It is fascinating to see how new car brands are born. With Evergrande-Hengchi, the readers were there right from the start. Not entirely voluntarily, perhaps, but taken away by the events surrounding the Saab heritage. It is now becoming apparent in what dimensions Evergrande is building. And at what speed.
We remember June 12, 2019.
It was only a little over a year ago. Evergrande founder Xu Jiayin is in Guangzhou. The metropolis on the Pearl River Delta has 14 million inhabitants, which is more than all of Sweden. This June 12th promulgated Jiayin construction of 3 automobile factories, a battery factory, and research and development facilities. The price tag on it: about $ 20 billion.
Guangzhou is a hotspot of the automotive industry, an automotive Silicon Valley in the Chinese way. The decision to focus there seems logical. Capacities for 800.000 vehicles per year are to be created. The question is, who will buy so many electric cars from a nonexistent brand. Because at that time you didn't even know the brand name.
A year later we see a huge work.
The brand name is now known. Hengchi is the name of the new car brand. And we see a huge auto plant growing up in Nansha, the district of Guangzhou. Via Twitter (@GregKable) came pictures of the construction progress. The 3 main parts of the new Evergrande-Hengchi plant are nearing completion. Like the new building in Songjiang (Shanghai), Nansha should also be completed by the end of 2020.
Production from 2021.
Both plants could start in 2021 with a possible starting capacity of 200.000 vehicles each. In reality, the initial quantities will be lower, the increase will be slow. Regardless of this, the capacities now being built are one. No matter which vehicles and brands are manufactured there, the investment is a declaration of war to the international vehicle industry. Evergrande, the real estate giant, could flood the market with electric cars in a few years. Accept losses for a certain period of time and thus change the entire market environment.
But there is another question before that.
Seeing the giant work in its creation is both exciting and impressive. But where's the marketable product? Hengchi 1 is now considered late. It is said to be an SUV that was drawn at RAW Design in Ängelholm. First Pictures patent applications were circulated in April. The Saab genes are hard to miss, they are similar to the 9-4x. Hengchi 1 makes a surprisingly European impression.
But apart from the pictures there was no evidence of its existence. No prototype, no teaser. Hengchi 1 is still a phantom.
Images: @GregKable via Twitter