Xpeng EV Owners Ask for Car Return
COVID-19 and China
Xpeng G3 electric vehicle. Image credit: Xpeng website

Source from TMTPOST (钛媒体) says on July 14 bulks of Xpeng automobile owners gathered outside Xpeng service centers in Beijing, Guangzhou and some other cities to safeguard their rights via unfurling banners with the message: "Xpeng cheated consumers and infringed our legal rights." The farce was originated from releasing news of an upgrade version of Xpeng G3 EV model on July 10. The new G3 model has longer range but a lower sale price than the old one.

July 10, He Xiaopeng (何小鹏), founder and CEO of Xpeng Motors (小鹏汽车), announced on Weibo an upgrade version of Xpeng G3 EV. Compared with the old version, the newly launched EV has notable improvement of battery package and autonomous driving system, but the key issue is a drop in the sale price. According to some Xpeng users interviewed, from delivery of the old version to the announcement, it just took less than three months and they were not informed of the upcoming version, which made them feel cheated.

Xpeng Motors is going through a trust crisis just like Tesla several months ago when Tesla lowered sale prices of its EV models overnight in China without informing consumers. In light of the Tesla incident, Xpeng Motors dealt with this issue in a similar way. It announced in two days that any old Xpeng users would be given CNY 10k exclusive subsidies when they planned to purchase any model of Xpeng EV within three years in the future. Some users, however, did not pay the bill for this disguised form of promotion.

Normally, an upgrade of a car model is applied one year after its launching date, even longer, whereas new version of Xpeng EV came out only seven months after it started the booking of the old version. The primary reason is the upcoming new EV subsidy policies that will reduce all forms of subsidies to the electric vehicle industry. Hence, many EV makers appear to launch new products before new policies come to work.

Under pressure from the capital, market, and policy, new EV makers in China like Xpeng Motors are accelerating their iteration pace all the way. Nonetheless, due to the lack of marketing experience, newly founded car makers may find it difficult to coordinate the speed of iteration with value cognition of users. Covering both product update frequency and user's price consideration becomes a challenge faced by new car makers.

Headquartered in Guangzhou, Xpeng Motors is an electric vehicle and technology company that designs and manufactures smart cars.

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