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By Zhou Xiongfei
“In 2020, new energy vehicle sales will account for more than 90% of Geely’s overall sales.”
Six years ago, Geely took the lead in officially releasing the new energy vehicle strategy blue Geely action. At the press conference, an Conghui, CEO and President of Geely Automobile Group, explained the first “Five-Year Plan” to realize this strategy, including the first “ambitious” goal in the industry at that time.
In 2018, at the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress, Zhejiang delegation held a meeting of the whole delegation. As chairman of Geely, Li Shufu once again declared to the media, “we have released the” blue Geely action “. By 2020, more than 90% of Geely vehicles will be new energy vehicles.”
However, now that five years have passed, Geely’s achievements in new energy are far from the goals it set in the past.
According to the data released by Geely in November last year, the total sales volume of vehicles from January to October 2020 is 1015498, of which the total sales volume of new energy and electrified vehicles is 58909, accounting for only 5.8% of the total sales volume, and even 1 / 9 of the “90%” target has not been reached.
In order to save the “quagmire” new energy business, Li Shufu and Geely urgently need a strong ally, and at this time, baidu appeared in front of them.
The official account of Baidu WeChat released on Monday is “yes! Baidu is going to build a car “article, announced the formal establishment of a smart car company, as a vehicle manufacturer to enter the automotive industry, and the new company’s strategic partner is Geely Holding Group.
Baidu announced joint venture with Geely, official account of Baidu
After Baidu officially announced the cooperation news, the two stocks both rose.
Baidu’s share price rose 9.06% at the close of U.S. stocks on Tuesday, while Geely’s share price opened 3.31% higher on Monday morning, reaching HK $35.5 per share in the session, once a record high.
Baidu, as the first enterprise in China to lay out the layout of automatic driving and automobile intelligence, began to deploy Apollo automatic driving plan in 2017. It is undeniable that automatic driving has become the focus of domestic new energy vehicle industry at this stage.
With Baidu’s blessing, Geely new energy may be able to make further progress in automatic driving and intelligent vehicles, which can be described as an opportunity to “step on the fast lane of development”.
So, unite Baidu, is Geely new energy saved?
Geely Baidu, already “ambiguous”
The boots made by Baidu finally landed.
As early as mid December last year, according to Reuters, baidu is considering making its own electric vehicles, and has held preliminary talks with Geely, GAC and FAW, but has not reached any substantive agreement.
At that time, although all parties were silent, on the 7th of this month, according to Reuters, baidu was planning to establish a joint venture with Geely to build a smart electric vehicle company. Affected by the news, Geely motor shares in Hong Kong rose as high as 20%.
According to the official announcement of both sides, Geely and baidu not only contributed to the newly established smart car company, but also put forward the advantageous resources of “pressing the bottom of the box”:
Baidu will provide the new company with core automotive intelligent technologies, including artificial intelligence, Apollo automatic driving, small vehicle and Baidu map;
Geely will come up with a new generation of pure electric architecture platform sea vast intelligent evolution experience architecture as the basic development platform of the whole vehicle in joint manufacturing.
Geely SEA platform, the official account of Geely Holdings Group
In terms of the resources provided by both sides, Geely and Baidu both give the part that the other side lacks, which is a good complementary. After all, for car manufacturing, Baidu has no manufacturing capacity, while Geely, as a traditional car company, also has shortcomings in intelligent software.
Before the official announcement, the two sides had been “ambiguous” for many times.
As early as in the 2019 Baidu AI Developers Conference, Geely and Baidu have started to cooperate. At that time, Li Shufu and Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li carried out a “car inside and outside” interaction through the first cloud intelligent SUV of Geely Automobile at the conference site.
According to relevant media reports, at that time, Li Shufu sat on the PRO of Bo Yue and Robin Li at the scene. He carried out a live connection through the small vehicle system in the car, and demonstrated the various functions of the vehicle interaction. The cooperation of the two became the news that the media were competing to report at that time.
In addition, Li Shufu and Robin Li jointly announced that Geely Holding and Baidu will launch comprehensive strategic cooperation in the field of automobile and travel, including AI, intelligent driving, smart home furnishing and e-commerce. According to Li Shufu, starting from Geely Boyue pro, Geely will start to fully carry the gkui19 system which integrates small vehicle interaction system.
In July 2019, ECAT and Baidu Apollo formally signed a strategic cooperation agreement. According to the agreement, the two sides will continue to carry out in-depth cooperation in small vehicle, AI brain, voice technology, vehicle map and other fields. According to the enterprise survey data, ECAT technology is an independent automobile intelligent technology company incubated and invested by Geely.
In recent years, based on ecarx intelligent networking technology, Baidu and yichatong have developed a set of on-board system, named gkui system, which is exactly the on-board system used in many models, such as linker 02, linker 03 champion and linker 03 + champion customized version.
In the aspect of speech technology, ECAT also cooperates with Baidu to develop a speech recognition system with better understanding ability. In addition, on the vehicle engine map side, based on the accumulated data base in the vehicle engine field, yichatong technology has jointly developed the vanguard version of Baidu map on the vehicle terminal with Baidu map.
It is precisely because of such cooperation that the cooperation between Geely and Baidu also expanded to the capital level last year.
In October last year, ECAT announced the completion of a round of financing worth 1.3 billion yuan. According to the data of enterprise investigation, one of the leading investors in this round of financing is Baidu investment department. As a result, this investment is also seen by the industry as foreshadowing for the cooperation between Geely and Baidu in car building.
Baidu leads to invest in technology information of ECAT, and check the screenshot from the enterprise
Now it seems that perhaps it is because of such a series of cooperation that Geely stands out from the alternative partners such as FAW and SAIC and becomes a strategic partner of Baidu. And this, for Li Shufu, is crucial.
As early as in the 2019 Baidu AI developer conference, he expressed his praise for Baidu’s AI.
“The development of smart car technology in China has been at the forefront of the world, bringing consumers safe, convenient and colorful travel experience. Baidu is the leading goose of AI in China, and also the pioneer of promoting industrial intelligence. It has the world’s leading ai r & D capability and profound technology accumulation in the field of intelligent driving. ” Li Shufu told the media.
At present, Li Shufu needs Baidu’s blessing to promote the development of Geely’s new energy business.
Geely’s new energy dilemma
Compared with many traditional car companies in China, Geely’s new energy layout is “very early”.
In 2014, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk bringing model s to China, there was a wave of “new energy car making” in the domestic market, which once became a well-known wind outlet. For Li Shufu, who has been in the car circle for many years, naturally he has seen this.
So a year later, Li Shufu did two things.
The first one is the high-profile release of “blue Geely plan”, which is the first to announce the transformation to electric in traditional automobile enterprises. The other one is the launch of the first pure electric vehicle of Geely, the EV version of Dihao. By contrast, Tesla had just entered the domestic market, and Weilai, ideal and Xiaopeng had just been established.
Geely Dihao EV, tuyuan Geely Auto official micro
In fact, Geely took a shortcut to launch the emgrand EV so quickly. According to Geely’s official introduction, this model is actually based on Dihao’s fuel version, which is also called “oil to electricity” in the industry.
In short, the engine, fuel tank and other traditional power devices in the fuel vehicle will be replaced by motor, battery and other components, and the whole vehicle chassis will not be redesigned. For automobile enterprises, this can not only reduce the R & D cost of pure electric vehicles, but also speed up the R & D progress, launch products as soon as possible and seize the market.
At that time, there were not many competitors in the domestic new energy market that could compete with Geely. Just because of this, according to the data of the passenger car Association, this car sold more than 40000 vehicles between 2015 and 2016.
With such success, Geely launched the pure electric SUV emgrand GSE in 2018.
Similar to emgrand EV, emgrand GSE is also a new energy SUV based on the fuel version of emgrand GS. Once launched, although more than 10000 vehicles will be sold in 2019, compared with the emgrand EV launched three years ago, it has shown a declining trend.
The main reason for this phenomenon is that the domestic new energy market at that time has changed compared with 2015.
According to the data of China Federation of passengers, in January 2019, the sales volume of domestic new energy vehicles ranked No. 9 with 2808, while BYD, Great Wall Motor’s yuan EV and Roewe ei5 all ranked No. 1. Yuan EV even had five times the advantage of the former – 10093.
The sales list of domestic new energy vehicle models in January 2019 is based on the travel map of China Travel Association
Sales volume of domestic new energy vehicles in January 2019,
The data comes from the travel association and the online travel map
In order to save the decline, Geely launched “geometry”, a new energy brand, and promoted it to a parallel position with Geely and linker brands, promoting it as a “high-end pure electric brand”. In addition to launching the brand, the first model of the brand, geometric a, was also launched, which was once advertised as “the best electric vehicle in the eastern hemisphere”.
However, this car was criticized by the industry as soon as it was launched. It is also known as the “electric version of Dihao GL” not only because its appearance is almost the same as that of Dihao GL of Geely, but also because the R & D platform it uses is the same CMA vehicle platform as Dihao GL.
Geometry a is not as good as imperial GL. According to the data of the passenger Association, the annual sales volume of geometry a in 2019 was 12662, while last year, the monthly sales volume basically did not exceed 500. In contrast, the sales volume of emgrand GL in 2019 is 74775 vehicles, which is almost six times that of geometric a.
Normally speaking, after encountering the failure of geometry a, the following models must take a new road.
But what I didn’t expect is that the new geometric C, which was released last year under the geometric brand, is still following the old road of “replacing oil with electricity”, which was changed from emgrand GS.
As you can imagine, the sales volume of geometric C is also very poor. According to the data of the passenger Association, in the month of its launch, the sales volume of this car was only 784, which was not even as good as the 1017 in the month of geometric A’s launch. It can be said that one generation is worse than the other.
Geometric A and geometric C sales decline, the problem is pricing. Although this brand was named high-end new energy brand when it was released, the price range of these two cars is between 100000 and 200000. In this price range, there are not only strong competitors such as Xiaopeng G3 and BYD song, but also models such as GAC new energy AION.
Geometric A / C compares the prices of Xiaopeng G3, BYD song and GAC AION. The data comes from auto home and is connected to travel map
In this regard, Li Shufu came up with the idea of sinking.
In April last year, a new energy vehicle brand named “Maple Leaf” appeared in front of the public, and launched its first mass production model, maple leaf 30x, with a pre-sale price of 68800-79800 yuan, focusing on the new energy vehicle market of less than 100000 yuan.
According to the enterprise investigation, the main body of maple leaf automobile is Fengsheng automobile technology group, and the largest shareholder of the company is Geely Technology Group Co., Ltd., accounting for 77.995%. In fact, Geely took a stake in Fengsheng as early as 2016, but at that time, Fengsheng was also called Kangdi electric.
But ironically, this market is also surrounded by strong enemies. For the maple leaf 30x, which is still “oil to electricity”, there is basically no room for survival. According to the statistics of online travel, only 1893 vehicles have been sold since the official launch of maple leaf 30x to the end of November last year, while the same level BYD yuan and Nezha No1 have sold 6254 and 3480 vehicles respectively from July to November.
From Dihao new energy series to geometric series and maple leaf 30x, they all follow the route of “oil to electricity”. “Replacing oil with electricity can only be regarded as a transitional mode, and can not be planned as a long-term route, otherwise it will be easily killed by the models developed by the pure electric platform.” Liu Kai, a practitioner in the new energy automobile industry, said to the online travel.
In addition, through these models also exposed another drawback – inter brand internal friction under the development of multi brand.
Take Dihao new energy series and geometry series as examples. According to the data of auto home, the price range of the former is 109900-159900, while that of the latter is 129800-190000. In addition to the similar price, geometry a and Dihao EV are both compact, geometry C and Dihao GSE are both compact SUVs.
In other words, in the market of the same type and price, there is no doubt that Dihao new energy series and geometric series will “fight”, resulting in that the sales of both brands cannot be guaranteed, or only one brand can be guaranteed.
This is not only happened in the new energy business, but also in the first meeting of Geely Automotive Technology Innovation Board. Can it become “China Volkswagen”? 》This paper also elaborates the internal friction between Geely’s other brands.
The problem is there, but Geely has not solved it.
In April last year, Geely and Volvo jointly developed the new energy brand “polar star” and launched its model Polar Star 2, but it was not optimistic by the industry, because this car and geometric a are both high-end brands and pure electric compact cars, with a range of 500km.
Polar Star 2 (left) and geometry a
In such a similar situation, the price of polar star 2 is nearly 150000 higher than that of geometry a. It can be foreseen that geometry a has more advantages in the same positioning and configuration.
In October last year, Geely and Mercedes Benz jointly announced that the “smart” jointly developed by Geely and Mercedes Benz will be released next year, but its positioning is not a rumored mini car, but a pure electric compact SUV.
This means that after the launch of this model, the first competitors are not the models of other car companies, but their own Dihao new energy series and geometric series, and internal friction will continue to exist.
Because of this, Geely’s entire new energy vehicle business is not in the domestic new energy market, and has fallen into a dilemma.
According to the data of China Federation of passengers, in 2020, none of Geely’s top 10 new energy vehicle sales were on the list. In contrast, Chery and BYD, both traditional car companies, were on the list. In the segment market, according to the statistics of online travel, the top 10 new energy SUV and car sales from January to November last year were not on the list.
In the face of such a dilemma, Geely has to start to help himself.
Can baidu save Geely new energy?
Looking at Geely’s new energy brands such as Dihao, geometry and maple leaf, they are all born from “oil to electricity”, which also reflects the fact that although Geely has PMA and PE, Fe and Ge pure electric vehicle platforms, these platforms are basically used to develop fuel vehicles and “oil to electricity” models.
According to relevant media reports, both EHL EV and EHL’s fuel vehicles were born based on Fe platform; GE R & D platform, which is used to develop geometric series, is also a common platform for EHL EV and EHL GSE.
Because of this, Geely’s PMA, PE, Fe, GE and other platforms seem to be pure electric R & D platforms in the industry. In fact, they have become R & D platforms for fuel vehicles and “oil to electricity” models, resulting in the dilemma of not being able to compete with other pure electric vehicles.
Geely Ge platform and battery pack, tuyuan aika
In order to get rid of the dilemma, Geely launched a new generation of pure electric vehicle R & D platform sea (Sustainable experience Architecture).
In September last year, Geely publicized the sea vast intelligent evolution experience architecture as “four years of R & D and investment of 18 billion yuan” and released it to the public. According to Geely, the platform is a pure electric platform with the largest bandwidth in the world, which can realize full-scale R & D coverage from A-class cars to E-class cars.
At the same time, Geely also claims that Haohan can shorten the development time of software by more than 50%, and can realize highly automatic driving on the open road by 2023.
According to the plan announced by Geely, based on this platform, research and development of 7 brands and more than 16 new models including smart and link have been started, and different market segments will be arranged in the future.
In this regard, the industry is skeptical.
“From the perspective of the cooperation between Geely and Baidu, the emergence of sea is likely to facilitate this cooperation, rather than just for the production of pure electric vehicles. After all, the time difference between the release of the platform and the official publicity cooperation is only more than three months, which can not help being questioned by the industry. ” Liu Kai said to the online travel.
Although Geely has launched the sea platform, many of its models are developed through the previous platform, and there is not much accumulation in automobile intelligence and automatic driving.
Take automobile intelligence as an example. According to the data of auto home, Geely new energy’s new energy models such as Dihao, geometric series and link do not have this function except geometric a which has OTA upgrade. And this function has become the most critical function of intelligent vehicles.
Geely new energy intelligent layout diagram, data from car home, online travel mapping
In the view of the industry, it is very likely that with Baidu’s blessing, Geely new energy will make up for the lack of intelligent and automatic driving software.
However, this does not mean that Geely’s dilemma in new energy can be saved, because compared with this aspect, the internal friction caused by multi brand development is more fatal.
Geely is still “buying” for new energy multi brand development.
At the end of last year, * ST Lifan (formerly known as “Lifan Co., Ltd”) issued the notice of Lifan industry (Group) Co., Ltd. on the change of shareholders’ equity and the change of controlling shareholders and actual controllers. According to the announcement, the controlling shareholder of Lifan changed from Lifan holding to Chongqing Manjianghong equity investment fund partnership (hereinafter referred to as Manjianghong Fund) after the equity change.
According to the enterprise investigation, Chongqing Manjianghong Enterprise Management Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Manjianghong company) actually controls Manjianghong fund. The two major shareholders of the former are Chongqing Liangjiang Equity Investment Fund Management Co., Ltd. and Geely maijie Investment Co., Ltd., with 51% and 49% of the shares respectively.
In other words, Geely has become the actual controller of Lifan, although it has no official announcement.
And Geely encountered internal friction problems, for Baidu, perhaps not important.
After all, from the perspective of cooperation agreement, baidu dominates the joint car building, while Geely is just a partner. “This means that the cooperation between the two sides will only be limited to the joint venture automobile companies and their joint car building, and Baidu will not provide much help to Geely’s own new energy business.” A smart car industry practitioner expressed his concern about online travel.
Li Shufu and Robin Li in Baidu AI conference, Baidu administrative micro blog
In addition to the internal dilemma, Geely new energy is also facing more and more competitors in the market.
Tesla launched the domestic model y, Weilai and Xiaopeng this year, and they have also launched electric cars et7 and P7. These models are better than Geely’s mass-produced new energy models in terms of intelligence, which is a huge threat to Geely.
In addition, the great wall and BYD, which are both domestic independent car companies, as well as their own Euler cars and BYD Tang cars, are also rivals that Geely new energy can’t despise. These two models often ranked in the top of last year’s new energy vehicle sales list.
For Geely new energy, the competition will be more intense in the future. With Alibaba and SAIC, Huawei and Chang’an and apple and Hyundai entering the market one after another to build cars, how many markets will Geely be able to seize in the future?
The “internal and external troubles” of Geely new energy ultimately depend on Geely itself. How to cooperate with partners and find a way of innovation is the key to the future development of Geely new energy.
(the top picture of this article comes from Geely Auto official micro, in which Liu Kai is a pseudonym.)
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)