The idea, revolutionary when the brand was launched, was a daring gamble. By disembarking in Europe, Aiways, the Chinese brand from Shanghai, wanted to do without dealers. The sale ? Completely online, as for the maintenance of cars, it was entrusted to Green light for France. But after a short year of activity, the volumes were not up to the manufacturer’s ambitions. Only 340 E5s had found takers out of the expected thousand. So the small brand that wants to go up reacted.
At the end of last year, the decision was made, at least on the French market. Goodbye direct sales of the only model available: theE5 and hello to the show rooms. Since December 2, in the fifteenth arrondissement of Paris, a small shop has been waiting for customers. In Guadeloupe and Martinique, the same fight. Within a few months, the brand also intends to carry out six new openings in Lille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon, Nice and Monaco. Operations that must be finalized before the launch in Europe of the E6, supposed to offer 500 km of autonomy. The SUV coupe, was to be initially unveiled last year.
Hundreds of millions and a new staff
But to deploy this way, and launch other models, since the Chinese plans a new car every year for 5 years, you need some subsidies. So Aiways proceeded to a new fundraising of several hundred million dollars and reviewed its staff, in particular by poaching Charlie Zang from the other new Chinese brand of the electric car, Nio. He joined the board of directors alongside the new boss: William Chen, the historic shareholder.
A reshuffle at the top which obviously testifies to a certain turmoil within the company. However, Aiways does not let go, on the contrary. The additional millions accumulated from shareholders should allow the Shangrao plant in China to ramp up where the cars are assembled. Currently, its capacity does not exceed 150,000 cars per year, but it should be able to manufacture twice as much. At what moment ? “When the global demand for electric cars increases”, explains the brand.
However, we cannot help but compare Aiways to another Chinese brand that landed in Europe almost at the same time. MG, since it is about him, sold last year nearly 3,000 cars in France and has 120 points of sale distributed in the hexagon. There is no doubt that Alexander Klose, former Volvo and Aiways boss for the old continent, must carefully scrutinize the actions of his main competitor, even if the latter has plug-in hybrid cars and not just 100% electric models like him. . In any case, Klose is counting on the E6 Coupé SUV which is due to land this summer, and, from 2023, on the E7 which, as its name suggests, will have 7 seats.
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