Li Pengcheng, the former assistant to the CEO of XPeng Motors, will join Avatr Technology after China’s upcoming Spring Festival holiday, 36Kr’s auto media outlet reported on January 12. Avatr said it had no official comment for the time being. An individual familiar with the matter said that Li Pengcheng’s specific position has not yet been determined.
In 2019, Li joined XPeng as the general manager of brand public relations, reporting directly to He Xiaopeng, the firm’s chairman and CEO. In November last year, XPeng completed the internal organizational structure adjustment, and Li’s position was changed to assistant to the CEO. In early December, Li left the job.
As a new brand that was officially released just one year ago, Avatr, which is jointly operated by Changan Automobile, Huawei and CATL, is still in the stage of recruiting. In October 2022, Wang Lin, chief marketing officer (CMO) of Avatr, reportedly left the job. She was responsible for Avatr’s brand strategy and user development.
Earlier, a source close to Changan Automobile said that Avatr’s user operation and marketing are dominated by Changan, but Avatr has always advocated reducing its connections with Changan.
Avatr is now in a critical period in terms of product delivery. On December 20, 2022, the first batch of Avatr 11 cars, the firm’s first electric SUV, officially rolled off the production line and started delivery. Tan Benhong, the chairman and CEO of Avatr, once said that the total order volume of Avatr 11 has exceeded 20,000.
Avatr has set a high goal for the expansion of offline channels. It adopts direct operation and authorization, with plans to expand the number of stores to 500 in 2023. By contrast, the number of stores under NIO and XPeng is close to 400, and there are more than 200 Li Auto stores.
Avatr has also reached an agreement with Huawei that Avatr 11 will officially enter Huawei’s flagship stores in Beijing and Shenzhen before the end of 2022.
Although backed by Changan, CATL and Huawei, Avatr needs to cope with weak demand for new energy vehicles in China. In 2022, NIO, XPeng and Li Auto failed to achieve their annual targets, among which NIO and Li Auto achieved about 80%, while XPeng delivered less than half of its target.
Regarding the expected market performance in 2023, Zhang Yongwei, Secretary-General of China EV 100, predicted that although over 10 million vehicles are expected to be sold, subsidy withdrawals, rising raw material prices, and the chip shortage will pose great challenges for car companies.
Recently, Zhu Huarong, the chairman of Changan Automobile, revealed that Avatr will launch four products before 2025, with sales exceeding 300,000-400,000 units. With a target of delivering 100,000 vehicles this year, Avatr will launch its third car in the second half of this year.