top of page

My week in Munich at IAA Mobility - SAI Newsletter 34


Where to begin. I’ve tried to press send on this newsletter for almost two weeks in between trips to NYC & Munich. With so much to go over, I think I’ll send out a short note updating you all on last week in Munich for the IAA Mobility and what I will get a more ‘news’ related newsletter out later this week.

My Munich quick takes:

- Munich is a great city. Beautiful, walkable, historic and a place I want to come back to with my family. I’ve been told that the weather last week isn't the norm, but it was nothing but sun, blue skies and not too hot.

- IAA Mobility is a thing. I immediately bring everything back and compare it to BJ / SH auto show but that’s not fair. The Munich show is still mostly cars with some mobility sprinkled in but having Munich as the backdrop makes it somehow more worthwhile.

- Munich is littered with amazing classic German cars. Mercs, Porsches and Bimmers mostly. I quickly notice them and the few Chinese EVs (with many more to come) that have started to hit the roads.

- China Auto Inc feels pretty welcome in Germany. Judging by the number of companies and CEOs that showed up to represent, I’d say that they see a tremendous opportunity for growth here.

- The World New Energy Vehicle Congress that was part of this year’s IAA was a HUGE success. Kudos to the teams from both China and Germany who were able to pull it off. Will write about it in more detail in the next newsletter.

- We’ll be hosting our annual Happy Hour in Detroit next Tuesday at the auto show so for those in town, stop by the Brakeman - Address: 22 John R. Street, Detroit, MI 48226

I wrapped up my visit to Munich with a carwow partner awards ceremony on Thursday evning - thanks Philipp for the invitation. It was great to meet Philipp and James, the leadership team at carwow, and I hope I get the chance to meet up with them again and often. The event was on the rooftop of a 9-floor building in Munich’s Upside East where we had views of the entire city – truly breathtaking.

Speaking of Philipp, our latest MAX episode just dropped and yep, Philip Sayler von Amende was our guest. He is the Cofounder and CEO of carwow Germany. His team probably has the best pulse of the German auto market, the brands, the consumers and the trends so it was great learning about the idiosyncrasies of that market, and there are many.

If you are an (global) EV nerd like I am, it’s important to know the actual challenges and potential barriers for EV adoption around the world and the most important market in Europe. That makes this MAX episode a must listen to. Let Philipp kick you some knowledge.

China EV Inc is on its way to Europe without question, but it’ll take quite a bit of effort, a detailed study of the market(s) and help from key platforms like carwow for them to really gain significant traction and sales volume. Now, that window will eventually close so can European Legacy Auto quickly launch feature-rich, affordable EVs before a few China EV Inc brands truly gain traction?

That is the part that most worries me for ALL legacies. On the other hand, not all Chinese brands will succeed in Europe, quite the contrary IMHO, I think there could be 4-6 that eventually sell in any significant volumes but those combined volumes could take a good chunk of share from European brands, eventually.

My Detroit moment in Munich: There was road construction on seemingly EVERY turn I made, more on that later, which made what likely would’ve been 10 minutes rides become 20-25 minute rides. But what made up for it was the walkable city which after the generally heavy German food + a few maß was a welcome bit of needed exercise.

There are many China / BJ / SH friends who, like me, have moved out and landed all over the world. That’s the other (good) part of making these trips, invariably, I will know someone that I’ve not seen or spoken with in a long time, we’ll just catch up where we left off last time like no time has passed. I was able to meet with an old friend from the BJ days (great to see you Mirko!) who happened to be good friends with someone I'd not met before (but also have many mutual friends with), that is until Thursday evening.

Many who’ve followed China EV Inc from the beginning will know who Daniel Kirchert is. For those that do not, Daniel was an ex-BMW exec turned startup EV founder. He and Carsten Breitfeld were the two founders of Byton. It was great to finally meet and chat with him.

He’s a wealth of knowledge and boy oh boy, the stories he can tell. We will try to get him on a MAX episode because he has the goods about the early days of China EV Inc and how it was the wild, wild east. He is one of the few people that truly can tell the story firsthand.

Finally, I was impressed not only by the number of Chinese companies but also the breadth of companies that were a part of IAA. Neither XPeng nor NIO had booths but they both played significant roles last week in the news cycle.

With XPeng, Brian Gu along with local German and European XPeng leadership presented about their international strategy which has been ratcheted up several notches at a presser in a conference room at a hotel across the street from Messe München. They plan to be in many more markets at this time next year. They also said they’d likely be in the UK by the end of next year with a RHD vehicle in tow.

As for other companies with booths at IAA: LiDAR (Hesai, Robosense), Autonomous vehicles (QCraft, DeepRoute), Batteries (EVE, Sunwoda, CATL), Silicon (Horizon Robotics, Black Sesame) and of course EVs (LeapMotor, Seres, BYD who consequently made the biggest impression of them all (see picture above).

It’s a zoomed out snap of their presser on Monday AM. That red circle is where I was camped out. I got there early and wasn’t really paying attention to how many folks had gathered until after I saw that picture posted later in the day by BYD.

Also, that brief list of companies is NOT exhaustive, just companies that came to mind off the top of my head. I am sure I am missing a few but this gives you an idea about the possibilities these companies see for expansion and growth into the European markets.

Contrast that with this week at the Detroit Auto show where there will likely be only a few Chinese companies in attendance, likely LiDAR & maybe battery companies.


- Reuters. More details below but I give my take on the BYD transaction which I outline in more detail below.

- Foreign Policy. Spoke with Lili Pike for her piece about the challenges ahead for China EV Inc entering the US market. She breaks down the real challenges and agree with friend of Sino Auto Insights, Ilaria Mazzocco that protecting the US market from Chinese brands will only likely keep prices higher and competition much, much less intense. Remember in general, innovation happens when markets are really competitive, it also caps pricing (see China price war).

- Rest of World. A profile on BYD, but this time with a Southeast Asian twist. It’s amazing what they’ve been able to accomplish and as you can see from this week’s newsletter picture that the would is starting to finally take notice. But it may actually be too late.


Outside of dropping MAX episode #18 with Philipp Sayler von Amende, Lei and I also recorded last week’s CEM #132 while I was driving a NIO ET7 to the Munich airport. NIO was kind enough to lend me an ET7 (thanks Afonso and Emma) so we thought it would be pretty cool to record video + audio as we were doing 200km / hr on the autobahn.

We are a bit behind getting episodes posted so will try to drop a couple this week as we get last week’s edited – keep an eye out!

If you can can’t join the live show, I invite you to listen to our recorded China EVs & More episodes at this site. And as always, we appreciate any feedback that will make the show better.


- Detroit Lions 1-0. They were in the spotlight last night vs. the reigning Super Bowl Champion KC Chiefs and beat them by 1 point! What a HUGE win to start the season. Need to keep our heads down and continue to grind and work though. Expectations will be sky high next week vs. Seattle Seahawks. #RestoretheROAR


This weekly newsletter is a collection of articles we feel best reflect the happenings of the week or important trends that have effects on the global automotive and mobility sectors. We also provide a point of view that we hope educates and sparks debate.

The Sino Auto Insights team


Sino Auto Insights is a Beijing, China-based market research and advisory firm that specializes in assisting companies analyze, strategize, and develop products and services that will shape the future of mobility and transportation.

Members of our team have experience working in Detroit, Silicon Valley as well as here in China across multiple sectors and functions as entrepreneurs as well as working at larger companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, GM and FCA, and many others.

164 views0 comments


bottom of page