New energy vehicles, which have always been given high hopes, wanted to subvert the traditional automobile industry that has been controlled by giants and has remained unchanged for a hundred years with new components such as batteries and technologies such as shoulder-to-shoulder self-driving. However, in just a few years, all kinds of new car-making forces from the Internet industry, IT industry, real estate industry and home appliance industry have mostly fallen on the threshold of mass production of cars from 0 to 1, and the surviving companies are rare.
Production “eye” depth report group Phoenix network technology Phoenix news client
author gu Wenshu, Li Ting, Zheng Yuan, editor, Yu Hao
in recent months, the new energy automobile industry is even more “horrible” and is experiencing a wave of “bankruptcy tide”. According to incomplete statistics, in the past two months, there have been no less than five companies with problems such as capital fracture, back pay, and production stoppage, including Sai Lin, bateng, Bojun, Huatai, and Changjiang. Today “Selin cars run out of 5.9 billion financing” also sent to hot search, its assets have been seized, completely cool.
The waves of pressure-bearing fell down, and the companies that temporarily shouldered the pressure were also on a diet. “Weilai automobile has laid off nearly four employees in the past six months, and the remaining employees have generally reduced their salaries by 10%-20%.” Zhang Tian, an employee of Weilai automobile, told Phoenix network technology that even the free bus has to pay for it. Disguised means of salary reduction and layoffs can be seen everywhere in the industry, such as the mainland group’s forced unpaid leave, 4 days off for 3 days; The sky car is 996, but the salary is still 995.
Looking at every family falling down, Zhang Tian could feel their life and psychological pressure across the screen-a friend of a car in Bojun was owed 6 months’ salary and forced to turn to the law for help, “This is a step that everyone does not want to go and has to take under the pressure of life”.
The days are not good and outdated, and negative news is common. “The echelon of new forces had already taken shape in 2018. If the successors did not have strong capital or strong support from traditional car factories, they would become cannon fodder sooner or later.” an investor said.
He listed the new energy brands in the market in such four quadrants– the horizontal axis has mass production cars and no mass production cars, while the vertical axis is serious about building cars and playing Capital Games.“If you have a mass production car and make a car seriously, the prospect will not be too bad; if there is no mass production car, whether it is serious or not, as long as there is no reliable capital background, it will almost be over.”
the reshuffle of the new energy automobile industry actually took shape as early as 2018.
On the surface, the momentum of China’s new energy vehicles reached an unprecedented grand occasion in that year– production and sales volume were 1.27 million vehicles and 1.256 million vehicles respectively, accounting for half of the total sales volume of new energy vehicles in the world, ranking first in production and sales volume in the world. There are more than 400 electric vehicle manufacturers registered in China. They can be roughly divided into three camps: traditional Automobile Group, foreign/Joint Venture Group and new car-making forces.
Traditional schools, such as BYD, SAIC, BAIC, Geely, etc., are rich and experienced; Foreign/joint ventures, such as Tesla, BMW and Great Wall, Mercedes-Benz and BYD, are stronger and stronger; new forces for car-making, such as Weilai, Xiaopeng and Weimar, are not weak either. They dare to innovate and fight big with small ones.
One of the three pillars, everywhere.
But just because there are too many brands and too fierce competition, the hidden danger behind the carnival also follows-overcapacity.
Around 2018, investor Hu Zhimin found that when his friends handled second-hand new energy vehicles, they sold them directly at the price of cabbage, and the last few thousand pieces of cars that were only opened for one year were common. In Shanghai, in areas with dense new energy manufacturers such as Nanjing, Didi, which runs all over the streets, is almost a new energy vehicle. to C- end consumption is weak, so manufacturers have to rely on to B- end consumption.
And government subsidies also began to retreat from 2018, becoming a catalyst for the decline in the new energy automotive industry.
Consumers spend more than 50,000 more than before buying a Weilai ES8 after subsidizing the retreat, and passenger cars with cruising range less than km are not even within the scope of subsidies. In the industry, it was also common to make money by cheating. “I have seen a company directly return the new car to the factory for assembly and reorganization after receiving subsidies, and cheat and make up again” hu Yimin said that especially around 2015, the subsidy policy had just been introduced and was also very strong. According to statistics, from 2015 to October, the cumulative sales of new energy vehicles were 174,000, but only 108,000 vehicles had licenses, nearly 70,000 of them are likely to be split and resold for cheating.
The new energy industry, which has been in chaos for many years, encountered subsidy retreat, stricter supervision and weak consumption in 2018, and soon entered the stage of “de-bubble. One intuitive manifestation is that the sales volume of new energy vehicles declined in 2019, compared with the 7.5% decline in the output of new energy vehicles in 2018 and the 8.2% decline in sales volume. The epidemic has increased the blow to the new energy vehicle industry. From May to May this year, the production and sales of new energy vehicles completed 295,000 and 289,000 respectively, down from the same period of last year. 39.7% and 38.7%.
In addition, overseas auto brands, especially Tesla, are quite popular in china. They did not have subsidies in China, but they can also receive a small amount of subsidies as they build factories in Shanghai and reduce their prices to less than 300,000. For many domestic brands, this is undoubtedly a senior classmate who has encountered “extra meals” after “weaning”. He is not as tall as others and runs slower than others. Fighting can only suffer.
Another group that first feels the warmth and coldness of the industry is capital.
“After the subsidy was retired, the electric car factory could not get the money, and the money owed to the battery factory. The battery factory owed the money to the raw material factory. All the way up, the capital chain of the whole industry was not good.” Mei Jianjian, a far-reaching Fuhai investor, said that he received financing needs from two new car-making forces last year and did not respond to them, “The new forces that build cars do not have their own viability. They lose money every day. The follow-up financing can’t keep up with them and they will collapse in minutes.”
hu Yimin also felt that the primary market was gradually cooling down from 2018 and spread to the secondary market, which was the sharp drop in Weilai Auto’s share price. Weilai, which opened at US $9.9, fell to its lowest price of US $1.5 on 2019, and its share price continued to decline for more than half a year.
When seeking financing, bateng senior once estimated that in order to make ends meet, at least 60,000 cars should be sold every year. Weilai’s ES8 has only sold more than 40,000 vehicles in two years of listing, and it is still in a state of loss. As the head company of the new car-making forces, Weilai’s performance after four years of investment of 41 billion yuan was not as expected, let alone other new car-making forces.
Even 18 manufacturers who have obtained the production qualification of the National Development and Reform Commission, at least 5 companies have not been able to achieve mass production. After 2018, many companies also broke out in arrears, layoffs, auctions or acquisitions. These qualified manufacturers are not completely inexperienced in making cars. Most of them have been struggling in the field of traditional cars for many years, with an investment of more than a billion or even tens of billions.
Zhidou, who invested more than 12 billion yuan and sold more than 100,000 cars, was listed as a dishonest list by Ningbo Intermediate People’s Court in 2019 due to Disguised layoffs and salary cuts, becoming a traditional “laolai”; lu Lan Zhou has been involved in electric vehicles since 2005, but in 2018 this year, it also broke out wages, dealers transferred to the Internet, after-sales, and was frozen by a Guangdong court with assets of 447,000 yuan.
Ideal, Weima, bateng and other companies obtained qualifications through “backdoor” acquisition of companies with automobile production qualifications. Weilai and Xiaopeng are mainly operated on behalf of production. Most of these new car-making forces entered the market around 2015, with at least 50 labeled “Internet Plus Electric”, and now only about 8 companies have mass production cars, including Weilai, Xiaopeng, weima, ideal, Union new energy, new features, cloud degree, zero run, etc.
In addition to qualifications, the NDRC is further raising the industry threshold. Starting from January this year, pure electric vehicle products must complete KPI– sales of 30,000 pure electric passenger cars or 3000 pure electric commercial vehicles in two years, or the cumulative sales of pure electric vehicle products in the last two years was more than 3 billion yuan.
It can be seen that the watershed of the new energy automobile industry has taken shape, and brands that fail to produce mass production may be “stillborn”.
the reshuffle of the new energy automobile industry is not only due to external causes such as subsidy retreat, capital exit and epidemic strike, but also internal causes such as internal supply chain management, product Channel planning and cash flow control of various companies, it also determines how far and how fast a company can go.
“The core difference between building a car and making the Internet is that the Internet does not have fixed assets, so it is easy to fight big with small assets. Building a car requires billions of dollars first, and many people underestimate the complexity of the project, I accidentally planted it.” hu Yimin said, “people who change from the Internet to making cars often have an over-optimistic mood”.
Li Xiang, an ideal car founder who once worked in the Internet industry with ease, realized after five years of practice: to build a car, we must train a “start-up enterprise starting from the 18th floor of hell”.
He broke the news in his circle of friends, “there are only two VP in a team with more than 3200 ideal cars, even few senior directors. The administration requires that the economy class for business trips must buy the lowest discount and live with two of the same sex.” Even if you shrink your clothes and diet like this, the ideal car will still spend 1 billion US dollars in 5 years, of which more than 2 billion yuan will be invested in research and development, and more than 2 billion yuan will be spent on building factories, purchasing production qualifications, and building its own sales service system, and personnel management fees.
When entering the market, it is difficult for manufacturers to bet on their position and take detours. For example, the first project of the ideal car is a double SEV, which is expected to be exported to Europe, but it was aborted in 2018 because it did not have a thorough understanding of the policy, and then it focused on creating the ideal One; bateng, who announced the shutdown on July 1, started to build Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and developed the center to Europe and the United States. As a result, it burned 0.8 billion US dollars before it saw significant results.
Making cars is not just as simple as dealing with auto parts suppliers and factories. “Now the supply chain of new energy vehicles is no longer just the automotive industry, but also involves consumer electronics, batteries, the internet, artificial intelligence and other new areas.” zhu Minxi, an employee of the ideal car, said that the mass production of a model of the ideal car requires cooperation with more than 100 first-class suppliers, and these first-class suppliers will also have second-class, third-class and even eighth-class suppliers.
“When we started our business, we called the suppliers. When they heard this, they thought we were liars and hung up directly. Later, when the business personnel contacted, they threw out that they were introduced by XXX, so that others would continue to listen to our needs, “Zhu Minxi said. In addition, many new car-making forces lack funds and the brand effect is not obvious, resulting in difficulty in attracting talents and financing, forming a vicious circle. “The investment in car building is very large, the cost of drawing design is tens of millions, and the cost of opening a model is Millions. The investment is huge and the process is very complicated.” zhu Minxi said.
When working together from different industries, there will be conflicts among colleagues. For example, people who are engaged in the Internet and the traditional automobile industry will have different views on the user experience. The former is more inclined to design and decoration, the latter cares more about the performance of parts. “We often quarrel and argue in the group. Fortunately, we will sit down and talk afterwards and reach a consensus,” Zhu Minxi said. “It’s like a fight between men, and the relationship will be better”.
As a traditional car practitioner, Liao Yifan thinks that the new car-making forces are all burning other people’s money, and they can be bold and innovative without being distressed, such charging piles and other business model innovation“This may be the only reference for new forces in car-building. They have been on the break-even line for a long time, with small scale, weak bargaining power in the supply chain and poor cost control”.
Finally, the low-end car market has long been saturated, and it is not easy for new energy forces to squeeze in. Unless the development of cutting-edge technologies for new energy vehicles, such as a new generation of batteries, self-driving, etc. Most manufacturers almost do not have too many core breakthroughs and are still in research and development.
“The most important link in the research and development process of new energy vehicles is cost control, and the most difficult link is the development and innovation of new technologies.” Zhu Minxi believes that cost control can ensure survival and core technology control can ensure continued unbeaten. Otherwise, it can only survive in the cracks of foreign car-making forces forever.
One of the major benefits of mastering core components is that they are self-contained and controllable. There are already factories producing electric drive, battery and electronic control, “If you control these core components by yourself, you can complete the update and iteration of products and the adjustment of details quickly, instead of relying on the layers of modification of the supplier.” Zero running car Zhang Qiang said.
However, at the level of automatic driving, Zhang Qiang said that L3 is reserved for zero-running cars at present, and L4 is not yet available, “because automatic driving is not mature enough now and the risks are too great, including Google, tesla has suffered casualties abroad, and now the zero-running car is not large enough to bear the input cost and risk of L4”.
These are also the problems that most new energy manufacturers are currently overcoming– in the core components to achieve self-control, in the future trend of automatic driving, the layout should be ahead of schedule.
However, the gate to be climbed in front of us is still-selling good cars and realizing positive cash flow. Not only the new forces of car building, but also the traditional car faction and joint venture/overseas faction will overcome this difficulty at home.
The future may be just like what Wang Xing said-the pattern of Chinese car enterprises will present a pattern of “3+3+3+3”: the three central enterprises are FAW, Dongfeng (second automobile) and Chang ‘an; the three local State-owned enterprises are SAIC, GAC and BAIC. The three (traditional) private enterprises are Geely, Great Wall and BYD. The three new forces for building cars are ideal, Weilai and Xiaopeng.
Today’s reshuffle is even more confirmed. The opportunities are only a few, but which company can become the “top three” is still a little early. There is no lack of local government, FAW and so on among the investors of bateng. According to the informed sources, these investors will not see bateng’s assets disappear like this, I will also take action to make this board live. It is understood that bateng’s core personnel have not been dissolved and are also exploring new opportunities.
New energy vehicles must be the general trend, but its expansion scale and speed will slow down. “New energy vehicles still have to rely on infrastructure such as charging piles and batteries to make greater breakthroughs,” said an industry insider.
One thing is certain, shuffling is not a bad thing. There are many small hills and the firepower cannot be concentrated, so the shortcomings of various companies will be obvious. Nowadays, the consumption is sluggish and the capital is tight. A small amount of resources can only be gathered to the head to further integrate the market. The challenge of domestic car-making forces has just begun.
(In the article, Zhang Tian, Hu Yimin, Zhang Qiang, Zhu Minxi and Liao Yifan are all pseudonyms)