Li Auto Founder Releases Vehicle Launch Plan, Lower Year-End Award Triggers Controversy

Li Xiang, the founder of Chinese electric vehicle Li Auto, revealed the cost positioning of each model on Twitter-like Weibo on January 30. The company’s L9 will remain in the price range of 400,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan ($59,225 – $74,031), the medium-sized L8 and L7 will stay in the price range of 300,000 yuan to 400,000 yuan, and the L6 and L5 (non-SUV form) will be priced between 200,000 yuan to 300,000 yuan.

Li also said that there will be no models under 200,000 yuan. Recently, rumors swirled that a new version of the L8 will be equipped with non-air suspension and have a price tag of about 300,000 yuan. In addition, Li revealed in a live-streaming event that the L6 will be postponed until next year due to the lack of energy and production capacity this year.

From January to December 2022, a total of 133,246 vehicles were delivered by the brand, an increase of 47.2% compared with 2021. As of the end of 2022, its cumulative delivery volume sits at around 257,334 vehicles.

However, behind last year’s growth in delivery volume, many employees were disappointed about their year-end bonuses. On January 19, a certified employee posted, “Li Auto boosts its high delivery volume to the public and provides unrealistic promises to drive us to complete sales targets. However, our year-end award fails to meet our expectations. I’m ready to quit.”

After the post was published, many Li Auto employees in the comment area agreed with the sentiment. An employee in charge of logistics said that employees on the lower part of the company ladder like himself did not even receive a year-end award.

Another employee, in charge of sales, was even more resentful, “During the interview, the company said that there are 6 social insurances, housing provident fund and 13-month salaries, but after actually joining the company, I’m under great pressure to meet sales targets. About 20% of employees will get a ‘C’ after every performance appraisal. I thought I could get more bonuses when the sales volume soared last year, but failed.”

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Even the R&D team, which Li Xiang has previously announced to have received increases in investment, has been affected. An algorithm engineer said, “When hiring, everyone is said to get 14-month or 16-month salaries, but it is never written in the official labor agreement. When I joined the company half a year ago, I had no other choice. Now I’m looking for new job opportunities.

According to the information on the recruitment website, “product experts”, as employees are often called, working for Li Auto in different regions are paid differently. In first-tier cities, some jobs provide 13-month salaries, while in a few lower-end markets, some jobs promise 15-month or even 18-month salaries.