Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group will use its new Zeekr electric-car unit to take on tech giants such as Apple and Xiaomi, which also have ambitions to enter the burgeoning EV market.
Zeekr, which will be run independently, is seen as combining the characteristics of a tech company with Geely’s carmaking expertise, Geely President Andy Conghui An said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. He said that will give it an edge against a new wave of potential rivals from the tech industry, which could see cars become like a piece of hardware that is constantly improved with software upgrades.
“We see Zeekr cars as mobility terminals,” An said. “What we aim to do is to provide users with products and experience that go beyond their expectations.”
Geely, which has spent four years developing the first Zeekr 001 car, will start deliveries in September, and has a target of up to 8,000 sales in the fourth quarter. That is seen rising to more than 50,000 in 2022 after two more models are added, An said. Chinese EV upstart Nio sold about 43,700 vehicles last year, and Xpeng delivered about 27,000.
In China, Geely and traditional automakers such as Volkswagen Group are jockeying with Tesla, Nio and Xpeng for a slice of what is now the world’s largest EV market. The growth has also attracted tech firms such as Xiaomi to Huawei Technologies, betting they can use their software know-how as cars grow increasingly autonomous and connected.