Produced by Phoenix Network “Eye of the Storm”
Author | Shi Yue
Editor | Ren Qing
Zhu Jiangming, Chairman of Leap Motor
1. The sales volume of Leapmotor in April surpassed that of Wei Xiaoli, and reached the top of the new car-making force with 9087 units. The high light cannot cover up the huge losses. In the past three years, Leapmotor has lost 4.8 billion yuan, and the average loss of selling a car is 65,000 yuan.
2. An industry insider told Phoenix.com’s “Eye of the Storm” that Leapmotor’s gratifying deliveries in March and April were directly related to the nearly 20,000 undigested orders for C11 models accumulated before. At the end of 2021, Leapmotor has a total of 22,500 C11 orders, and only 3,965 orders have been delivered, which also means that there are nearly 20,000 orders to be digested in the first half of this year.
3. At this stage, Zero Run is more of making up lessons, and has not achieved a real explosion. The main focus is on self-research in all areas, but the three-year R&D investment is less than a quarter of Wei Xiaoli’s, and the quality and reliability of self-developed products are also questioned. Its self-developed chip Lingxin 01 adopts a 28nm process technology, and the computing power is only 4.2TOPS, but the computing power of Tesla’s FSD chip has reached 72TOPS, and many smart models such as Weilai ET7 and Zhiji L7 have been equipped with it. 100 TOPS level chip Nvidia Orin X.
The Delivery Conundrum: “How the Snake Swallows the Elephant”
In May, the sales volume of the new car-making force in April was released. Leapmotor delivered a total of 9,087 units in April, achieving a year-on-year increase of over 200% for 13 consecutive months. Its March deliveries also exceeded the 10,000-unit mark, reaching 10,059 units.
In contrast, Xiaopeng Motors delivered 9,002 vehicles in April, a year-on-year increase of 75%; Weilai only delivered 5,074 vehicles, ranking fourth, and Ideal delivered 4,167 vehicles, ranking fifth. The third place is Nezha Auto, which is in the second echelon with Leapmotor and is the main front of the counterattack in the first echelon, with a delivery volume of 8,813 units.
“Wei Xiaoli” gave way to “Leap Run” and Nezha. The core reason is that “Wei Xiaoli”, which mainly focuses on the mid-to-high-end market, has been more seriously affected by the current round of the epidemic. .
Taking Xiaopeng P7 as an example, the car is equipped with 31 sensors including 5 high-precision millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, 4 automatic driving surround-view cameras, and 10 automatic driving high-sensing cameras, so many components. Quantity is naturally more susceptible to the impact of the supply chain-according to Li Bin’s original words: a car cannot be produced without a single part.
In the first quarter of this year, the cumulative delivery of Leapcar totaled 21,579 units, a year-on-year increase of 410%.
In fact, despite the month-on-month drop in deliveries in April, becoming the new force sales champion for the first time is of great significance to Leap Motor, especially considering that the latter is at a critical juncture in impacting its IPO.
On March 17 this year, Leapmotor officially submitted its listing application to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.“Leap Run” and “Nezha” are in fierce competition to see who can first become the fourth new car-making force to enter the capital market after “Wei Xiaoli”.
Industry insiders pointed out to Phoenix Network Technology’s “Eye of the Storm”,Leapmotor’s delivery volume increased significantly in March and April, which may be directly related to some of the undigested orders it has accumulated before.
The prospectus submitted by Leapmotor showed that,By the end of 2021, Leapmotor had a total of 22,500 C11 orders, of which only 3,965 orders were delivered at that time, which also means that there are nearly 20,000 orders, which will be digested in the first half of this year.
The industry believes that the reason for maintaining more stock orders is that the production capacity cannot keep up. “On April 30 last year, Leapmotor obtained the production qualification of new energy vehicles. That is to say, Leapmotor actually built a car for only one year.”
Phoenix.com recently conducted random interviews with some potential users of electric vehicles, and found that nearly half of the consumers have never heard of Leap Motor.
To a certain extent, this is also one of the embarrassing situations faced by Leap Motor, which holds an inspirational script-although the delivery volume has increased a lot in the short term, overall,In terms of products, brands, or the appeal of the founders themselves, there is still a very obvious gap between Leap Motor and Wei Xiaoli in the true sense..
Highlights and losses
Leap Motor was founded in December 2015. Zhu Jiangming, who was then the vice chairman and CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of security giant Dahua (002236.SZ) and the co-founder of Dahua, joined Dahua and its subsidiaries. The main founder founded Leap Motor in Hangzhou. At the time of establishment, Dahua, Fu Liquan and Zhu Jiangming held 33%, 32% and 20% of the shares respectively.
Relying on the strength background of Dahua and the development of new energy, the financing process of Leapmotor is relatively smooth. According to the data from Tianyan, Leapmotor has started Pre-A round of financing since January 2018. , Up to August 2021, in the 7 rounds of financing of the C2 round, a total of 11.866 billion yuan has been raised. Investors include Sequoia China, CRRC, Hangzhou State-owned Assets, Shanghai Electric, etc.
Since 2019, Leapmotor has launched three models, including the pure electric coupe S01, pure electric minicar T03 and pure electric mid-size SUV C11. In July 2019, Leapmotor delivered its first mass-produced model S01, T03 in May 2020, and C11 in October 2021.
In terms of profitability, according to the prospectus of Leap Motor, the revenue of Leap Motor from 2019 to 2021 will be 117 million yuan, 631 million yuan, and 3.132 billion yuan respectively. Every year has achieved leapfrog growth.
In the three years from 2019 to 2021, the total revenue of Leapmotor reached 116.9 million yuan, 631.3 million yuan and 3.132 billion yuan, and the three-year cumulative total revenue reached 3.8802 billion yuan.
However, under the highlights, there are unavoidable losses-in the three-year period from 2019 to 2021, the losses attributable to Leap Motor’s equity holders during the year reached 901.1 million yuan, 1.1 billion yuan and 2.8457 billion yuan, respectively. The total annual loss is as high as 4.8468 billion yuan. After adjustment, the net losses for the same period were approximately RMB 810 million, RMB 935 million and RMB 2.629 billion, respectively.
Continued losses make Leapmotor’s book data not very good. As of December 31, 2021, the total value of current assets of Leapmotor was about 8.955 billion yuan, and the cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year were about 4.338 billion yuan. 55.4 billion, 43.544 billion, 50.160 billion cash reserves.
In addition, in terms of gross profit margin, an important development indicator of new energy vehicle companies, although Leap Motor has significantly improved from -95.7% in 2019 to -44.3% in 2021, there is still a big gap between “positive”. For comparison, Tesla’s overall auto business gross profit margin in 2021 will be 29.3%, while Wei Xiaoli will also reach 20.1%, 12.5% and 21.3%, respectively.
The revenue growth and net loss range have expanded year by year. The initiator is the “global self-research” that Leapmotor has always emphasized.
Global self-research, hard to see results
Leap Motor’s prospectus mentioned that Leap Motor claims to be the only new car-making force in China that has the capability of “global self-research”, while the current new car-making forces in the market are mainly doing “full-stack self-research”. .
The main difference between the two is that “global self-research” refers to independent research and development from hardware to software, while “full-stack self-research” means that hardware is handed over to a third party, and car companies only develop applications and algorithms.
At the Guangzhou Auto Show held in November 2021, Leap Motor Chairman Zhu Jiangming also explained in detail the “global self-research” that Leap Motor has implemented over the years, and especially emphasized: “We use global self-research to obtain our own core competitive advantage.”
Thinking of the earlier July 2021, Zhu Jiangming also made a bold statement at the Leapmotor 2.0 strategy conference – Leapmotor will surpass Tesla in “3 years”, “launch 8 new cars in 4 years”, “The sales volume will reach 800,000 units in 2025.” It is not difficult to see that the world naturally seems to have given the founder, who has always been known for his mouth-watering, great confidence.
However, the industry generally does not buy Zhu Jiangming’s rhetoric. The main reason is that Zhu Jiangming is more like a layman in the field of car building than a widely recognized expert in the field of security.
The most classic case is that Zhu Jiangming once thought that the produced cars can be sold as long as they pass the inspection at the China Automobile Center, but he did not know that car companies need “production qualifications” and “product qualifications”. This directly leads toLeap steamcarThe factory with an investment of more than one billion yuan in Jinhua cannot be put into operation until 3 years laterLeapcarAfter acquiring Fujian Fuda Automobile Industry Co., Ltd. and obtaining the qualification, the problem was solved.
After this incident, more “jokes” were also extended – due to the unresolved qualification issue, Leap Motor could only find Changjiang Motor to manufacture its first model, Leap Motor S01, but in the subsequent media test drive activities organized , Because Leaprun did not apply for a license for the test drive vehicle, a media editor was stopped by the traffic police while participating in the test drive, and was found to be using a fake license plate. As a result, the media editor who took the test drive faced the penalty of 12 points deduction and detention. , which caused a public outcry for a while.
In a collective interview after the press conference of Leapmotor C11,One media threw a sharp question – Dahua has advanced artificial intelligence vision and other technologies, but why is the intelligent driving level of the zero-run C11 still slightly lower than the industry leader?
In this regard, Zhu Jiangming did not respond positively, but the answer is obvious to some extent – Dahua’s technical advantages in the field of security can indeed meet the technical needs of machine vision, reversing radar and other aspects required by Leap Motor , but the problem is that building a car is more than just cameras and sensors.
In this regard, industry analyst Yu Shengmei further pointed out that the characteristics of Leapmotor are technical genes, while the security field is a partial B-end market. Cross-border car manufacturing is equivalent to entering the direct-to-consumer C-end market.It is worthy of recognition that Leaprun can achieve rapid sales growth, but there is still room for improvement in product and market insight.
Under the premise of “global self-research”, Leapmotor needs more R&D investment.
But the fact is that the R&D investment of Leapmotor from 2019 to 2021 is only 358 million yuan, 289 million yuan, and 740 million yuan respectively – it is hard to believe that Zhu Jiangming said that “the drive assembly and battery field have already purchased cells from outside. , developed to make its own modules, packs and BMS (battery management systems), the car-machine system, cloud platform, intelligent driving, etc. have achieved self-developed “leap-motor vehicles”, but its R&D investment is less than a quarter of Wei Xiaoli’s First, it is not even as good as the ideal of not starting to sell cars in 2018. The latter’s R&D expenditure that year was 790 million yuan.
Taking its current self-developed chip Lingxin 01 as an example, the latter adopts a 28nm process technology, and its computing power is only 4.2TOPS, which is greatly different from the 72TOPS computing power of Tesla’s FSD chip. The latest Weilai ET7 , Zhiji L7 and other smart models have been equipped with 100 TOPS-level chips NVIDIA Orin X.
In addition, Leapmotor released the first mass-produced CTC battery-chassis integration technology in China on April 25, and it was also pointed out that there was some exaggerated publicity.
Some people in the industry told Phoenix Network Technology’s “Eye of the Storm” that the CTC technology launched by Leapmotor should be more appropriately called MTC in a strict sense, because Leapmotor did not directly put the 4680 cylinder like Tesla did. The shaped cells are arranged on the chassis, but the cells are first covered to a certain extent, and then the integrated battery modules are placed on the chassis.
In comparison, it is more technically compromised. The advantage is that it is more convenient for mass production and maintenance, but the disadvantage is that the space saving is not as extreme as Tesla, and due to the lack of a traditional battery pack cover, it is difficult to prevent thermal runaway in the cockpit. Design requirements are also higher.
According to Zhu Jiangming’s plan, Leapmotor plans to put into production the lidar solution by the end of 2023, and realize full-scene autonomous driving technology in 2024, to achieve the overtake and lead over Tesla. This also raises the question, where does the money come from?
In the design and production of chips, the research and development of algorithms, and the implementation of new technologies, there is basically no possibility of “spending less money to do bigger things”. Whether Leapmotor wants to use the global self-research to “get it done once and for all”, or “draw cakes to satisfy hunger”, its lack of overall investment is a reality, and it is very likely to become a constraint on its long-term development..
In addition, the reason why other new energy vehicle companies choose full-stack self-development is essentially based on the fact that the current new energy vehicle track is still in the stage of mass production, in order to shorten the research and development cycle, speed up the rate of mass production, and quickly seize the market. Reasonable behavior. Based on the opinions of many professionals in the industry, the importance of Leap Motor’s global self-research may be over-exaggerated, which may be another decision-making mistake by Zhu Jiangming, the “outsider” of car manufacturers.
How long can the “losing money shouting” last?
In the current environment where new energy subsidies are coming to an end and raw material prices continue to rise, Leapmotor continues to rely on low-priced models to sell, which means that there is a high probability that it will go to a situation where it will sell more and lose more. This makes it impossible for Leapmotor to rely on the volume of T03 to amortize costs and create economies of scale.
Leapmotor mentioned in its prospectus that in the future, Leapmotor will focus on the mid-to-high-end mainstream new energy vehicle market in China with a value of 150,000 to 300,000 yuan. But the first problem in front of Leaprun is that it is still a long way from the mid-to-high end.
Among the models delivered by Leapmotor in 2021, 39,149 are A00-class cars T03 with a price of not more than 100,000 yuan and a meager profit, accounting for 89% of sales.
Zhang Xiang, an automobile analyst, pointed out that the reason why the T03 sells well is that it precisely locates the market segment of the A0 car. “Because of the relatively small number of models, the A0 car at that time was a blue ocean, and the Leapmotor T03 was very delicate, with all the functions it should have. The T03 opened up the market with its high cost performance.”
“Losing money and earning shouts” has a price. According to the sales volume of 43,748 Leapmotors in 2021, the average loss is about 65,000 yuan per unit. Someone on the Internet described Leaprun as “selling one car and losing one.”
This is actually the biggest problem of Leap Motor – the overall development is seriously unbalanced, and the low-end and mid-to-high-end markets have not really stood firm on both sides.
In addition, like many new energy car companies, Leapmotor has also encountered various controversies along the way. The T03 pixel class imitated the plagiarism controversy of Mercedes-Benz Smart, and it was accused of exaggerating its self-research level.In May 2020, more than 200 Leapmotor S01 owners collectively defended their rights. The owners listed four major types of quality problems, including vacuum booster pump failure, battery overheating protection, black screen on the main control screen, and unprovoked parking of the vehicle.
On April 24, just one day before the Leapmotor CTC technical conference, another Leapmotor C11 owner broke the news online that the Leapmotor C11 body that he had newly picked up that day had many scratches and flaws, and the after-sales service has been completed. On the grounds of refusing to return the car, it only means that a foot pad can be presented as compensation. In addition, some netizens also posted on the car quality network and other platforms, saying that the C11 of their new car has obvious spray paint on the front cover and the body connection, and the connection on the right side of the front cover is 3mm higher than the body and vice versa. The driving a-pillar inner lining plate is not tightly buckled, etc.
Facing the future, Leapmotor’s plan is to make all models. However, the comprehensive use of various models may make it difficult for each model to stand out. In the SUV field, there are BYD Song Plus DM-i, Tang DM, Nezha U, Xiaopeng G3 and other hot-selling products. In the coupe field, there are also BYD Qin Plus, Xiaopeng P5, GAC AION S and other competitors. At present, there is no Leaprun with strong brand advantages and technical strength. It is not easy to get ahead.