A Wednesday report by Chinese media outlet Sina Tech alleged that Evergrande Auto has indefinitely delayed the pre-sale of its Hengchi 5 model, sparking heated online discussion. That evening, Evergrande Auto issued a statement denying the report.
“Affected by the epidemic, the mass production schedule of the Hengchi 5 was postponed from June 22 to September 20, and the pre-sale work is progressing normally,” Evergrande Auto said in the statement.
According to the firm, on April 2, founder Xu Jiayin led a group of executives to visit Evergrande Auto’s experience center in Guangzhou, where three Hengchi 5 models were displayed. The Hengchi 5 is the first mass production model of Evergrande Auto, and is positioned as a pure electric SUV. The first car was successfully rolled off the production line on December 30, 2021, 12 days ahead of the original timetable.
The length, width and height of the new car are 4725mm/1925mm/1688mm respectively, and the wheelbase is 2780mm. It is also equipped with a ferrous lithium phosphate battery provided by domestic industry leader Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) and a drive motor produced by UAES, giving it an NEDC cruising range exceeding 700km. Its peak power and rated power reach 150kW and 60kW respectively.
On April 30, Evergrande Auto officially announced the recruitment of authorized agents, and introduced in detail the sales channel model, store building standards, and qualification requirements. It mainly recruited authorized agents in 18 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu. On May 8, the first round of recruitment of authorized agents ended. According to Chengdu Business News, some dealers have expressed a wait-and-see attitude towards the Hengchi brand.
Evergrande Auto’s vehicle manufacturing process began in 2019. That year, its parent company Evergrande Group acquired 51% equity of NEVS, a Swedish electric vehicle company, for $90.3 billion, and in 2020, it spent $379 million in acquiring its remaining equity. In addition, Evergrande wholly acquired Protean, a British motor company. Subsequently, Evergrande Auto started work related to the design and R&D of automobiles. In August of last year, six cars by Evergrande Auto were unveiled, covering passenger cars, SUVs and MPVs.
However, Evergrande Auto’s losses have continued. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, the losses increased year by year, which were 1.429 billion yuan ($211.4 million), 4.426 billion yuan and 7.394 billion yuan respectively. In the first half of 2021, it also lost 3.822 billion yuan.