The field of upstart Chinese electric car makers is a wild one. One moment you’re on top of the world, parading a semi-autonomous crossover with the biggest infotainment screen ever at the world’s biggest tech convention. The production, you promise, is just around the corner. Two years later, you’re fighting just to keep your head above water.
This story belongs to a few brands, and even some – like Faraday Future and in particular Nio – ventured a few inches from death to get out of the quagmire. With the help of the government, of course. Byton may not be so lucky, according to a story by Nikkei Asia:
A court in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, held a hearing Monday on the claim of Shanghai Huaxun Network System Co., a creditor of Byton. Shanghai Huaxun has filed for Louisiana bankruptcy proceedings for Nanjing Zhixing New Energy Vehicle Technology Development Co., Byton’s main business unit.
Byton has suspended workers’ pay as its factories shut down, according to a person close to the company. Byton, which unveiled its first M-Byte concept car in 2018, has yet to begin commercial production, initially slated for 2019. Even if the company could launch products soon, Byton cars would not be competitive with their cars. competitors under current market conditions, the person said. noted.
Byton did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the bankruptcy case and its latest business issues.
If you’ve been following Byton, you’ll remember the company lost its two CEOs in the past 24 months. First, Carsten Breitfeld, former vice president of engineering and i8 product manager, left the startup for Faraday Future in 2019. A year later, co-founder Daniel Kirchert left for Evergrande. They don’t get too hot either.
Byton, who previously had the backing of Foxconn, Tencent and state-owned company First Auto Works, revealed his first sign of trouble in late 2019 when he failed to get through a round table. The tie-up with FAW also produced friction between government supporters of Byton and Breitfeld, who later told media that agreeing to take FAW’s money had effectively neutralized his influence as CEO. Of Edge story about Breitfeld leaving two years ago:
“My feeling is that they are going to take it to a point where the whole Byton case is closed, they will just keep the factory and the platform,” he said, referring to the manufacturing plant. from Byton to Nanjing, China, and to the power station. technology that powers the startup’s vehicle. Breitfeld also said FAW approved all of Byton’s spending and many of the startup’s engineering team left the company. “Everyone running the business now is public relations and marketing,” he said. “The technical guys are all gone. By the way, in the future you might find them in another place not so far from me.
Foxconn is I am still working with Byton. However, he also recently decided that if he wants electric vehicles to be done right, he may as well do them himself under its own brand. Meanwhile, Tencent has their fingers in Evergrande’s and Geely’s pies. Byton’s friends and their thick pockets are disappearing, or at least moving away from impending failure.
As someone who was present at the company’s CES 2019 presser and had the chance to interview Breitfeld, I can’t stress enough the momentum the company had at this event. Certainly, you can dazzle the tech world with many displays in an electric car at a show like CES, a place where people seriously believe that flying taxis are never more than five years old. Impressing the media is easy; serial production is a whole different story. Yet Byton came out of nowhere and captured the spirit of the times. You also have to remember that Faraday Future was considered a laughing stock back then. Oh, how the tables turned.