XPENG Motors Zooms into Ride-hailing Market
COVID-19 and China
G3. PHOTO Credit: XPeng Motors

After auto giants such as SAIC Motor (上汽), Geely Automobile (吉利) and GAC Motor (广汽) launched online ride-hailing services, new car manufacturer have officially entered the market. Xpeng Motors, one of China's largest electric car startups, has obtained a ride-hailing license in Guangzhou.

Xpeng is the first new car manufacturer to expand into the ride-hailing market. WM Motor, another EV maker, has launched a mobility car rental service called "GETnGO," and the company's senior vice President Lu Bin also unveiled a plan to enter the ride-hailing market in an interview.

Xpeng could launch a pilot service as early as this month, and is likely to start in Guangzhou, where it is headquartered, " according to people familiar with the matter. For industry giants DiDi Chuxing and Uber, has yet to turn a profit, Xpeng's move will intensify competition in the sector.

The company has raised more than 10 billion yuan from investors including Alibaba Group, and Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi Group. Statistics from the venture capital database CB Insights shows that it has a valuation of about US$ 3.65 billion.

As for whether Xpeng will be fully involved in the travel business within this year, The people familiar with the matter also said that Xpeng's current main business is still automobile manufacturing. Choosing to break into the ride-hailing market is just an extension of the service system at the right time.

"It will be an important component to Xpeng's ecosystem, with cars as the entry point to broader service offering," said an employee who declined to be named as the information is not yet public. "The ride-hailing service would enable the company to promote its cars to a larger customer base and improve user experience," said a South China Morning Post report published on May 14.

It is revealed that Xpeng's online ride-hailing business will adopt the same B2C operation model as that of Caocao Chuxing (曹操出行) and Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur (首汽约车). Caocao Chuxing is a subsidiary company of Geely Holdings, and provides a ride-hailing service throughout cities in China. Caocao Chuxing began operation in 2015, with its headquarters in Hangzhou in China. Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur is a Chinese limo booking app and offshoot of the state-owned Shouqi Group.

Founded in 2014, Xpeng began mass production of its G3 electric SUV in December 2018. Its first smart electric coupe, the P7, was launched at the Automobile Shanghai with the theme of "Born Smart" on April 16.

G3 owners received the Xmart OS 1.3 through the latest online (OTA) update on April 29; the new features include facial ID login and ID activation for personalized in-car settings. Since the launch of the G3 on December 3, more than 40 new features and over 200 –have been added via OTA.

In April, Xpeng delivered about 2,200 units of G3, ranking first among NEV manufacturers in China by monthly delivery volume, according to data released by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) on May 10. The company says it expects to deliver more than 40,000 units by the end of this year. NIO, which is a poster boy of China's EV industry, delivered only 1,139 units of ES8, its full-size electric SUV, in April.

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