Wallstreetcn
2023.09.27 12:22
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"King of Curls" Zero Run

Focusing on driving growth.

Author: Liu Baodan

Editor: Zhou Zhiyu

From being underestimated and overlooked at the beginning to achieving sales of over 10,000 units for four consecutive months and firmly establishing itself among the top ten in the new energy vehicle market, Zero Run has become an automotive company that cannot be ignored.

With its comprehensive self-research and focus on extended range, Zero Run has staged an impressive turnaround in the past few months. Zhu Jiangming, the founder and chairman of Zero Run, has decided to further consolidate this advantage.

On September 20th, Zero Run launched the C01 Super Extended Range model. With a price range of 145,800 to 169,800 yuan, it is equipped with a self-developed 43.7kWh through-type battery pack, and the pure electric range reaches 316 kilometers according to the CLTC standard. This makes the C01 Super Extended Range stand out among other models in the same price range with pure electric ranges of 100-200 kilometers.

Nowadays, various car companies in the market are fiercely competing in terms of product strength and price, and Zero Run has become the "sales champion". It aims to firmly establish its foothold in the A-class car market, where consumers are most sensitive to price, by offering the ultimate value-for-money.

During the evening exchange meeting, Zhu Jiangming candidly expressed his high expectations for the C01 Super Extended Range. He hopes that with a sincere price, the product can gradually open up more sales channels.

Six months ago, by releasing four models in one go and setting the price range of new cars at 150,000 to 200,000 yuan, as well as adopting the "extended range + pure electric" dual-power mode, Zero Run, which experienced a sharp decline in sales during the intense price war at the beginning of the year, has returned to the path of growth.

In the past eight months, Zero Run's sales have gone from delivering only 1,139 vehicles in January to 14,190 vehicles in August, drawing a beautiful curve in terms of sales. Its stock price has also regained momentum since March, with a surge of up to 60% in the past six months. Zero Run's stock price reflects investors' emphasis on car sales.

Zhu Jiangming stated that after the launch of the C11 Extended Range model in March, the pure electric version of the C11 did not decrease but instead increased, achieving the effect of 1+1>2.

The C series has become the absolute main force for Zero Run's sales growth, accounting for between 83% and 85%. Therefore, whether it is the launch of the C01 Super Extended Range at the press conference or the additional promotion of the C11 Super Extended Range, it represents Zhu Jiangming's expectation for further increasing Zero Run's sales.

Previously, Zhu Jiangming proposed a "5-year plan" in 2021, stating that Zero Run aims to be among the top three new forces in the automotive industry by 2023 and achieve a 10% market share in the new energy vehicle market by 2025. Based on the current sales data, Zero Run still needs to continue its efforts.

Zhu Jiangming stated that Zero Run's sales are increasing quarter by quarter, and he hopes to continue working hard next year to strive for overall profitability by 2025.

However, the market today is completely different from two years ago. Zero Run's main battlefield is now in the price range of 100,000 to 200,000 yuan, which is already a highly competitive market. Mainstream models from car companies such as BYD, Geely, and Great Wall are in this price range, and they have also been actively promoting hybrid models this year in an attempt to gain more consumer favor. Zero Run faces many challenges in breaking through the layers of competition. 朱江明 believes that Zeropao has its advantages. He stated that Zeropao has been conducting comprehensive independent research and development for eight years, and except for the battery cells, everything else is self-developed. Only through independent research and development can multiple platforms share and utilize resources, reducing the investment in research and development. "As Zeropao gradually expands its sales scale, the benefits of economies of scale will become more apparent in the future, so I believe that Zeropao's product competitiveness will continue to be demonstrated."

The ability for independent research and development plays a decisive role in Zeropao's ability to meet consumer demands with its vehicle models. In addition to manufacturing vehicles, Zeropao's technological advantages have also gained the favor of multinational automakers.

During a communication meeting, Zhu Jiangming told Wall Street News that many partners have shown interest in Zeropao's technology, and announcements will be made in the near future.

This also allows Zeropao to achieve a "second growth curve" through technological cooperation, in addition to simply selling vehicles as an automaker. It can join companies like Xiaopeng to become a testament to the leading advantage of Chinese automakers in the new energy era, leading the way in the new energy era.

In today's market where product strength and value are competing, only by maintaining technological advantages can a company go further. This is also the fundamental principle for every automaker to stay competitive.

The following is a transcript of the communication meeting (edited):

Question: What are the company's sales expectations?

Zhu Jiangming: I have high expectations for the extended range of the C01, and I hope the product can gradually open up more sales channels.

Question: How can comprehensive independent research and development be reflected in the products to make consumers more aware of it?

Zhu Jiangming: Through eight years of accumulation, we have greater assurance in terms of product quality.

Only through independent research and development can multiple platforms share and utilize resources, reducing the investment in research and development. As Zeropao's sales scale expands, the benefits of economies of scale will become more apparent in the future. I believe that Zeropao's product competitiveness will continue to be demonstrated.

Question: Why didn't the price of the C01 extended range decrease further?

Zhu Jiangming: After the extended range was launched, the sales of the pure electric C11 did not decrease but instead increased. This is what we call "1+1>2". The extended range did not bring down the sales of the pure electric version.

With a range of 200 kilometers, others consider it as a top configuration, but for us, it is the standard configuration because we believe that an electric vehicle should have at least 200km of range to truly bring value to users.

Even our entry-level products have L2 intelligent driving and Qualcomm 8155 main control chips. Considering the entry price of 145,800 yuan, it is already very competitive.

Question: Many competitors are also developing super extended range systems. What advantages does Zeropao's system have compared to competitors?

Zhu Jiangming: In fact, our technology is relatively "simple" compared to theirs, which is more complex. The cost increase, complexity increase, and reliability decrease brought by their technology are not worth it. The only advantage of using shifting and transmission is slightly better fuel efficiency at high speeds, but most users mainly use electricity.

Zeropao invests more money in batteries, addressing users' range anxiety. We hope that with the same price, we can provide larger batteries and more configurations. This is the core concept of Zeropao's super extended range.

Question: Recently, automakers have started a new round of price reductions, and the high-end version of Zeropao has also been reduced by one or two thousand yuan. How will the price adjustment affect new orders and Zeropao's gross profit? Is there an estimate of the breakeven point in terms of finance? 朱江明: We have indeed reduced the prices of some high-end models, and for these high-end models, sales have indeed increased. Previously, high-end models were not very popular, but now they are gradually gaining popularity.

As the end of the third quarter approaches, I cannot disclose specific numbers, but it is true that each quarter has been better than the previous one. As for profitability, we strive to achieve overall profitability for the company through our efforts next year, by 2025.

Question: What is the market growth potential for plug-in hybrid vehicles in the first half of this year? Will there be any new developments in large cylindrical batteries?

朱江明: I believe that plug-in hybrids will continue to experience rapid growth in the next 2-3 years. As lithium prices decrease in the future, the growth rate and market share of pure electric vehicles will be better realized.

Currently, I do not see a great future for cylindrical batteries. Square batteries are still the main focus.

Question: At the Munich Motor Show, you mentioned that ZEAL hopes to take a different path. Do you have a detailed plan in this regard?

朱江明: We have launched products at the motor show, and there are ongoing technological collaborations. Many projects are underway, mainly in the electronic and motor architecture of the entire vehicle, including the cloverleaf's central domain control electronic and motor architecture. Many partners are very interested in these collaborations, and they will be announced in the near future.

In the future, China's new energy vehicles will have more collaborations with external partners, exporting certain technologies, joint ventures, or collaborations in components. I believe this is the most realistic direction.