Currently reading: Chinese EV brand Aiways moves to Germany to escape price war
Firm also plans to raise capital through a stock market floatation and launch a new entry-level crossover

Chinese EV maker Aiways is preparing to formally exit its home market and focus its global operations on Europe, with an expansion of its European headquarters in Germany and plans to introduce a new entry-level crossover.

Sources close to Aiways say the major change in the firm's global strategy comes as it gears up to go public with a listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange, via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (spac) by the end of 2024.

“The centre of Aiways global sales operations will switch to Europe, and more specifically Germany, following the listing. There are no plans to remain in the Chinese market, due to the intense pricing pressure and competition there,” a source told Autocar.

The management structure of Aiways is expected to remain unchanged following the listing, with CEO Hugo Zhu set to drive the company's further development and increased focus on its overseas business activities. He will be supported by Alexander Klose, who heads up Aiways’ overseas operations and is managing director of its European division.

The Nasdaq listing is planned to provide Aiways with vital new capital following original investment from Chinese technology giant Tencent, automotive battery maker CATL and ride-hailing provider Didi.

Production of the seven-year-old firm's U5 and U6 EVs is set to resume at its factory in Shanghrao in the second half of 2024 after it was idled for close to 12 months due to slowing sales and a lack of sufficient capital to cover operating expenses and development costs.

“Aiways’ future sales will be via export from China,” added Autocar's source. “Plans are to resume European sales in early 2025.”

Among the key markets targeted by Aiways are Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. Prior to its current financial difficulties, it was represented in 16 European markets.

Together with the European market, Aiways also plans to expand its sales presence in the Middle East, and Autocar understands there are still plans for right-hand-drive production for entry into the UK.

As well as making Europe the focal point of global sales, Aiways is working on a new entry-level crossover as part of a new five-year model expansion and global sales consolidation plan that's expected to culminate in it entering the US market by 2030.

“We need to offer more affordable models to drive volume in more markets,” said Autocar's source.

The intensifying EV price reductions in the Chinese market has recently led to a number of car makers suspending production and seeking investment.

Aiways is among a group of Chinese EV start-ups, including Weltmeister and HiPhi parent company Human Horizons, to have run into financial difficulties recently due to a capital drain in the ramp-up of production and establishment of global sales operations.

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Its initial public offering is planned to come just a week after Geely-owned brand Zeekr listed on the Nasdaq.

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