The Li ONE, the first model produced by Chinese new energy carmaker Li Auto, has now reached about 200,000 units in sales volume since its first delivery in December 2019. In July and August of this year, the model sold for a total of 14,993 units. However, the firm delivered only 4,571 Li Ones in August. At the beginning of this month, it announced it would stop production of the model as it prepares to launch an updated version named the Li L8, accompanied by a price reduction promotion. This series of moves angered many Li ONE consumers who had just bought the car at the original price.
Some car owners said that the sudden halt of the Li ONE’s production made them worry about subsequent upgrades, auto parts maintenance, used car second-hand deals and other issues. Many Li ONE owners went to the firm’s offline delivery centers to express their opinions, but they didn’t get a solution – just registered their worries. The firm customer service staff replied that consumers should wait for processing and that the firm will solve it as soon as possible. It is also offering 3,000-yuan ($427) fuel cards to compensate the car owners. However, this is far from meeting their demands, and the long delay has made people feel even more dissatisfied.
Some other car owners expressed the hope that Li Auto would apologize publicly, promising that after the Li ONE stopped production, the maintenance auto parts would not see significant price increases. They contend that the firm should continue chip and software upgrades, and improve the warranty period of the whole vehicle and the battery, motor and electric control systems. Besides, reasonable compensation should be made to new users, and written commitment details should be provided, they argue.
Li Auto previously responded Sohu Tech, affirming that the company had set up a special team to solve users’ problems. However, it has not made any further comment at present, except for the explanation of after-sales guarantee and upgrade service released on September 3.
On a Chinese online complaint platform, there are many people calling Li Auto‘s behavior “cheating,” most of whom are car owners who have just bought a Li ONE in recent months. According to the platform, the cumulative number of complaints about Li Auto in the past 30 days exceeded 2,200, and there was only one processed complaint.
While embattled in consumer complaints, Shen Yanan, President of Li Auto, initiated a reduction of his shares in the company. Since September, he has sold 1 million shares and cashed out $13.16 million.
Shen is not the only senior Li Auto executive to reduce shares significantly this year. As a Li Auto non-executive director and investor, Wang Xing, the co-founder of Meituan, reduced his holdings by over 1.18 million shares at the end of March this year, cashing out nearly 180 million yuan ($25.7 million), and dropping his shareholding ratio to 22.82%.
It is worth mentioning that on September 15, the firm’s legal team opened an official social media account, releasing its first post the next day, in which it initiated judicial proceedings against the rumors made by a supplier’s employee that the auto firm asked for lower quality inspection standards during production. According to public information, however, there have been many product quality discussions about Li Auto in China since 2020.