Media reports said that Chinese new car manufacturer Always Auto (爱驰汽车) has received a strategic investment of CNY 1 billion ( USD 148 million ) from Mingchi fund (明驰基金). Always was a late starter but was quick to raise money. Last April, the company announced the completion of the third round of financing, the total size of the financing has reached CNY 7 billion.
Always is a NEV company founded in 2017 by Jiangxi Aichi Yiwei Industrial co., Ltd. (江西爱驰亿维实业有限公司) and Shangrao Economic and Technological Development Zone Aiche NEV Industry Center (上饶经济技术开发区爱车新能源汽车产业中心). The shareholding ratio of the two parties is 33.33% and 66.67% respectively.
SAIC Motor's former CFO Gu Feng (谷峰) joined Always Auto as CEO and CFO as co-founder on January 10, 2017.
Its headquarter and technical centre are located in Shanghai, and it has a wholly-owned subsidiary, Ichikon Automotive co., LTD. (爱驰恭博汽车有限公司), in Germany.
The first phase of Always' new factory in Shangrao, Jiangxi province has been completed and put into use, with the planned annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles. In terms of product promotion, the company launched its first model, the U5 in November 2018.
The U5 has five seats, 4,680mm in length, 1,865mm in width and 1,700mm in height. Its maximum power is 140kW, maximum torque is 315N·m, and NEDC has a range of 503km. The ES8, the first model to be launched by NIO, a giant of China's new car manufacturers, has a range of only 335km, so 503km will be a good result.
Official data shows that U5 has “AI PILOT” intelligent driving system, which is equipped with 22 sensors, 12 ultrasonic radars and 3 millimetre-wave radars. There are two cameras in the car, which can accurately identify roads, vehicles, pedestrians and obstacles. The U5 will be built on the MAS platform and positioned as an all-electric mid-size SUV, is expected to hit the market in the second half of 2019.