Xiaomi Auto has reshuffled its two key executives, giving the product division that was under Vice President Li Xiaoshuang, who is now based in Shanghai in charge of the company’s supply chain, to Vice President Yu Liguo, 36Kr reported on September 30. This is one of the few changes involving vice presidents since Xiaomi announced its vehicle manufacturing plan more than a year ago.
Li, formerly general manager of Xiaomi‘s TV division, joined Xiaomi‘s automotive division along with Ye Hangjun, Yu Kai and other key figures after the company announced its intentions of entering the vehicle industry, taking charge of its own products, developing autonomous driving and deploying its own vehicle consoles. In October 2021, Xiaomi formally appointed Li as vice president of Xiaomi Auto, responsible for its products, supply chain and marketing, and reporting to Xiaomi Auto’s CEO Lei Jun.
Yu is a veteran of the auto industry. Before joining Xiaomi, he worked at BAIC for many years, serving as president of BAIC’s ARCFOX. Yu’s resume entered Xiaomi shortly after the company announced its vehicle-making plan in March last year, and by the second half of 2021, he had officially joined Xiaomi Auto. After that, Yu formally served as the vice president of Xiaomi Auto and political commissar of the venture’s Beijing headquarters, responsible for the overall management, the promotion of special business, and talent construction.
Sources told 36Kr that, as an experienced insider, Yu was able to give Lei Jun advice on decision-making and quickly gained Lei’s trust. Other sources also said that Yu is still the temporary manager of Xiaomi Auto’s product department.
Xiaomi, which only started building cars in 2021, faces a rather competitive environment. A company insider believed that Yu could lend a more stable strategy to help Xiaomi Auto smoothly progress into the mass production stage.
Automobile industry veterans are indeed filling key positions in at the company. Last August, Zhou Xing, the former deputy general manager of SAIC-GM-Wuling, also joined Xiaomi Auto as a marketing director, reporting directly to Lei Jun. Hu Zhennan, the former director of Geely Research Institute, lived in Shanghai as a senior adviser for Xiaomi Auto.
At the beginning, Xiaomi planned to invest 10 billion yuan at the initial stage and another $10 billion for the long term development. As a result, in the early stages, Xiaomi planned multiple models at the same time, covering sedans, SUVs, and others. Moreover, their voltage was all 800V, which required a relatively high cost of support from the industrial chain.
At the high-level meeting at the end of last year, Lei Jun decided to focus on creating only one model first, while shelving some non-urgent research and development projects. He also chose to only use the 400V and 800V voltage schemes to ensure a wider price range.