On February 17, Geely’s electric automobile brand Zeekr denied recent accusations of sales fraud on social media. The Chinese company has already filed for a U.S. initial public offering.
Consumer dissatisfaction with Zeekr started with the expiration of Chinese subsidies for EV buyers at the end of last year. Additionally, on November 19, 2022, Zeekr promised that all orders of the 2022 Zeekr 001 made before December 31 can enjoy a lifetime warranty. The large subsidy and the lifetime warranty benefits attracted consumers to place orders on the 2022 version in December. At that time, the 2023 Zeekr 001 had not yet been released.
On January 1 this year, the national subsidy for electric vehicles, which had been implemented for 13 years, ended. On the same day, Zeekr released the 2023 Zeekr 001. Some functions that cost extra for the 2022 version are free for buyers of the 2023 version. However, a warranty period was instated for the 2023 version.
The choice between the 2022 version with a lifetime warranty and state subsidy versus the 2023 version without a state subsidy and lifetime warranty but with the free functions has aroused heated discussion.
When customers placed orders for the 2022 Zeekr 001 last year, the company did not set a time limit for picking up orders. Zeekr promised that it would negotiate with customers when the 2023 version is unveiled. Therefore, many people believe that the company’s sudden announcement violated their previous agreement and accused the company of sales fraud.
After Zeekr’s announcement, complaints about the company began to appear, mainly focusing on unfulfilled promises, sales fraud, and concealing the launch of the new model from consumers. At present, more than 2,000 customers who placed orders for Zeekr vehicles have filed a joint complaint.
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Zeekr responded, “Some clauses of the car purchase agreement indeed differ between different periods. That is common in the industry. We always strictly abide by the car purchase agreement signed with customers, and there is no unilateral private modification of the signed agreement or malicious damage to consumer rights and interests.”
From January 11 to February 1 this year, Zeekr’s factory stopped production for 22 days. According to data that was later released, the sales volume of Zeekr 001 in January was only 3,116 units, down 72.5% from the previous month and 11.7% from the previous year. However, the Zeekr 001 topped the list of the highest sales of EV models priced over 300,000 yuan ($43,680) in China, with a monthly sales volume of 11,300 units.