Byton Loses Chairman Breitfeld
COVID-19 and China
Byton's former Chairman and co-founder Carsten Breitfeld. PHOTO: Credit to BYTON

April 16, 2019/ EqualOcean/- Byton (拜腾)'s former Chairman and co-founder Carsten Breitfeld has left the company and joined ICONIQ Motors (艾康尼克), an Electric Vehicle company headquartered in Tianjin, China. Breitfeld appeared at ICONIQ’s exhibit today and Byton has denied rumors about the chairman’s leaving several days ago.

Earlier this year, the company has adjusted its human resource framework. Carsten Breitfeld quit the CEO job and Daniel Kirchert, a former Dongfeng Infiniti executive, became CEO and lead the management team (see more in this article).

Rumors said that Breitfeld is leaving due to Byton’s financial difficulties which let the company’s expansion plan in China went difficulties as well, leading to internal relationship tension.

“We want to change the way of mobility after our 10-people team quit jobs from big companies. We have never changed the dream at any moment, not in the past, not in present, and we will never in the future. Our team is now preparing our mass delivery and wait the moment that comes true,” Daniel Kirchert said in his personal WeChat Moments today.

Back in 2016, Breitfeld co-founded the company. Byton attracted public eyes with its fancy models and high-profile investors including Foxconn and Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL). However, as China’s EV makers like NIO, WM Motor and Xpeng are starting mass production delivery from 2018, Byton is lagging behind the race.

Byton has been questioned about its financial status and mass production capacity. Byton has a luxury team, which includes more than 20-star executives from BMW, Ford, Tesla, Goldman Sachs, and more than 500 R&D employees.

However, the company is not good at attracting investments. Byton had not yet raised more than USD 1 billion. In contrast, its counterpart high-end car brand NIO has collected more than USD 4 billion fund for itself; Byton's another peer, Xpeng Motors has also raised more than USD 2 billion.

Byton has closed its series B round of USD 500 million last June and is looking to start round C of investments, again for half a billion more dollars to finance its growth plans.

Most new EV makers, Byton included, follow the same strategy as NIO, launching expensive and high-end retail store in a fancy shopping mall. BYTON is planning to have 25 to 30 retail locations open in China by the end of 2019, most of which are in tier 1 and tier 2 cities in China. The Shanghai location will then be followed by the second BYTON Place, which is scheduled to open mid-2019 in Chongqing. They are running out of money.

As for production capacity, Byton is busying with transferring FAW Huali (一汽华利)’s auto production license for serial production of electric cars from Tianjin to Nanjing, where its headquartered located in Feb.

We expressed our concerns about the license as well since FAW Huali was listed on the Special Publicity on Automakers published by MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) saying that MIIT shall reject all of the filings for new models submitted by listed automakers from May 4th, 2018 to May 3rd, 2020. BYTON’s mass production vehicle delivery plan shall be postponed after May 3rd, 2020 (see more in this article).

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