[Autobots] Xiaomi Automobile is listed, what are the obstacles?

The original intention of Xiaomi to build a car is to maintain the grand system of Xiaomi’s digital ecology. If this starting point remains unchanged, Xiaomi’s idea is still relatively realistic.

Text/"Autobots" Qi Ce

It has been nearly 17 months since Lei Jun, the chairman of Xiaomi Group, announced his official entry into electric vehicles. On August 23, it was information from foreign media, and Xiaomi had obtained the qualification of new energy to build a car.

So far, Xiaomi’s process of building cars is ahead of their own timetable. In the new energy industry, where "standing pigeons" is the norm, it shows that Xiaomi’s control over a new format is online. From this point alone, Xiaomi is not like a novice car maker.

Another source said that the qualification was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission in early August. However, Xiaomi officially got the approval, which should be this week. Of course, no one in the media has seen the original approval, and Xiaomi has no official announcement. But this matter is very important, and public opinion is flying all over the sky. Xiaomi can’t ignore it. If he doesn’t deny it, he will default.

Why can Xiaomi get "big qualification"

Around 2017, new energy brands need to apply for "double qualifications", which has been widely concerned by public opinion.

Facts have proved that the "big qualification" (which can be understood as production qualification) approved by the National Development and Reform Commission is more difficult to obtain. Many new forces have applied for the "small qualification" of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. That is, it can meet the "Regulations on the Administration of New Energy Automobile Manufacturers and Products Access" and can also be understood as brand sales qualification.

Production problems, the usual practice is OEM, or acquisition of "shell resources", "Wei Xiaoli" is doing this. However, Tucki and Ideals took the latter route: after purchasing the shell, they did OEM work for a short period of time, and then injected their own car-making assets to achieve the goal of mastering the production resources. Weilai, named OEM, is actually a joint venture on the grounds that Weilai has invested a lot of money in the special production line of Jianghuai.

The regulatory attitude towards the acquisition of shell resources has changed. At first, from the perspective of resource reuse, it is considered that it is best to reactivate the existing production line without wasting resources. Later, it tended not to support the "direct investment" production line, because after buying the shell, the previous car production line was not reused, and all of them were replaced by new ones.

This year, the regulatory attitude is more severe. It is said that it is required not to buy, sell or transfer qualifications in the future. This requirement did not fall on paper, but Baowo appeared on the list of "voluntary" cancellation of production qualifications, which indirectly proved this statement. The rumor that Xiaomi acquired the Baowo license will not be broken.

After the supervision has narrowed, "small qualification" must rely on "big qualification". The self-traveler bought Mahayana’s new energy qualification, but the latter’s qualification expired, and the self-traveler could only be dissolved. The Jidu brand jointly established by Baidu and Geely was also forced to change to Geely-led Jiyue brand because of qualification problems. Baidu changed from leading car manufacturers to system suppliers.

New energy start-up brands have a headache about their qualifications. Xiaomi seems to have no trouble solving it. Although there is still an audit by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the "big qualification" of heavy assets has been won, and there seems to be no reason why the "small qualification" cannot be won.

As soon as everyone compares, it is inevitable that there are some rumors that Xiaomi is "chartered", "default" and "guaranteed" by the above. Others say that Xiaomi’s big qualification may be "closed qualification" (the last car license). We can’t prove it or falsify it. But the reality is that Baidu has been tossing for several years without results, and Xiaomi has applied for a green light.

Both companies have Internet genes and have invested heavily in building cars. The difference between them is that Xiaomi is a technology company with a lot of hardware manufacturing components. Although Xiaomi smart home appliances, 3C products, etc. are also commissioned by the OEM, the original manufacturer is very complicated, but its understanding of hardware quality control is not comparable to Baidu, a pure software company. The latter is a complete newcomer not only to making cars, but also to making simpler mobile phones and the like. From the perspective of supervision, it goes without saying which one is reliable.

In this way, if mass production is put on the market and delivered as the goal of new energy brands, the biggest obstacle standing in front of the goal is to cross it.

Supply chain and popularity are fine.

Then, from now until the first delivery, is it smooth for Xiaomi to build a car?

There is no secret in the methodology of electric vehicle manufacturing. The industrial chain is mature, and all parts are shelf products. China has the most extensive and complete supply chain of electric vehicles with the highest overall technical level in the world. Chips are exceptions and short boards, but the exceptions and short boards of China-related chains have the least lateral ratio.

Xiaomi and Lei Jun themselves (Shunwei Capital) have invested in dozens of chip design and manufacturing startups alone or jointly with state-owned assets. China is rapidly making up for the shortcomings in chip manufacturing with mature processes.

Xiaomi automobile also has an inherent advantage, that is, its popularity is high. When the car was first announced, public opinion was overwhelming. This is not only the credit for the popularity of Xiaomi brand, but also the successful creation of Lei Jun’s personal design.

Electric vehicles are more based on the technology industry. The more labels on technology, struggle and growth of their brand founders, the richer their images, and the natural flow blessing can be formed. This kind of operation can be clearly seen in Lei Jun’s fourth annual speech on August 14th this year.

There is no shortage of funds.

Now there are two points to test Xiaomi’s car: one is capital; The other is the market reaction of the first product. Unfortunately, the information revealed by both is fragmented.

Xiaomi has signed confidentiality agreements with major suppliers. The lack of information is also the reason why public opinion in the industry has different opinions on the prospect of Xiaomi’s car.

When Lei Jun first started to build a car, he announced that he would invest 10 billion US dollars in 10 years and 10 billion yuan in the first phase. This statement has not attracted attention. There are too many pictures of cakes, and the reaction of public opinion to all kinds of "money wishes" has long been passivated.

However, Xiaomi took the road of heavy assets as soon as he came up, and a lot of investment could not be avoided. One is to invest in research and development; The other is put into production. Both sides concentrate on asking for money together, and Xiaomi’s financial burden should be heavier.

Xiaomi stated from the beginning that he would use his own funds to build a car. Over the past year or so, there has been no information about Xiaomi’s car financing and no news of bank credit in the industry. Xiaomi Automobile is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xiaomi Group, which cannot be ignored.

In the first seven months of this year, Xiaomi Group invested 6 billion yuan in Xiaomi Automobile. In 2022, innovative businesses such as Xiaomi Automobile invested 3.1 billion yuan. In this way, almost all the initial investment of 10 billion yuan has been invested. In addition to this long-planned budget, there should be additional channels, otherwise this progress will not be achieved at all.

Xiaomi is expected to release the 2023 semi-annual report on August 29th. According to the first quarter financial report, Xiaomi Group’s cash and cash equivalents are 26 billion yuan. Compared with the investment in Xiaomi’s automobile business, the funds within two years are no problem.

However, don’t equate the cash flow of Xiaomi Group with Xiaomi Automobile, and there are still many places where the Group spends money, and don’t put Xiaomi Automobile’s only financial hope in Xiaomi Group. Don’t forget, Lei Jun has the ability to mobilize a large amount of funds through various means.

This is an important wealth difference between an industry man and an investor and ordinary people.

For example, the former has 100 yuan and the latter has 5 yuan. The latter’s 5 yuan is 5 yuan, while the former’s 100 yuan is only his personal 100 yuan. He can easily use this 100 yuan personal assets to incite 1000 yuan’s funds, and this 1000 yuan is the money he can take out immediately.

By this point, Lei Jun has not used bank loans and various financing methods. In fact, the wealth he can control may be as high as 10,000 yuan, depending on how many times he is willing to use leverage. Of course, the latter can’t play well and has a strong self-attack.

In a word, as long as the brand of Xiaomi Automobile is bright, banks (especially those operating in Beijing and Wuhan) will rush to lend to Lei Jun, let alone grant credit. The "road" of the National Development and Reform Commission has strengthened the confidence of creditors. Of course, this is in the current situation where everything goes well.

We have seen many new energy brands that are at the end of the road. The founders come forward to borrow money and even transfer their status as major shareholders, but the high price has not been exchanged for vitality. This at least shows that the money should be spent in the front and cannot be used as a refueling tactic.

Suppliers are still playing games.

So far, these financing methods seem to be useless. At present, the production line debugging of Xiaomi Automobile’s Yizhuang factory is in full swing. At the same time, the recruitment of production line workers (lacking hundreds of workers) proves that the capacity allocation has reached the final stage.

During this period, because of the intensity of new energy competition, it has been very different from when Lei Jun made the decision. Xiaomi’s first product, don’t expect to go much, at least get a "meeting color" so that the next play can be sung.

At present, the unofficial news revealed that BYD, which was originally rumored, did not appear in the list of battery suppliers. Singapore Airlines is the first supplier for Xiaomi and the second supplier for Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited. Originally, the positions of the two sides were arranged in reverse. However, on August 3rd, the dispute over Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited’s claim for 518 million yuan of battery patents from Zhongchuang Singapore Airlines came to an end. Chuangxin Airlines announced that China National Intellectual Property Administration had made an invalid decision on the two invention patents of "Li-ion battery" and "positive pole piece and battery" owned by Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited.

It is not known whether it is this reason that caused the creation of Singapore Airlines to be mentioned as a confession. However, one supply and two supply are not static. According to the free quotation of both parties and the market demand, the location can be changed at any time.

It is reported that the battery pack capacity of Xiaomi’s first car is 101 degrees and the battery pack weight is 642 kilograms. It is worth mentioning that the battery price is falling too fast now. Two months ago, the price of such a PACK was above 80,000 yuan, and now it may be 10,000 yuan less.

The endurance data is a bit outrageous, only 8.8 kWh/100 km. This is hard to believe (it is said that it is still fully loaded at 37℃). It may not be the standard electric load, because it is difficult to comment due to the lack of other information. But since the first car is a coupe, the power consumption per 100 kilometers is much lower than that of an SUV, which is no problem.

At present, this car has been tested in Xinjiang. Although the outside is covered with camouflage, the outline is still easy to identify. Someone joked about competing with Paramera.

The first car didn’t make an SUV, which proves that it is still a brand image. The consideration of engineering process is more important than quantity. There are indications that the technical status of Xiaomi Automobile has been frozen, and the main material suppliers in the BOM may be replaced. But in any case, the first car can be mediocre, but there can be no batch quality problems. At present, the market does not accept the tentative launch of products.

Pricing system and ecology

Someone found out that this car has a high price of 299,000 yuan and a low price of 199,000 yuan. I wonder if there are any other SKUs.

If this price is true, it will be finalized after several adjustments. Although the price may be adjusted, 400,000 yuan is a hurdle. The electric coupe above this price can’t be measured at all, and the key will be to lose the recognition of Xiaomi brand base.

Lei Jun himself is still very concerned about the basic fans. This is what Xiaomi brand has saved in more than 10 years of operation, otherwise Xiaomi household appliances will not take the ride of Xiaomi brand.

The basic powder can’t afford a car, but the public opinion position can’t be lost. We must strive for fans to stand on our side. Dignity is a relative concept, and the key is for everyone to judge "value for money", and this anchor point is more important. Electric sports cars, similar in performance and shape, are all at what price, and everyone has a steelyard in mind. That’s why I made the coupe first.

This objectively requires that Xiaomi’s first car must not be expensive, but also make a brand level. As some public opinion speculated in the past, it may be possible to do more than 100 thousand yuan of electric power in the future, but the first car, as a brand-setting product, should not do so.

In terms of Xiaomi, it is also trying to suppress the profits of manufacturing links. Xiaomi claims that the profit of parts and components will remain at around 1%, and the profit depends on software and ecological services. This is not surprising, Xiaomi mobile phone is this route.

Xiaomi car will be a part of Xiaomi’s ecology. From this point of view, although Xiaomi Automobile is very different from the mobile phone business, Xiaomi Group undoubtedly hopes that the two can produce more linkage effects.

This should be no problem, whether Xiaomi’s mobile phone is embedded in the car or the data interconnection between the two, it is easy for Xiaomi to do. The key point is that the original intention of Xiaomi to build a car is to maintain the grand system of Xiaomi’s digital ecology. If you don’t build a car, the most important piece of land in the future is someone else’s.

If this starting point remains unchanged, Xiaomi’s idea is still relatively realistic. Since car hardware doesn’t expect to make money, it sounds that the difficulty of building a car will be much reduced.

If the first delivery of the first car is the goal, Xiaomi will face some small obstacles next. Xiaomi has quietly changed the node listed in late 2024 to the first half of the year, indicating that Xiaomi’s confidence is also relatively sufficient. Compared with the new car that keeps jumping tickets, Xiaomi may be a clear stream. [Copyright Notice] This article is the original manuscript of Autobots and may not be reproduced without authorization.