM umbrella present at the Canton Fair Complex include TANK, Haval and WEY.

Another of ORA’s offerings which caught my attention at the autoshow was the Ballet Cat, a compact five-door hatchback which is almost a deadringer to something which sounds a bit like George Lennon Beatle… Form factor aside, the Ballet Cat comes across as a decently-built electric hatchback. Drive is provided by a 128kW (169hp), 250Nm front motor. The quirky compact is offered in two range versions – the first with a 49.93kWh battery, good for 401km, and the second with a 60.5kWh battery, capable of 500km. Both versions have a maximum speed of 155km/h.

For China, the Ballet Cat is targeted solely at female consumers. This is evident by it being offered in blue and power pink dual tone paint, among its available palette. On the inside, continuity in the form of two base colours, keep in-step with the exterior’s two-tone theme. There is a fair scatter of retro-inspired chrome fittings, which include the air-conditioning vents, door trim, switchgear and most notably, the steering wheel’s faux horn ring.

The Ballet Cat’s vanity mirrors behind both sunshades measure a whopping 8.8-inches diagonal, and are each lit by a ring light, containing 24 specially-tuned LEDs. ORA says that this is so that users will find it easier to put on their make-up. Speaking of make-up, there is actually a dedicated storage compartment for lipstick, foundation and blusher, which is located at the base of the centre-console. However, I am not entirely sure how the contents would fare in Singapore’s tropical environment. The Ballet Cat is also equipped with a wireless mobile charging pad, which is interestingly located within what ORA calls a “Swan Lake” centre console, complete with a fancy crystal bezel. Something which I feel is unnecessary, is a driver-facing selfie camera, complete with virtual “make-up” and stickers.



ORA has also included something they call “Goddess Mode”, which is quite similar to the Fiat 500‘s “City Driving Mode”. In the Ballet Cat’s case, the steering and accelerator become more sensitive, making it easier to drive in tight spaces. Other driving aids include an auto park function, a top-down 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, and front and rear collision warning which is paired with emergency braking.

We asked that all-important question on why the Ballet Cat is only aimed at women in its home market, since most cars today are gender neutral, therefore casting a wider net. A representative from ORA mentioned that while this is true for the Chinese market, it is really a matter of positioning on how the car is perceived, with regards to other international markets.

That said, we hear from the grapevine that ORA might have the Ballet Cat’s sister, or should we say “brother” car, the Punk Cat in the works. It is the same basic car, but essentially dressed-up as a version “for him”. So, if there are going to be two cars eventually, I bet it will probably be a matter of time before third-party suppliers produce what could be “him” or “her” Beetle kits, or even PORASCHE ones…

By our estimates, the Ballet Cat, if it arrives in Singapore, would retail at around the early $200k mark, factoring in today’s COE prices.

So while the hatchback may vibe like a present-day mash-up between a Volkswagen Beetle and in some sense, a Tatra T97; and also there is that famous story between Ferdinand Porsche and Hans Ledwinka looking over each other’s shoulders for inspiration… perhaps the Ballet Cat is ORA’s way of paying homage, while looking over theirs.

Sadly, we are not going to see the Ballet Cat anytime soon, as we were told that ORA will only be producing LHD versions of the car for now.

That said, ORA has mentioned that they intend to introduce the Porsche Panamera-aping Lightning Cat, and a new small SUV, to international markets; to which I interpret that Cycle & Carriage, ORA’s dealer here, might eventually present a three-car line-up.


Tags:

2023 Auto Guangzhou 5 seat 5-door Auto Guangzhou BEV electric EV EVs Great Wall Motor Guangzhou Auto Show GWM hatchback kDF Type 1 ora ORA Ballet Cat ORA Punk Cat Tatra T97 Tatra V570 volkswagen beetle Volkswagen Type 1 VW Beetle

About the Author

Clifford Chow

More than seven years beating the same drum! He loves good autos, but Shifting Gears has its merits. Wants to travel the world, but he needs the money. He's also damn good in his photos, but not like Jay Tee kinda good. @thenewcarguy

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