Reports surfaced on November 2 claiming that Xiaomi‘s vehicle manufacturing project has been called to a stop. In response, the Chinese consumer tech giant stated that its automotive business is progressing smoothly and that it does not address rumors.
Xiaomi has attached great importance to its automaking business. CEO Lei Jun is directly leading the division, which has received substantial investment from the company. As early as February 2021, when Xiaomi officially announced the start of its car manufacturing goals, it stated that 10 billion yuan would be invested in the first phase, and that investment throughout the next 10 years would total $10 billion.
In terms of key personnel, Zhou Xing, the former deputy general manager of the Wuling Business Department under SAIC-GM-Wuling, has joined Xiaomi as head of marketing. Xiaomi Auto also hired Hu Zhengnan, the former president of Geely Research Institute, and Yu Liguo, the former head of strategic planning at BAIC Group.
In August, Lei Jun announced that Xiaomi‘s automated driving technology had entered the testing stage, also releasing a video showing road tests, displaying its automated driving algorithms and ability to deal with different situations. Lei also stated at that time that 140 test vehicles were planned for the first phase of Xiaomi automated driving technology, which will be tested nationwide. The company aims to become one of the leading players in the auto industry by 2024.
On September 19, Lei expressed his views on social media regarding Xiaomi‘s automaking business, writing, “In fact, before we entered the EV market, we conducted thorough research and gained deep insights into the EV industry. The essence of the auto industry will evolve from mechanics to consumer electronics, where market share is highly concentrated among the top players.”
At the end of September, Lei revealed in an internal speech that the first engineering vehicle of Xiaomi had rolled off the assembly line. A prominent user of Chinese leading investor community Snowball Finance posted that Xiaomi‘s first engineering prototype car had been completed on September 28. The blogger said that the next important step for Xiaomi Auto will be the completion of its automobile factory by the end of the year. Leaked information also suggests that the first car from Xiaomi is internally codenamed the “MS11,” and that it will be equipped with 800V technology and a 260kW bridge circuit. It is expected to officially enter mass production in January 2024.