The year 2019 ended with a bang for the Chinese auto industry.
Tesla began deliveries of locally produced Model 3s to employees on December 30, just 357 days after its wholly-owned Gigafactory Shanghai broke ground. The same day, leading Chinese smart EV startup NIO reported better than expected Q3 2019 financial results and its stock soared, following a roller coaster year. The next day, Chang’an announced that it had sold its 50 percent stake in Chang’an PSA to Baoneng Group, a relatively new entrant to the automotive game.
Those were just three of the countless news events of blockbuster proportions that took place in what was another memorable year for the industry.
And also somewhat of a somber year.
Auto sales will fall for an unprecedented second year in a row, and NEV sales will likely fall for the first time ever. All three industry forces – traditional foreign automakers, traditional Chinese automakers and Chinese smart EV startups – had their share of ups and downs, with quite a few companies in serious trouble.
Calling it a difficult year would be an understatement.
For those that remain, the name of the game is still survival of the fittest, fastest and most adaptable, because the industry is moving at a fast and furious pace toward connectivity, autonomous driving, shared mobility and electrification, or CASE. Companies are coming together more than ever, and they are transforming faster than ever. You can’t do everything alone, as they say, and if you are not a part of some ecosystem, your chances of survival are slim. New brands continue to emerge, while others disappear. New alliances continue to form, while others split. The auto industry continues to morph into a new mobility ecosystem with new forces coming from almost everywhere else.
The only thing that hasn’t changed is change itself, and all for the better.
That’s why I believe the Chinese auto industry is entering the best of times in its history as we go into the 2020s: it only gets more exciting as the country continues to lead the transformation of the global auto industry.
We at China Automotive Review feel lucky to be witnessing this transformation never before seen in the industry, and will continue to provide the “wheels behind the wheels” reporting, views, perspectives and analysis of the Chinese auto industry in 2020 and beyond.
I wish you and your family happiness, prosperity and most importantly, health, in 2020 and beyond.
And to borrow a line from the theme of NIO Day 2019: believe in better!