(Yicai Global) Oct. 13 -- The first batch of 15 vehicles under the Haima brand jointly made by a Chinese internet company engaging in car manufacture and a traditional automaker rolled off the production line yesterday in Zhengzhou in the east-central Chinese province of Henan.
The first batch of 15 vehicles produced by Guangzhou Xiaopeng Automobile Technology Co., an internet car company, rolled off the production line at the Zhengzhou plant of Haima Automobile Group Co. [SHE:000572] yesterday, The Paper reported.
Internet car companies are new-style automakers set up by internet companies with no prior car manufacturing experience using the internet philosophy. Other players include Leshi Holding (Beijing) Co. and NextEV Inc., but, no internet car company had achieved mass production before Xiaopeng Automobile, which unveiled its development goal at yesterday's curtain-raising event, to wit to become a smart transportation service provider.
The company hopes that its newly-released version 1.0 model will offer quick upgrades to users just as Internet products do.
Xiaopeng Automobile is developing core systems of internet-connected cars by focusing on batteries, motors, electric control systems and control panels. Xiaopeng car owners can turn on air-conditioners, control charging, check auto conditions and locate their vehicles via remote control using a mobile app, the company's management said, adding that their cars also automatically follow others at low speed, park themselves and have other smart driving features.
With cars serving as mobile terminals like smartphones, vehicle networking products and smart hardware will in future replace traditional products, said He Xiaopeng, the carmaker's chairman.
Xiaopeng Automobile aims to become the first carmaker to increase on-board computing units and build an app store for Android systems to satisfy users' personalized needs, he said. For example, with built-in high definition cameras, Xiaopeng vehicles can spot vehicles violating traffic laws and report them after installation of license plate-recognition software.
To achieve that goal, He will further expand the firm's team to include 3,000 staff in two years and raise CNY20 billion. Per its plan, by August next year, Xiaopeng Automobile will have medium-sized production lines and produce 10,000 to 30,000 vehicles a year. It will attain output of 50,000 to 100,000 per year by the end of 2020.
The company will build a factory in Zhaoqing, in China's southeastern Guangdong province, it said in May. Investment in the phase-one project is CNY4 billion, and annual production could reach 100,000 units after the factory is completed. However, the company has yet to obtain a license to make new energy vehicles.
Haima Automobile, Xiaopeng Automobile's partner, said late last month that its wholly-owned subsidiary has signed a cooperation framework agreement for contract manufacturing with Xiaopeng Automobile, under which the former will make 50,000 internet-connected cars for the latter per year, with production of the first model starting by this year's end.