Young Chinese EV brand ZEEKR is looking to significantly expand its sales and global footprint in 2023, according to an internal letter outlining several of the Geely-owned marque’s goals. In addition to introducing two new EV models this year, ZEEKR is planning to enter key markets in Europe. It makes us wonder if the US could soon be next.
Having only been founded in 2021, ZEEKR remains a young luxury EV automotive brand in China existing under the Geely umbrella. Sales so far have only included the brand’s first EV model called the 001.
It will be followed by a multipurpose vehicle (MPV) called the 009, which ZEEKR just began rolling off its assembly lines in China earlier this month. After reporting promising quarterly numbers midway through 2022, ZEEKR announced it had capped off the fiscal year above its sales target of 70,000 units.
Looking ahead to 2023, the young automaker looks to double those numbers on the wings of two new EVs in addition to the two mentioned above. Furthermore, ZEEKR appears to be making good on its promise to enter Europe sooner rather than later. Here’s the latest.
Peek at ZEEKR’s new EV, plus plans for Europe – is the US next?
According to an internal letter to staff obtained by CnEVPost, ZEEKR CEO Andy An believes China’s EV market will be especially competitive in 2023. To face these impending challenges in the industry, An laid out five key tasks for the ZEEKR team, including entry into Europe and 140,000 EVs deliveries. Per An’s letter:
The 140,000-unit delivery goal will be a hard battle, and we have to accomplish that mission.
A huge factor in doubling its deliveries compared to 2022 will be the two new EVs ZEEKR has planned, one of which can be seen above, thanks to images obtained by CnEVPost. The original post said ZEEKR is using the code-name BX1E for its third EV model and speculated that it could be named the 003. However, Geely senior vice president, Yang Xueliang, took to Weibo to confirm this is, in fact, ZEEKR’s third EV but that it will not necessarily be named the 003.
BX1E has not yet been registered with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s vehicle catalog, but the EV is expected to make its debut at the Shanghai Auto Show this April. Another task in trying to stand out among the competition this year will be bolstering intelligence technology, including smart cockpits and driving assistance.
According to An:
This year, our continued high investment in R&D will enter a period of bearing fruit and teams will have to accelerate to get the technology into application.
An’s fourth task is ZEEKR’s strategy for entering Europe. An did not specifically mention where ZEEKR’s invasion of Europe will begin but did state the brand intends to “create value in the world’s most mature automotive markets.” Germany stands out as a mature market in the EU, but smaller more EV-centric countries where other Chinese automakers have begun sales make sense as well. This includes territories like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
This move to Europe is something we’ve been anticipating for quite some time now, considering ZEEKR said as much in January of 2022 during the launch of the 001 sedan. At the time, ZEEKR said it expects its total overseas exports (Europe and beyond) to reach 100,000 vehicles by 2025 alongside seven branded EV models by that same time.
Parent company Geely has even bigger plans for ZEEKR, previously stating it expects the luxury EV brand to contribute approximately 650,000 units to its annual sales every year by 2025.
We probably won’t see it in 2023, but with ZEEKR’s quick sales growth and expansion to Europe imminent, entry into North America feels like a natural next step. An even hinted at it back in early 2022 as well:
North America is in our plan for the next step. That will happen after 2022.
Since then, ZEEKR has confidentially filed for an IPO on the US stock market, seeking a valuation over $10 billion. It could go public as early as Q2 of this year, so that will be something to keep an eye on.
Last but not least, An’s fifth task for ZEEKR employees is to optimize internal management, optimizing for efficiency in order to transcend the automaker from “sloppy growth to high-quality development.”
We will keep eyes on ZEEKR as we approach the Shanghai Auto Show and its pending entry into Europe. More is sure to come as 2023 is making to be a crucial year for EV companies like this one.