China EVs & More

Episode #162 - Tu's First Few Days in China, Zeekr 009 Grand, Li Auto L6

May 03, 2024 Tu Le & Lei Xing
Episode #162 - Tu's First Few Days in China, Zeekr 009 Grand, Li Auto L6
China EVs & More
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China EVs & More
Episode #162 - Tu's First Few Days in China, Zeekr 009 Grand, Li Auto L6
May 03, 2024
Tu Le & Lei Xing

Tu starts off the podcast with an update on what he's been up to the last few days including visiting Jiyue and getting a sneak peek of the Jiyue 07 and attending the launch event for the Zeekr 009 Grand, a 4 seat executive MPV.

Tu also had a chance to get a close look at the Xiaomi SU7 in the flesh. That transitions into a full discussion about Xiaomi and what they need to do to build on the success of the SU7.

Tu and Lei then pivot back into a detailed discussion of the 009 Grand and their expectations for the super luxe vehicle. The segment closes out on Tu and Lei talking a bit about the new Li Auto L6, their smallest EREV in the lineup, but still a clone of the others. Lei lists out all the debuts that will occur during the lead up and at the auto show. 

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Tu starts off the podcast with an update on what he's been up to the last few days including visiting Jiyue and getting a sneak peek of the Jiyue 07 and attending the launch event for the Zeekr 009 Grand, a 4 seat executive MPV.

Tu also had a chance to get a close look at the Xiaomi SU7 in the flesh. That transitions into a full discussion about Xiaomi and what they need to do to build on the success of the SU7.

Tu and Lei then pivot back into a detailed discussion of the 009 Grand and their expectations for the super luxe vehicle. The segment closes out on Tu and Lei talking a bit about the new Li Auto L6, their smallest EREV in the lineup, but still a clone of the others. Lei lists out all the debuts that will occur during the lead up and at the auto show. 

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CEM #162 Transcript
 Recorded 04/19/24

Tu Le:
Hi everyone and welcome to China EVs & More, where my co-host Lei Xing and I will go over the week's most important and interesting news coming out of the global EV, AV and mobility sectors. What Lei and I discuss today is based on our opinions and should not be taken as investment advice. For those that are new to the show, welcome. And to our loyal listeners, welcome back. We ask that you please help us get the word out about this podcast to other enthusiasts and of course tune in again next week. My name is Tu Le.  I am the managing director at Sino Auto Insights, a global management consultancy that helps organizations bring innovative and tech-focused products and services to the transportation and mobility sectors.  I write a free weekly newsletter that I didn't write this week that we pull many of our discussion topics from. You can sign up for it at Sino Auto Insights.com, which of course I encourage you all to do. A ready to get on a plane to BJ Lei, can you please introduce yourself?

Lei Xing:
Good morning. Good evening to you, a, where are you, Jiaxing, was it? In this event. Wuzhen, so the World Internet Conference. 

Tu Le:
I'm in the Venice of China. It’s a beautiful hotel.

Lei Xing:
Well, good evening to…

Tu Le:
I'm staying at a beautiful hotel…

Lei Xing:
To a grand, pun intended, Tu. Because I'm talking about the ZEEKR 009 Grand launch that you just attended. This is your co-host Lei Xing, former chief editor of China Auto Review, and this is episode #162. Yes, I'm very much looking to hitting the road and getting back to China. Very anxious, feeling a little bit of FOMO. So we're going to talk, we're probably going to have a shorter episode this week, given that you are in China, I’m on this side of the world. And we can talk about a little bit of tonight's event, your initial impressions and then broadly what we can look forward to for the auto show.

Tu Le:
So I flew into Shanghai because I thought I was going to have an opportunity to go to F1.  What I found out is that because of Zhou Guanyu, the F1, the Chinese F1 driver, tickets have been hard to find. And come to find out, scalpers bought them all up. And so they're going for a lot more then, and i didn't, you and I normally can make some calls and get some connections, and…

Lei Xing:
But that's exactly the thing. You don't yet have those connections yet.

Tu Le:
Yeah, not in F1, not in F1 for sure. 

Lei Xing:
Maybe next year.

Tu Le:
But yeah. So I'll be flying to Beijing on Sunday. But yesterday I visited JIYUE, friend of the show Frank Wu, former guest of MAX. He updated me on what's going on at JIYUE. JIYUE is in Jading so there's this area in Shanghai, Jiading District, that is where all of, I won't say all, where a good portion of car companies are, Chinese car companies…

Lei Xing:
Volkswagen, Tesla, I guess.

Tu Le:
Porsche has an engineering center in Jiading, and, so, it was really good to catch up with him.  They have doubled their employees from when I last spoke with him to about 2,000. Now I got a sneak peek of the 07. I got to drive the 01, and so, and we're driving through the neighborhood. So they, you know, I put on Level 3 or Level 2+.

Lei Xing:
No, not Level 3. Level 2+. We got to be clear on that.

Tu Le:
Level 2+. Yeah, so and then so with JIYUE, you have to keep your hand on the steering wheel.  

Lei Xing:
Some local urban NOA action.  

Tu Le:
Yeah, it was good.  It was because, you know, in those districts, there's a lot of delivery vehicle, a lot of delivery, like bikes.

Lei Xing:
Mopeds, scooters.

Tu Le:
And it's not as, so Shanghai is much better about following traffic laws than a Beijing and any tier-2 city for sure. But in those districts where there's less, let's say residential people, it's still a little bit crazy on the streets. And I have to say I felt pretty comfortable, no problems. The screen, you know, because my Chinese is a little bit rusty, we did pretty good. But you know, bottom line is that Frank feels pretty good about the products.  And so got to talk to him a little bit about his thoughts on the, on the Xiaomi car. And then what did we do, what did I do?  So and then this morning I went to this innovation lab called Drivery in Jiading, was talking to my friend whose co-worker has a Founder's Edition of the Xiaomi SU7. 

Lei Xing:
I saw the number, 306.

Tu Le:
Yeah, the top end version too. So it's a MAX. And so we went down to the parking, underground parking structure. She was kind enough, I just met her, literally just met her. And she's kind enough to let me sit in the car. We didn't drive it. I'm hoping to do that next week. But I don't know how you can beat this thing for $30,000. So the vehicle that she has is not $30,000. It's probably closer to RMB400,000 because she had a custom paint job. So the MAX version is RMB350,000 and then with a custom paint job, and then she showed me via the Xiaomi app, you can buy accessories for the Xiaomi SU7.

Lei Xing:
Yeah. Phone holders, was one of the…

Tu Le:
Yeah, phone holders. And there's like a clock. And then also on the bottom of the screen, she had this set of buttons attached. So that is not part of the normal vehicle. So…

Lei Xing:
That’s the customization part of it.

Tu Le:
Right, and, so that's where Xiaomi is probably three steps ahead of everyone else. And it seems like they had created this network of products or accessories for the SU7 before launch and had them ready to ship along with the vehicle. So she had it delivered on April 6. And it was crazy, Lei.  I didn't see an SU7 the 30 hours I was there. And the car that she had was a little bit purple custom paint.  And so I was like, oh man, this is cool. And then I go up and I'm ready to leave to go to Hongqiao because I need to take the train to Wuzhen and I see four SU7s right away.  And I'm like, okay, so and then where they are in Jiading I saw a lot of IMs, I saw a lot of PIs, and so that was pretty cool. A lot of mules, a lot of like camoued vehicles. So and I haven't even gotten to tonight, so.

Lei Xing:
You know you just gave two examples of, the JIYUE 01 and the SU7, two of countless smart EVs out there on the market that are getting completely different reception from the customers. We have to be real here. Honestly the JIYUE sales haven't been that well, whereas on the other hand, these are two completely different cars, but offering, may be offering the same or similar, you know, smart features, but Xiaomi is what you just described, you know, these other things,  these gadgets that they have, is something that the other competitors don't have. The latest numbers I think, was over 60,000 locked in orders, that's what I've heard.

Tu Le:
Well, Lei Jun is saying it's 3-5 times more than his expectations, so.

Lei Xing:
I mean it's only an infinitesimal part of this whole China EVs that we're talking about. And those two brands already, I mean the amount of traffic that Xiaomi has been getting ever since three weeks ago, still tons of traffic on the internet. I mean, it's ridiculous.

Tu Le:
One thing that's for sure though Lei, is that Xiaomi is going to have to come up with product number two in the next 6-8 months or I think the SU7 will start flailing just because of the nature and the dynamic of the current market conditions. And so, so rumor has it, it's by the end of the year, they're going to have something. So.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, probably a SUV. And then at the other end of the extreme, we talked about this “juan,” which is the involution of the pricing in China. You just witnessed something that's, basically at the very end of the press conference, Andy he said, we're going to end, he's basically pointing to the Japanese, the luxury Alphards, the Lexus vans that you have to pay mark up to get these vehicles? And he just basically said the ZEEKR 009 Grand, we're going to end that, with the RMB700,000….

Tu Le:
Was it live streamed?

Lei Xing:
Yeah, it was livestreamed. I watched it a little bit. So at the RMB789,000 price mark, which considering the current price war and the bloodbath and given the kind of the positioning of ZEEKR, ZEEKR has models that are priced below, in the RMB200,000 range, and they come out with this top Alphard, Lexus LM competitor and another shot at the MEGA, which is in danger, indirectly. But I mean, you heard whatever was shared, right? I mean, granite, leather, this tulip thing that they developed, it's overkill and…

Tu Le:
It's a 43-inch screen. There is executive, two executive chairs and but the first thing that they talked about before all these other features was safety. They showed a short video of pictures of current 009s that have been in accidents. And I have to say I was pretty impressed because. And then the other thing too Lei, is that, so this presentation was long. It was like.

Lei Xing:
Yeah I was like, it's a usual…

Tu Le:
But, the production value was amazing. It was terrific and you and I both have friends at Geely so we want to see them do well. Because, you know, I know Yilei pretty well, got to see him.  And we should remind the audience that you and I have driven 009s, not the Grand…

Lei Xing:
Driven, and being driven on a racetrack here in the U.S.

Tu Le:
On a racetrack and so it's, it is a segment buster because to your point, so I don't know, cause this is where I'm at a loss, and you answer this question. You feel the Alphard and the Lexus van and the Sprinter vans are more executive saloons than they are family vehicles? 

Lei Xing:
Yes. 

Tu Le:
Okay so because the unique thing about this 009 is that there's only four seats. And so, I tweeted: think S-Class and, Mercedes S-Class and Mercedes Sprinter van had a baby. Because we're talking, and to your point, because the first thing that Andy said, and we should clarify because a lot of people are going to be like who's Andy, who only know his Chinese name, so what's his Chinese name?

Lei Xing:
An Conghui, he’s the CEO of ZEEKR.

Tu Le:
Yeah, An Conghui. But he's also the CEO of Geely Group. So he wears two hats, at least that's what Yilei told me. 

Lei Xing:
And he's one of the oldest employees of Geely.

Tu Le:
Yeah and he, you know, he brought it man. He brought the excitement man. He was trying to get all, this exhibition hall, huge. We're talking 400 or 500 people, easy. And, you know, I'm still jet lagged and I was falling in and out of sleep a little bit. 

Lei Xing:
Really! Okay.

Tu Le:
It was, so it was so long.

Lei Xing:
It was. It was kind of long. I think a few things I remembered from the press conference is they talked about the speed of charging, I think it was a sub-12 minute, 10% to 80% adding five 500 km. I think that's one thing I remembered. 

Tu Le:
So, one of the things that was really interesting was that Yilei had introduced the head of design, I forget his name, but he sits in Gothenburg and then we also talked to the head of design for the Shanghai Studio, and man, I forgot, his name escapes me. You know, I'm terrible with names, but he's a bearded gentleman, taller, white guy, Anglo. But he, when I asked him this question, I said, okay, who are you targeting, you had alluded to a couple of products in the presentation,  but he said that, you know, with how big it is and how heavy it is, to have the performance that it has, you know, and I said, so this is the reason I call it a segment buster, because 7 Series and S-Class should really be worried, because I think, and they showed this slide. I knew MPV was a solid solid segment in China, but it's growing, enormous. 

Lei Xing:
67% growth last year. That’s what they showed.

Tu Le:
Yeah and so this is, so just because it looks like a van or a minivan, larger minivan, it's not, it is an executive saloon because there's only four seats, so just keep that in mind when you are, and the 009 and 009 Grand, two different products. Okay just to make sure that our audience understands the difference. 

Lei Xing:
The sixth model rather than a derivative of the 009. Yeah it's basically an executive saloon in a MPV box. That's it. And I mean, yeah, right, it's not only the MPVs, it's the 7 Series, the S-Class, right?

Tu Le:
He reminded everyone in the very beginning that they're only three years old still and that they are the best premium EV brand in China. 

Lei Xing:
They're the top selling, I think the 009, the half a million RMB & above segment, I think. So, yeah. 

Tu Le:
We are we're talking seats like business class seats.

Lei Xing:
The seats alone, he said, valued at half a million RMB each. It's overkill, man. It’s, yeah.

Tu Le:
So I was talking to, who was I talking to?  I was talking to a journalist this morning, maybe a Bloomberg journalist, but I said that the line between premium and value has gotten super blurred, because any Westerner that would get into a Xiaomi XU7, you would not believe it's a $30,000-car. 

Lei Xing:
So when you sat in the Xiaomi, the finish, I mean, the perceptive quality, how does it compare with, I mean the other big ones out there? Because you…

Tu Le:
Because you, so you know, I'm like the Germans, right? I look at, I look at the fit and finish. I look at the panel gaps, it's just second nature because I grew up in Detroit. I listen to the sound of the doors. I feel for the. So the one thing, because I worked at Lear, and we did seats. Leather is only on parts of the seat that people touch and feel. So if you feel the bottom of your seat where you don't normally touch, that's actually vinyl, that's not real, that's not leather. And so these little things that kind of pop up here and there. 

Lei Xing:
You didn't get to sit in the 009, did you? At the press conference?

Tu Le:
I did. I did. And man, that seat is so comfortable, cause they pulled two out on the stage, cause they brought this pianist out there and they had this orchestra, and then they rolled these two out.

Lei Xing:
So the name of the game in the competition now in China is just when you think that you've come out with the best product, somebody else will come out with one much better than you.  That's it.

Tu Le:
And unconventional wisdom rules the day because, if you look at this, you don't think of. Okay I’m thinking of not buying the 7 Series now and I’m going to buy this big ass van and it's like if you look at…

Lei Xing:
And it’s electric.

Tu Le:
And if you look at the specs, and didn't look at the actual vehicle, you'd be like RMB789,000 for this freaking thing versus well over a million (RMB) for a 7 Series in China. 

Lei Xing:
That's the thing, that's the thing. Yeah. 

Tu Le:
So, that just means that, you know, and I know this, Lei. Excuse me, there were companies tonight whose product teams were watching this and are probably changing pricing on their slides right now for next week. 

Lei Xing:
And I think, yeah, I think ahead of Auto China, the last couple of days have reached a little mini climax I would say, you know, April 18 was like at least six, seven products launched or went on pre-sale or revealed. There was a couple of signings of, you know, like FAW signing with DJI Automotive, stuff like that. It's, you know, right from now on until right the 25th, it's, right.  Volkswagen announced their lineup for the Beijing Auto Show, right, today. And the latest numbers, 117 global debuts, 30 of those are from foreign automakers so mostly from…41 concepts, 278 NEVs, which seems small because I would think there's going to be at least 1,000 vehicles on display. And if you checked out the floor plans, I had tweeted a couple days ago of Xiaomi being surrounded by Geely and IM, which are…

Tu Le:
And JIYUE.

Lei Xing:
JIYUE. Which are Xiaomi's biggest nemesis, biggest, there's quite a few beefs going on. So that was, yeah, somebody planned it that way. And then the three LiDAR companies and they're all in the same hall as, right next to each other. So, yeah…

Tu Le:
Man, on a personal note. Go ahead, go ahead, sorry.

Lei Xing:
No, if we look at that, I mean we put it into buckets right? We look at the foreign companies, right? Volkswagen, all of their group brands have something new. One interesting thing was this Ye that was launched by Honda, which I think was not a smart thing to do, to be honest. That Chinese character has gotten a lot of, just say, wrong takes. I mean, you would think that they would know the market, study the market, culturally, it just, I think it was a bad character.

Tu Le:
What do you, what, can you explain why it’s so bad?

Lei Xing:
The character Ye is composed of the character “huo” which means fire and “hua” which means China. So, and it's supposed to mean shine bright, but when you put fire in China together, I mean, you can, people are going to say, okay you want to be on fire in China or you want to be on fire in China, right? I think that was, that was a bad. It’s not going to go well.

Tu Le:
This is when they should hire us, right? I don't know what they were thinking? It's…Aside from the naming, the vehicles look cool. I like them. 

Lei Xing:
The vehicles are okay but at the end of the day, there's also this like, difficult understanding of what actually is a brand when you have the “H” badge, it's still a Honda brand, but they're calling this Ye a new brand. In fact, it's not a brand. It's like Galaxy, right? Galaxy still uses the Geely  six square kind of the logo, right? So I didn't think that was a good start or starting off in the wrong foot kind of . And then BMW.

Tu Le:
So Honda probably spent millions, millions of dollars to have somebody come up with Ye.

Lei Xing:
It's hard to fathom, it's. I don't know, I mean, talk about understanding, you know, the local culture in the Chinese market. BMW finally, they're going to show the first, or one of the first EVs being produced at that Spotlight joint venture with Great Wall Motor, the MINI Aceman. So that's something. And then the Audi Q6L e-tron, which is the PPE produced at the new plant in Changchun Audi FAW. 

Tu Le:
As Elon is going to show off his robotaxi on 8/8, ZEEEKR will also be unveiling the ZEEKR MIX, which is effectively that Waymo vehicle that they're building. So.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, we had a, you know, like also comparing to this ZEEKR 009 launch today with the Li Auto L6, right? It's completely feel, all family, kind of, you know, the pricing was kind of dropped a little bit than expectations and that's, you know, maybe Li Auto can focus on their EREV which is their brand, right? The MEGA is kind of…

Tu Le:
Yeah the important thing is that to remember is that the L6 is a 5-seater and so it's just a different segment because you and I know this and we've said this before, if you're a family, you can't think of the same numbers that you would in the United States. If you have two kids there's normally at least one ayi in China. So that makes for a 5-seat vehicle. And then a lot of times grandma and grandpa are coming, or at least half the time. And so most two-child families will need at least a 5-seater at a minimum. And so that's why the seven seats are so important and you look at five seats and it's not, to me it doesn't, it's not a family car in China. So.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, I mean, they're targeting the kind of the, new family, you know, people that just had a kid,  that type of customer group. 

Tu Le:
See and I have to emphasize, this is why the European government, United States government is so freaked out, because the type of value that you're getting at $35,000 for this L6, type of value you're getting at $30,000 for the SU7, it's bananas, it's off the charts. I'm talking, you know, 5 Series value for $30,000-$40,000. You know not performance but fit and finish, level of quality feature. I mean you don't, you're not getting the BMW badge. But how much is that worth in China? It's not worth as much as it was 20 years ago.  

Lei Xing:
And the L6 launch, the Li Auto L6 launch, all it compared was the Porsche Cayenne, right? So, no wonder Porsche's sales are down in China. 

Tu Le:
And for the folks that haven't been to China or haven't been to China in a while, have not seen these vehicles, I'm very American, and Lei knows this. But I also call what I see and I promise you, these vehicles will knock your socks off. And Tesla fit and finish nowhere near Li Auto in general. In the vehicles that I've been in, I've been in at least, just Li Auto vehicles, probably a dozen, the SU7 today, although it only had probably, you know, maybe 1,000 or 2,000 km on it.  Maybe 1,000 km, you would have thought, whoa, and you know, she got in the car and she's just like pressing all these screen buttons and, and you know, she's touching the screen like she's a pro. So she obviously understands and knows how to use the screen touch system. And, you know, I was, NIO, also fit and finish’s really well. Now design, there's some quirks with the design, but the material quality is really high. I think fit and finish is really high, so but in the China market, they have every flavor that you want. If you want a particular flavor they got it for you. And it's going to be probably one and a half times cheap, one and a half times cheaper than anything outside of China. It's just bananas dude.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, I'm just going to say it's probably going to be if last year was a shock, this year it's going to be shock 2.0. I think even for me, let's not just talk about people that haven't been to China. For me, and you that have been to China last year and going back again and seeing these newer features at more competitive priced vehicles, better built, I still expect to be shocked. Let alone…

Tu Le:
I can't name one foreign brand that I could give credit about doing well in the market. Not one.

Lei Xing:
Well, I mean, for if you look at the big German brands, right? BMW, Volkswagen Group,  Mercedes, all three of them have brand group nights, group nights or brand nights on the 24th at the same time, so they probably are the most, if we look at the chatter or the traffic, they're getting a lot of those. I think the Japanese are a little bit below that. I think Mazda, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, they're all revealing some kind of new EVs for the Chinese market, but the level of attention is not yet there compared to the German ones. And then the Americans, while GM has the Buick GL8 PHEV, the Cadillac Optiq, I think Chevrolet is doing something new. Ford is going all the way toward this off-roady Bronco, they are launching the locally-produced Bronco which in itself it's a whole new segment in the market. This macho right, we saw the Fang Cheng Bao 3, 5 and 9. We saw this iCAR, the Chery iCAR V23. The new Haval H6 and H9. And these kind of the boxy-shaped off roady vehicles. I think that's the next, right, TANK, I think that's…

Tu Le:
What's been going on with Great Wall?

Lei Xing:
Well what's been going on with Great Wall is now that Wei Jianjun is busy doing live streams. Yeah, I mean, these companies that have multi-brands, it's always difficult to juggle, right?

Tu Le:
And we're seeing the renaissance of sedans in China. I think when you lived here, sedans weren't really a thing. I mean BMW sold enough 5 Series and 3 Series, C-Class, E-Class, but most, I would have said, told you that, and I think it still is. China is like the U.S., it's an SUV, crossover country. So. 

Lei Xing:
Yeah, and then, really, I think the Chinese are still going to dominate and I’m not only talking about the OEMs, pay attention this year also to these domestic startups the DJIs, the Sense Autos, the Horizons, right? The LiDAR companies, chip, you know, right, Sesame, Black Sesame.

Tu Le:
I don't know man, I've heard that these domestic chip design companies are just still really behind NVIDIA and Qualcomm. So it's going to take a lot more nurturing for Horizon and Black Sesame to become the NVIDIAs and Qualcomms of China. So.

Lei Xing:
And then phone is all the craze right now. Polestar is launching a phone. And what’s that model, the Huawei PURA 70 has been getting a lot of attention in the last few days. 

Tu Le:
Polestar is in jeopardy, becoming irrelevant.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, it's, it goes back to that multi-brand thing. Every company that has multi brands, including Geely right now, not everything is rosy for Geely by the way. 

Tu Le:
No.

Lei Xing:
The Great Walls, Chery has a bunch of, EXEED, JETOUR, and there's more, still more brands, namely the ONVO and the MONA are deciding to have separate events post the auto show.

Tu Le:
And we will see Philip and James Hind the founder of carwow, they're going to come to Beijing,  so it'll be good to catch up with them, hear about how these brands are being received in the UK and Germany and Spain. And you know, pick their brains on what they're hearing what they're seeing what the data says. Unfortunately, Daniel Kirchert is not going to be coming. I pinged him and he said his wife had something going on, and so you and I will have to hold the fort, man.  

Lei Xing:
Well, I've heard that he's not able to come for other reasons. So we can, you know, chat about it but I think we're at 40 minutes. The last thing I want to ask you was the three days you've been there. Tell me your feel of the kind of the economic situation on the ground. What do you see?  What do you feel. Has it been reported as we've heard here in the U.S.?  Now that you're on the ground, what do you think? 

Tu Le:
For me, I haven't done any shopping. Normally I would go to a UNIQLO or a Nike store. I just haven't had the time, just been kind of back-to-back to back. I'll probably do a little bit of that tomorrow, but the, from, and I'm comparing this because you and I have a much better feel for Beijing. I'm comparing now with last year this time in Shanghai. Shanghai last year was still recovering, it seems to be better, but I talk to people and still not a ton of foreigners have come back. And but, you know, traffic is not great, which tells you one thing. And Hongqiao Railway Station today, packed. So you know, I think domestic travel seems to be okay, but.

Lei Xing:
Well, the railways that may be just a fact of life that people are traveling on railways.

Tu Le:
Yeah, I'm not sure if it reflects anything at all because people, that’s what people in China do, right? So.

Tu Le:
Yeah. And my goodness dude, I went to Hongqiao 25 minutes before my train. Didn't have a ticket. Just used my passport, got in, took 45 minutes to get to the station, got out. It was so convenient and yeah, I mean, I woke up this morning. I woke up this morning. and you'll get this nostalgia a little bit when you get wheels down on Tuesday. I missed the hustle and bustle of these big cities. I walked and got a Starbucks this morning, and, you know, I saw this kid with his mom with one of those her handkerchiefs tied around her neck. Just kind of reminded me of walking my son to school, you know when he was a little kid, when he was younger. And it's just like, I do no walking in the United States. 

Lei Xing:
Yeah, everything's on wheels. 

Tu Le:
And luckily here in Shanghai, there's not been any pollution. So it's just been, and it hasn't been hot. In fact, it’s kind of cold, so.

Lei Xing:
Well, this time of the year is perfect, that's before, you know that they used to have the China auto shows in June. They moved it up to April, like many years ago, because of the weather, was one of the reasons.

Tu Le:
And oh, one other thing that I wanted to talk about. But let's do this, Lei, if anyone has any questions or comments, you know, raise your hand, we'll bring it up. You know there's only one thing that I wanted to talk about, one thing else, and that is, I got a chance to go to Forbes China office and did a video interview, but it was kind of cool. I'm seeing the, you know, Forbes China.  I, for those that are wondering, last year I did an interview with Russell Flannery who's the senior editor for Forbes China and kind of did what I'm expecting for the Shanghai Auto Show, did that again, there's an article in Forbes that Russell asked me what I'm expecting out of the Beijing Auto Show. I told him more, you know, I’m curious to see if there's any more formal partnerships that are going to be announced between foreign brands and domestic brands. I'm looking at…

Lei Xing:
Without a doubt.

Tu Le:
Foreign brands, right, yeah I agree. And that's why I mentioned it then I'd mentioned also that I'm curious to see the foot traffic at these foreign brands booths and how their products will be received. Sorry. Specifically, GM’s because they are tripling down with three products. And yeah, you know, I want to see the build up, like, tonight, you know, cause this was kind of a bomb that was dropped.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, and you do it ahead of the auto show. And the other kind of the metric or the measuring stick we gauge is who among the global CEOs are in Beijing, right? Because that shows commitment, at least on paper, but…

Tu Le:
I was told on Volkswagen Group's brand day, I want to say He Xiaopeng, I’m not sure, I forget who, they told me, but one of the Xpeng executives are going to give the keynote or going to give a keynote. So I think that is a reinforcement to the market and the Volkswagen investors that you know, we're going to make this work, and by 2026. You had tweeted the body of a Volkswagen and the soul of an Xpeng. 

Lei Xing:
Yeah with that new China Electrical Architecture that they just announced a couple of days ago.

Tu Le:
So, you know, there'd be nothing like this. I mean, I'm three days, you know, a week before the show and there's this major event for a freaking executive saloon, there'd be nothing like this in Detroit. It kind of saddens me that there are no exciting drops or unveils anymore outside of China market. 

Lei Xing:
And I, as I said before, the Beijing Auto Show is over before it even begins because of all these pre-events, pre-reveals. 

Tu Le:
And always super nice to see Jiawei, Jill Shen, Yilei, got to see Yale, he just happened to sit next to us. And so.

Lei Xing:
It's a small circle, small world.

Tu Le:
Yeah, it is small, small world. And I guess, I always push back, but I guess I might as well own it. I guess I’m media a little bit. But anyways, hey, apologies for shifting the time by half an hour earlier tonight. Thank you for joining us. We will talk with you all, hopefully, perhaps next week, if not the following week. Thanks for joining us, everyone, good morning, good afternoon, good evening.

Lei Xing:
Likewise, and I will talk to you in China, in Beijing.

Tu Le:
That brings us to the end of this week show. Lei and I thank you for tuning in. My name is Tu Le and you can find me on twitter @sinoautoinsight. You can find Lei on twitter @leixing77. If you wouldn't mind rating and or reviewing us on Apple Podcast, Spotify or wherever you grab your podcast from, we'd appreciate that as well. Even better if you enjoy this show, please tell your friends about it. Please join this again next week as we track down all the latest news on China EVs & More.

(Cont.) Episode #162 - Tu's First Few Days in China, Zeekr 009 Grand, Li Auto L6