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Do Not Sleep on Geely, Hengchi, A Frankenstein'd EV Co., MAAS' Upcoing Moment - SAI Newsletter #31



Podcast announcement:

Following our successful virtual conference, Sino Auto Insights and the US China Series have decided to continue our cooperation with the launch of a podcast that will provide more in-depth coverage of the China/US mobility & transportation sectors.

In our inaugural episode, Paul and I discuss Li Auto’s IPO and I further speculate on XPeng and WM Motor’s IPO ambitions. I invite you to have a listen and subscribe if you’d like to hear more of Paul Krake and I waxing poetic about all the latest goings-on in the sector. As always, appreciate any suggestions for topics and/or constructive feedback that will make the podcast or newsletter better.

I also wanted to acknowledge the ongoing, challenging relationship currently between the US and China. It’s now pulled a couple of very popular social media apps, one popular in China the other in the US, into the debate. Since we talk auto and mobility here, I won’t get into the social media stuff too much but I will say that any continuing challenges with the relationship could without question affect electric vehicles, mobility, and autonomous vehicles so we will monitor update and as always give you our opinion on how we think things may play out so you can plan accordingly.

I’ve spoken with a few investment research folks and some journo’s and we should start to see more coverage generally about how the challenges may affect a few different, important sectors like the one we all care so much about, as they try to game out all the different scenarios. We may be in for a rocky next few months though so buckle up!

Other news from yesterday was NIO’s earning, they lost $164M for the quarter but had a +9.7% vehicle margin compared to a -24.1% margin in FQ2’19. For the month of July, NIO delivered a total of 3.5K vehicles (2.6K were ES6’s) but raised its Q3 sales forecast which is important since they’ve started delivering their 3rd product, the EC6 to accompany their ES6 & 8. Contrast that with Li Auto delivering 2.5K Li One’s and Tesla delivering >11K vehicles in July.

Now on to the news.

IN THE NEWS:

-   There’s a bike shortage around the world. If you’re keen to get one and don’t want to wait up to 2 months after you order it, think 2nd hand. Here are some tips for finding a good, used two-wheeler.

-    Ridehailing companies like Uber and Lyft may need to make some significant changes to their Income Statements as a California judge orders them to classify drivers as employees. This blows their biz models out of the water during an already difficult time.

-    Is 5G finally getting the attention and prioritization it needs from the US govt.? It very well could be, but we’re likely still looking at years before it’s useful to the masses.

-    Ford going private won’t make their challenges go away, it may just make them more apparent.

TRENDING ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

-    The Cybertruck looks like a doorstop. The Nikola CEO doing his part to stay in the headlines by calling out the design of Telsa’s pickup. I get it, the share price goes down unless the company is making news but do you really want to poke that bear? I’d talk to the guys over at NIO first.

-    A Hot Wheels collection worth $1.5M – you bet!

-    When will the preference for big honkin’ SUVs fade? Many OEMs hope not for a long while.

-    Chinese buses doing their part to keep American cities from being overrun by pollution.

-    Keeping facial recognition software useful when everyone’s wearing a mask.

-    A new generation of fans break the internet listening to Phil Collin’s sick beats for the first time, for those that don’t know Phil was initially is a drummer by trade. This short video is GREAT.

PRODUCT & SERVICE INTRODUCTIONS:

-    The Cadillac Lyriq was revealed last week in what was what I’d call a fairly bizarre product intro. With social distancing the rule of the day, it can definitely make product intros awkward for audiences. That’s unless they’re planned accordingly. If you’re trying to build excitement for your luxury brand’s grand entrance into the EV market, building anticipation and excitement should be keys to events like this. That was NOT accomplished IMHO.  Having said that, I like the Lyriq, I think the rear end of the vehicle starting at the c-pillar needs a design scrub. Those eye level brake lights sandwiched between two pieces of sheet metal really look out of place.

-   The boys over at Evoke just launched an e-cruiser with some impressive specs. It’s called the Evoke 6061 and it looks pretty cool. I know the Beijing based Evoke founders, Nathan and Seb so I wish them good luck with this. They’re planning to launch this thing in the US, so its gonna need to be pretty impressive if it’s going to compete on that side of the world. I think they’ll do fine.

-   Another kitschy-cool design for an electric motorcycle. What should we call something that’s more than a moped but doesn’t quite fill out to be a motorcycle? Suggestions welcome. I am thinking this Punch Moto might be fit that bill, reminds me of a motorcycle that the Roblox designers would ride. A bit boxy, not super comfortable, but pretty utilitarian. Will have to wait and see if it’ll get greenlighted.