China EVs & More

Episode #152 - January Sales (CNY effects), Evergrande, Didi + CATL, the Real Export Champ

February 05, 2024 Tu Le & Lei Xing
Episode #152 - January Sales (CNY effects), Evergrande, Didi + CATL, the Real Export Champ
China EVs & More
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China EVs & More
Episode #152 - January Sales (CNY effects), Evergrande, Didi + CATL, the Real Export Champ
Feb 05, 2024
Tu Le & Lei Xing

Tu and Lei start the podcast out with some of their family traditions for Lunar New Year. 

They then move onto unpacking January sales numbers and emphasizing the MoM comparisons not that important due to Lunar New Year being in January last year. 

Tu anticipates what we should see in March and beyond depending on how panicked the OEMs will be coming out of the New Year break, likely around late February. The goal of course is to keep the metal moving at a brisk pace of course. 

Tu and Lei then move over to the discussion about Evergrande, the Chinese real estate development company being forced into liquidation by a Hong Kong court and how that will affect Hengchi, their EV brand. 

Tu then talks about the impact that could be felt from the just announced partnership between Didi and CATL. 

The podcast closes with a brief clarification on export numbers and who the actual leader in global exports for passenger vehicles was in 2023. 


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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Tu and Lei start the podcast out with some of their family traditions for Lunar New Year. 

They then move onto unpacking January sales numbers and emphasizing the MoM comparisons not that important due to Lunar New Year being in January last year. 

Tu anticipates what we should see in March and beyond depending on how panicked the OEMs will be coming out of the New Year break, likely around late February. The goal of course is to keep the metal moving at a brisk pace of course. 

Tu and Lei then move over to the discussion about Evergrande, the Chinese real estate development company being forced into liquidation by a Hong Kong court and how that will affect Hengchi, their EV brand. 

Tu then talks about the impact that could be felt from the just announced partnership between Didi and CATL. 

The podcast closes with a brief clarification on export numbers and who the actual leader in global exports for passenger vehicles was in 2023. 


Climate Confident
With a new episode every Wed morning, the Climate Confident podcast is weekly podcast...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

CEM #152 Transcript
Recorded 2/2/24

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 to other enthusiasts about this podcast and tune in again next week. 

My name is Tu Le. I'm the managing director of 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 we pull many of our discussion topics from. You can sign up for it at sinoautoinsights.com, which I encourage you all to do. Lei, man, it is Chinese New Year again. Can you please introduce yourself?

Lei Xing:
Yes, good morning. Lei Xing, former chief editor of China Auto Review, and this is episode #152. We are exactly a week from Chinese New Year Eve. We have a week left in the Year of the Rabbit. And next will be the Year of the Dragon and today is actually in China, in northern China at least, it's called the Bei Fang Xiao Nian which means the little, small Chinese New Year, but northern China.

Tu Le:
Yes. People have already started to head towards their hometowns.

Lei Xing:
Things are slowing down. They have been slowing down a bit, I guess. And I guess over the next week, there are certain things.

Tu Le:
Including NEV sales. We'll get into that. 

Lei Xing:
Yeah, so over the next week, there are certain things that you do to prepare for Chinese New Year. You clean the house, you make the dough for the dumplings and stuff like that culturally that even we follow.

Tu Le:
Cut your hair.

Lei Xing:
To this day. Exactly, if you don't, your uncle will die or something. Superstitious stuff like that.

Tu Le:
And it should be noted, Lei that Vietnamese also celebrate Lunar New Year.

Lei Xing:
We should say Lunar New Year to be politically correct.

Tu Le:
Yeah, it comes from Chinese culture, but it's celebrated by non-Chinese as well.

Lei Xing:
So I don't know, you guys for you, probably you do both stuff like Chinese traditions and as well as maybe Vietnamese, some of the.

Tu Le:
So let me ask you and please forgive us if you're listening, humor us for a few minutes. Now is the, cause dumplings are, jiaozi is a northern China thing. And what do they do in south China, they don't roll dumplings, do they?

Lei Xing:
Well the sticky rice balls. That type of things, “Tang Yuan.”

Tu Le:
Right. So in Chinese culture and we did this, our kids did this, so it was really cool. We'd made stuffing. And then during Chinese New Year day or eve, we would roll them and then boil them and then eat them. That's a very Beijing thing. I know that different parts of China celebrate differently, but Vietnamese, we don't do that. We do celebrate our ancestors. So there's incense burning and a few other things like fruit because we're Buddhist, but we normally will make food that's vegetarian and then to celebrate our ancestors we’ll also make food that's not vegetarian. Yeah, so a little bit different, but still very very important holiday for Vietnamese culture. 

Lei Xing:
So supposedly today for the little Chinese New Year, we're supposed to eat dumplings, so we're going to my sister’s place to make dumplings, it's almost like a tune up.

Tu Le:
Nice! Do you make the dough too? Or do you buy the wrapping?

Lei Xing:
No, we make everything ourselves. So, you know the reason we're still spending a little bit of time talking about Chinese New Year and the tradition is Chinese New Year has everything to do with China EVs. The reason why is if you look at, even if it's starting to get slow, if you're on WeChat, what's happening on WeChat is these brands are pushing out these special Chinese New Year envelopes and they're pushing out all these special videos that try to subtlety relate to their brands. So Mercedes, Audi, the circles, “yuan,” that means people getting together, right? So we start to seeing these marketing stuff going on, even though it's slow season. It's very important.

Tu Le:
Lei, all you need to say is that Tesla rolled out a Chinese New Year specific over the air update. That’s all you need to say.

Lei Xing:
And now we go into the EV sales, you put “down” in the title and there's a big asterisk. Maybe you can explain a little bit why, but two more price cuts I just saw this morning: Xpeng again, offering some discounts on the G6 and the G9. I think G6 now starts at RMB180,000 something. And Tesla cut prices in Canada, earlier in the week they cut prices for some of the inventories in China and offering discounts on certain colors, but “down,” not down, but down.

Tu Le:
For those wondering, RMB180,000 for the G6 is around $26,000, $27,000. That would sell like crazy in Europe and the United States at that price. Let me just say that. But we're at 700,000 units in January, BYD is down almost 40% month over month, which should be expected. They went to 200,000 units. Tesla, we don't know how much is broken out from an export standpoint, but they produced the 71,000 cars in January. Let's say 20,000 of those might have been exported. What else, the legacies that work with SAIC, Volkswagen, GM they seem to be bottoming out. And now they seem to be trying to build momentum. Like you said, there's pressure on the “Wei Xiao Li,” and the domestic Chinese EV makers, specifically, Geely affiliated and Huawei backed seemed to be doing quite well relative to 2023. And I'm referring to AITO, AVATR. Who else am I thinking of Lei?

Lei Xing:
AITO, AVATR, ZEEKR

Tu Le:
Shenlan (Deepal). So.

Lei Xing:
So the point is that we look at year on year, month on month, so year on year, huge growth. Again, January last year was when Chinese New Year happened. So not apples the apples.

Tu Le:
It's not really that meaningful to compare.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, and then month on month, not all drops were created equal, I think specifically for the “Wei Xiao Lis” all three of them dropped significantly. I think Xpeng being the most.

Tu Le:
So for our audience, Wei Xiao Li is what is collectively the NIO, Xpeng and Li Auto, it’s their Chinese names combined.

Lei Xing::
I think Xpeng the problem was some production supply chain issue with X9, which in turn affected models like the G9, because they had to prioritize, I think, for X9. And then Li Auto, right? You talk about Li Auto, 50,000, all of a sudden to 30,000, and then BYD, I mean 200,000 versus more than what, 330,000 in December. It feels like a big drop, but in fact, I call it a reset because that's the seasonality of it. So.

Tu Le:
Some of the newer listeners Lei, let's talk about how there's a mad dash in December, lots of discounts going on, traditionally, not just last year. So a lot of sales that would normally happen in Q1 of the following year are pulled into December.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, that's been the case for as long as I have…

Tu Le:
Time.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, as long as I've covered this market, you see that trend booming Q4 followed by a somewhat slow Q1, and then it heats up as the year goes on.

Tu Le:
So we think of last year's January as this year's February, where…

Lei Xing:
Yeah, so February, the numbers will probably be worse. But then again, you have these brands, let's say, an AITO, they did better than December. Right, you can't, I guess, not all drops are created equal, right? But overall broadly for the market, that's the trend. And no panic button yet. But I mentioned to you offline, some brands, it's pretty disastrous, I would say, some of the numbers that I've seen, some of the new brands.

Tu Le:
Are there any specific brands you're referring to Lei?

Lei Xing:
Some of the newbees? Let's just say that, right? And in fairness, let's say if we talk about a NIO versus an Xpeng, NIO, hey if I put my NIO stan on, NIO did better than Xpeng at a price point much higher than Xpeng, right? And so what do you? How, it's all relative? But I think there is that what we've been talking about since this year started that gloominess is shrouding the market and the pressure to export, right? I think BYD was, 18% of their sales were exported.

Tu Le:
So BYD in December of 2023 exported 36,000. And in January, they exported 36,000. So.

Lei Xing:
Out of a lesser total base, right?

Tu Le:
On a smaller base, because sales were 38% less in January, then the ratio or the fraction percentage of vehicles exported, much higher.

Lei Xing:
And we've been hearing some stories about the car carriers. It's a huge investment, but it's a math problem, right? I think that the rental rates are going up, that the per car shipping rate is going up. So.

Tu Le:
We should also, so let's say February is awash because between now and let's say the 15th to the 18th of February, there is not going to be a lot done from a manufacturing standpoint. But what we should do is in March and April start really closely watching BYD's numbers, because what made things such, what made them so powerful last year could become a weight. And that's all the capacity that they've built on the battery side and on the OEM or the final assembly vehicle side. If they're close to 250,000, 300,000 in March, April, and getting into May, you're going to start to worry a little bit because they are continuing to increase capacity on every front.

Lei Xing:
While they just officially signed that deal to build the plant in Hungary, and at the same time, GAC AION, I think started construction of the Thailand plant. Small, I think only 50,000 a year, but you're still seeing these moves, export and building plants outside China.

Tu Le:
I also think Lei it's important to also kind of compare and contrast because one of the challenges I think Tesla currently has is that they have a ton of capacity in Shanghai. So I think it's one of the reasons that Berlin hasn't ramped, because they can export some of that volume to foreign markets. Now with BYD expanding a global manufacturing footprint in places like Europe, where China is not actually that far from an export market. It makes sense to build manufacturing in places like Brazil where it's a little bit more difficult logistically to ship vehicles. But we should start to see if BYD sales does not continue to grow like it has been, these factories that are abroad, they might not get the utilization that they're expecting originally. So.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, like I said when you get too high, it's a lot difficult to get higher, right? And then Tesla for example the big numbers, 50% of shipments out of Shanghai last year. It was like roughly 600,000 domestically, 300,000 exported. That's the rough ratio.

Tu Le:
Which is a big number. It's a huge number.

Lei Xing:
I guess January is not, we can't, based on January numbers conclude anything for the year.

Tu Le:
What we can conclude Lei, is that the price war is continuing. It's strong. It's still being dictated by Tesla, because they were one of the first to, was it NIO first and then Tesla was it in January?

Lei Xing:
I think it was. Well, at the end of last year, I think it was Chery who announced something first. And right, now, last year it was Tesla, but this year it’s Tesla kind of followed up.

Tu Le:
And then on top of the discount two weeks ago, they have a Chinese New Year discount for RMB8,000 for in stock Model Ys.

Lei Xing:
Yeah. Because of that new kind of the refreshed Model Y is on sale starting yesterday February 1 with the HW 4.0.

Tu Le:
So they're bleeding old inventory.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, so that's part of the reason, but it looks like now they have kind of refreshed both the 3 and Y in China were in the U.S. and North America I think only the new 3 is only starting to being delivered. 

Tu Le:
A refresh in China does not have the same impact as a refresh in Europe and the United States. I think they might get a very temporary bump in sales and interest on the refreshed Model Y but it's going to be a challenging 2024 for everybody to maintain growth. Now, I know one of the things that you had tweeted was Evergrande. So do you want to talk about that for a little bit?

Lei Xing:
Evergone, right?

Tu Le:
Yeah, that's a good one. I didn’t think that. So for those that are wondering Evergrande is or was the largest real estate developer in China and real estate developers are notorious for borrowing money to build new buildings. And so they famously have $300 billion worth of debt sitting on their balance sheet, and a Hong Kong court this week or last week had announced or not announced, I don't know how do you say that what's the right word, but anyways, they are forcing Evergrande to liquidate, but Hong Kong court doesn't have jurisdiction in mainland China where most of Evergrande’s assets are. So it doesn't look like the Chinese government is going to bail Evergrande out. So how does that play into Hengchi and the EV siad Lei? 

Lei Xing:
I just think Hengchi will be probably one of the multiple casualties that will happen this year if not already happened. It was from the very beginning, from 2019, when Evergrande made all these announcements and bets, it was never realistic in the first place. I think they wanted to do, I don't know, was it 5 million already in 2025? I have to go back and check the numbers. But it was wild forecast is what they wanted to do, they wanted to be like one of the five biggest NEV makers in the world. So.

Tu Le:
They had, was it two Shanghai Auto Shows ago they had a booth that had effectively models that you couldn’t…

Lei Xing:
Yeah, Daniel Kirchert was there.

Tu Le:
Yeah, so they had seven models in the booth. Only I don't think any of them you could open the doors. So they were, they literally didn't have a motor. They probably didn't have any engines or any working features in these vehicles. They were just, the windows were all blacked out.

Lei Xing:
So I mean the current price war, the way I describe it is that it's going to play on until the ones that can no longer play in it are driven out. And that's we're seeing that happening.

Tu Le:
So let me, what's the best way to say this? So we should separate the SOEs that are struggling from the startups. So startups meaning Hengchi, HiPhi is a struggling EV startup. WM I think we can safely say, they're gone?

Lei Xing:
They are gone. They are done.

Tu Le:
They are gone. We could safely say that. Who else, Lei?

Lei Xing:
ENOVATE.

Tu Le:
NIUTRON never got off.

Lei Xing:
Never made it. Yeah.

Tu Le:
We've spoken about all of these companies over the last two years. We haven't spoken about them lately because they haven't been viable for that long, but I also believe 2024 is going to, like you had mentioned, really push a few that have been still holding into the abyss. Which will make the legacies and the EV startups that survive even stronger. So, I think it's worth mentioning, because it's going to make, because let's say that collective bunch, it could be ten, it could be 20 EV startups that fail in 2024. They might together sell 100,000 units a month. So somebody's got to pick that up. And why not NIO? Why not Xpeng? Why not Li Auto? So they’ll fight for that extra demand that is left over from the failed companies.

Lei Xing:
I don't know. Did we talk about, yeah we did talk about Cybertruck so that was a kind of…

Tu Le:
I want to get your take on CATL DiDi.

Lei Xing:
Well, CATL for those that might not know has their own battery swap brand call EVOGO. I think it's been slow rolling out, they are only in three cities, I believe, the swap stations and then only two or three models for fleets that have been put into operation. So i think it's, with DiDi it's like a big signal, right? It's like a big leverage that this is something that we're going to see more of in that, ride hailing and together as leverage to kind of say to the OEMs, say, we're teaming up, let's do this. But there's an element of that I think, and then at the same time, they're all overall heeding to the battery swap that is encouraged by the government. So that's my take on it.

Tu Le:
So for those that are wondering DiDi is China's Uber. And the IPO three years ago got a smack down from the Chinese government, because the Chinese government didn't actually want them to IPO and were placed in the doghouse for the better part of two years. Meaning, so DiDi was super aggressive. They had acquired stakes in ride hailing companies outside of China, in Brazil in Europe, other parts. They also launched their service in some countries, too. So a combination expansion through acquisition and market entry with the DiDi brand to compete with Uber. When they got the smack down, they weren't able to offer their app to new consumers in China and they. But at that time, they were still the 800-pound gorilla. There were other companies like T3, CaoCao that are very regional that are ride hailing companies in China. But they were never able to overcome the huge lead that DiDi has. Didi got pulled out of the doghouse last year, late last year. So now they're very carefully back in expansion mode. And I actually think that DiDi is also partnering with CATL to stay in the good graces of the Chinese government or the Chinese government kind of wink, wink, pushed them into this partnership, maybe.

Either way the numbers bear this out. Let me quickly tell you the numbers. Average daily rides as of Q3, 29 million in China only, active users, annual active users 587 million, so 1/3 of of Chinese citizens use DiDi and the number of drivers and this is 2021: 15 million. If we think about it from the standpoint of a driver might have between 175 and 200 miles of range in their vehicle. And then they have to stop for about 20 minutes to recharge. That's money that they don't make. And DiDi doesn't make. When you add that up over a 10-hour, 12-hour shift, it could be one or two hours, not actually generating revenue. And so battery swapping eliminates that and increases utilization of the vehicle and driver exponentially if we add it all together, so their reach is massive. You and I when we're not driving in China, I'm sure you pretty much just use DiDi. It's ubiquitous any city that you go to. There's pretty much DiDi. It's super convenient, even more convenient than Uber, because in China, a DiDi ride could, a 45-minute DiDi ride could be ten bucks U.S., a 45-minute Uber ride in the U.S. could be $100 easy. So that's part of the difference in cost, but also just the scale that DiDi has in China.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, I think this will be a big year for DiDi because the CATL partnership is expanding trying to expanding the battery swap station. So it's all almost like a chicken and egg problem that you need the vehicles on the fleet on the ride hailing fleet to utilize battery stations, swap stations, at the same time you need to build out to make it accessible, right? The second for DiDi is this year's announcement with Xpeng’s MONA vehicle that was right, that was Xpeng basically bought DiDi’s kind of the EV business, right? And they're supposed to have this RMB150,000 vehicle, A-class vehicle to be used on the ride hailing platform. Yeah, so these are, I think, the two big things happening for DiDi this year.

Tu Le:
Now, CATL has a formal hammer to try to get more brands, OEMs, domestic, foreign, you name it onto its swapping platform and gives these brands an alternative to the NIO swapping platform. I just told you about the number of drivers. So think of it this way. DiDi can be CATL's partner to try to bully some of these SOEs and potentially struggling foreign brands in China to say your mass market vehicle, if you want me to buy 50,000 a month for my DiDi drivers or create a discount or a sales system for wholesale, only for my DiDi drivers, then you need to incorporate the swapping into your mass market vehicle. So that's why I think and remember that CATL supplies many of the foreign brands outside of China on modules themselves. This leads to a potential for CATL to export their swapping technology as well.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, there's multiple things going on. So Geely, NIO and Geely, right? They signed a deal for a battery swapping for the fleets, probably like those models of Livan brand, could be already be on the DiDi platform. They can utilize that Geely NIO partnership and then in Beijing when I was in Beijing in the summer, right? The Aulton network, the regular taxis, Beijing taxis, are already using that and it was pretty commonplace. I was at one of the stations and I kept seeing these taxis coming and doing the, but it was still little primitive compared to NIO, but still, I think it's pretty commonplace.

Tu Le:
I would just say Lei that it more, so NIO swapping system is a B2C, so the actual end user consumer uses the swapping station, whereas the CATL is more of a B2B so the driver, so it's not as fancy. It's not as designed nicely, but I think that we should put to bed whether swapping is viable or not, it's viable in China, which means that it's potentially viable in the rest of the world. And if you think about how complicated everything has gotten for a legacy OEM who now has to be an expert in battery technology and battery chemistry. They have to be an expert in software, they have to be an expert in electric powertrains. It's a lot in a short period of time that they need to get really good at. So this allows for them to really outsource some of that expertise to someone else. I'll point to GM kind of tripping all over themselves on the Ultium platform. So this creates an opportunity for the Renaults, for the Peugeots, for the Citroens in China, to be like, I want to be a player. I don't want to deal with the battery stuff, though, because it's complicated. So I'm in a partner with CATL at least in the China market and see what happens.

Lei Xing:
Two numbers to share the preliminary financial results of CATL and BYD. CATL made I think it was RMB112 million a day in 2023, and BYD made RMB80 million a day.

Tu Le:
Making a rain.

Lei Xing:
At the same time, the Tianqi and Ganfeng lithium producers, their profit tanked. They still make profits, but compared to 2022 because of the lithium prices. So it's right, it's good and the bad.

Tu Le:
For lithium is, lithium is going to be volatile for, through 2030.

Lei Xing:
So I think for both CATL and BYD profitability wise, they may be taking a hit if for BYD especially if they have to deal with cutting prices as well throughout the year. But still big numbers at least for last year.

Tu Le:
What do you think of the chance of success for the Ford Bronco locally built in China is going to be against Great Wall and these other guys.

Lei Xing:
I think that there could be a chance because now Ford feels totally different, I mean they are into that performance, offroad very niche which I don't know, a little bit of they don't have a clear EV strategy in China. So let's put it at that, but these other unique models that and they've done….

Tu Le:
The Bronco is not unique, just so we're clear. The Bronco is not, I'm sorry, not unique. The Bronco is not an EV.

Lei Xing:
But I mean they've done a lot of localization in terms of designing features for the Chinese market. Now there could be a chance. So that's….

Tu Le:
I think it should be a pleasant surprise for Ford, but it's not going to rescue their entire operation. What else did you tweet about, dude? Did you see? So Ampere, which is Renault’s electric vehicle and software division was going to get spun out. That's not going to happen anymore. And so we're seeing a pullback from companies that originally wanted or planned to IPO in 2024. Another one is Volkswagen’s PowerCo. And then the third one is ZEEKR. I think ZEEKR will still IPO in 2024, just not…

Lei Xing:
As planned or smoothly.

Tu Le:
In Q1 or Q2. How's that.

Lei Xing:
Mentioning the IPO, I think there's a lot of noises here in the U.S., the tech, these politicians, man, the tech company hearings, are you Chinese, are you affiliated with…you know that clip, right?

Tu Le:
Yeah. It's deep.

Lei Xing:
They're so dumb, but anyways, some harsh words coming out of, let's say, Secretary Raimondo, some other senators, was it the Gotion or the CATL plant in Michigan, pretty strong? Like the spying EVs? Politicians being politicians, this driving this threat up like. I don't know what you take of it. And also at the same time there's chatter from Carlos Tavares, right? On the Chinese offensive, which he is a part of now, by the way.

Tu Le:
So Raimondo had talked about China EV Inc. and the data. So there's multiple angles now, right? There is the chip angle, there is the battery and IRA angle.

Lei Xing:
Battery angle, the sensors.

Tu Le:
Now the data angle, but if I'm playing Devil’s advocate, if the foreign legacies had imported a ton of electric vehicles into China. I would see the same. I would assume that Chinese government would have similar reaction. They've done it with Tesla already in military bases. And so these are concerns that they have that they need to educate themselves on and make final decisions. If it's just trying to get political points, I think that's BS, complete BS. But if they're valid concerns. First of all, there is a handful of companies that we know very well out in Silicon Valley are already doing it. Okay? So if they're concerned and they need to deal with that first, another kind of and this is where these company, one company is not doing any favors for the Chinese side. That's TuSimple.

You can point to that and say, well, why is this happening? Because TuSimple, his email, I said it sounds like there's a Wall Street Journal article that they're emailing back and forth about shipping chips to Australia in order to ship them final destination to China. And it's like what? Now you and I have people had people that were working at TuSimple. And none of this surprises us because 3 years ago, if you were in Bijing, there was a huge, TuSimple office at Liangmaqiao, right? Liangma, near the what's that, Russian hotel and the U.S Embassy. So right in that area. But that is the big soap opera. And it's actually probably painting doing a great job of painting a negative picture on the rest of China EV Inc. and stuff like that.

Lei Xing:
So there is this element of a company like TuSimple, treading on dangerous waters at the same time, the BSing coming out of the politicians. So there's an element of both. And then at the same time, Tesla straddling the China-U.S. relations and the EV landscape. And one side needs to be very careful to avoid a kind of a retaliation. And that's why Elon had nothing but good to say about China. He never says bad stuff about China. So.

Tu Le:
That's clear, right? That's completely clear. So regardless of what the Tesla stans think, Elon has two million units of capacity there. There's just not a lot of negative stuff that he's going to be saying about it. So let's do this. It's 9:45 Lei. I'm going to look through my newsletter, but I'd like to open the room up for anyone with questions or comments.

Lei Xing:
Yeah, one thing I saw in your newsletter was, was China the top vehicle exporter in 2023 over Japan or not, depends on how you look at it, right?

Tu Le:
Yeah. So total exports from a let's say, a product with four wheels, Japan, number one, but in how I see it is, passenger vehicles, China's out exported Japan now. So I don't see.

Lei Xing:
Well, yeah, so based on the CAAM and the JAMA numbers, China was the number one exporter, but there's another set of data that said Japan had a little bit more if you count certain four wheeled vehicles.

Tu Le:
Yeah, it's just a matter of time. It's not an if, it's a when. If you don't believe that they out exported in 2023, it's likely going to happen in 2024. I'm looking through. I don't really have anything else, man. If anyone has any questions, raise your hand. Aptiv is pulling out of Motional joint venture or partnership. So.

Lei Xing:
So that's now fully Hyundai now, Hyundai Motor Group.

Tu Le:
I don't know what's going to happen with that, because Aptiv is, is it going to be now Hyundai licensing the technology from Aptiv.

Lei Xing:
For as long as I can remember, as I've been to CES so many years and that Motional and before it was Aptiv, before that, it was Delphi painted on these supposedly Level 4 robotaxis. I've never seen any, not like Waymo, not like Cruise that they've ever expanded or they've always been low key for some reason.

Tu Le:
They've just always been around, but never really growing, it seems.

Lei Xing:
Fully commercialized or so. I don't know that points to why Cruise is facing what it’s facing now, right?

Tu Le:
And now that you mentioned Cruise, we should just say GM has now officially announced that they will be launching hybrids again. So they backtracked a bit on their clean energy vehicle strategy. They originally said we're going to go straight from ICE to EV but it looks like they're going to build a bridge. So kudos to Akio Toyoda, but also kudos to Mary and reconciling and kind of back stroking, but not. So being able to swallow her pride to do that.

Lei Xing:
It seems that maybe kudos to Tavares as well because they sell quite a volume of their plug-in hybrids where the Jeeps 4xe, the minivan. Now it looks like they're starting to almost like full speed ahead with some of the new STLA platform vehicles like the new Jeep EV.

Tu Le:
It's going to be interesting to see because Tavares and Stellantis just a year ago was kind of a mess. They had announced that they're going to exit China effectively and didn't really have a strong clean energy vehicle platform strategy. Now they have a large car platform. They're likely use LeapMotor’s at least Leap 3.0 to build out their small car strategy.

Lei Xing:
That's why I said I became a fan of Tavares, because some of the things that he did was a little bit different, right? Odd even, but.

Tu Le:
I think he was very practical. And it's good to be, he's part politician, part businessman. So business person, I think, in times like this, you need to be flexible. And when you make bold statements, you should be able to swallow your pride and say the market conditions have changed, and we're reassessing how we're going to be doing business moving forward. I'm okay with that. But you know this, I had the problem with he being so adamant about some of the challenges how negative he seemed to be on some of his statements originally. So that's what I had a problem. Anyways, no one, I feel I feel set, so why don't we do this? Hey, everyone. Go ahead.

Lei Xing:
And next week you're okay with Friday, same time, although it's Chinese New Year Eve, but it's just another Friday here in the U.S. I guess.

Tu Le:
Yeah, but I've been watching some YouTube videos later because I've always had other people make the stuffing or the inside. I'm going to.

Lei Xing:
Yeah and supposedly the Chinese New Year Gala that CCTV that you can watch it on YouTube streamed live. But sometimes we still watch it because it's such a, people like it's a such a big topic that people talk about like make fun of on the stuff that's happens on the show. So.

Tu Le:
So for everyone, I think after February, we'll get into the meat of 2024, or at least the initial.

Lei Xing:
And then the following week, do we have our annual break? Is that correct? Or no?

Tu Le:
Yeah we could do that.

Lei Xing:
What, once a year break during the Chinese New Year?

Tu Le:
And while the other thing, too, is we we've totally sucked at our MAX episodes. We're going to be better. We have some amazing guests lined up. Hopefully, by the end of February, we'll have one or two to publish in late February, early march. So everyone. Thank you again for listening and joining us. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. We will talk with you all next week.

Lei Xing:
Friday next week will be the final episode in the year of the Rabbit. So talk to you guys, bye bye!

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 #152 - January Sales (CNY effects), Evergrande, Didi + CATL, the Real Export Champ