SHANGHAI -- At the Shanghai Auto Show in April, the booth for China Evergrande Group's new energy vehicle unit was hard to miss.
One of the largest exhibitions at the event, in a prime spot opposite BMW, the property developer-backed unit showed off nine concept vehicles under the "Hengchi" brand, which translates to "eternally speeding."
"There has never been a car company that has been able to deliver such a diversified product line in such a short amount of time," Daniel Kirchert, who joined Evergrande NEV days before the auto show as vice president, told industry executives and reporters in a speech at the event.
Analysts and industry executives say there have long been questions about how Evergrande NEV, founded in 2019, would meet its ambitious goals - chairman Hui Ka Yan had declared that it wanted to sell one million EVs a year by 2025, a level Tesla Inc. is only expected to hit this year after 18 years of operation.
Six months after the auto show, the doubts are stronger than ever as the company's parent wrestles with more than $300 billion in liabilities.
"Those targets would be really aggressive, nearly impossible to achieve even for established, well-managed automotive companies because of the capital and human resources required to even attempt executing on the plan," said Tu Le, an auto analyst at Sino Auto Insights.
Between 2019 to 2021, Evergrande's NEV arm raised more than 50 billion yuan ($7.78 billion) from its parent, as well as investors such as Sequoia Capital China, ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. and Alibaba-linked fund Yunfeng Capital.
It has announced 14 models and plans to have 10 factories across China and Sweden. So far, it has built or is constructing six, including one in Shanghai. A recent Reuters visit there found about 20 Hengchi EVs for testing parked outside. But the company has yet to reveal a production model or sell a single vehicle.
In comparison, Nio and Xpeng, two of China's most successful NEV startups by sales, struggled to raise money in their early years, and raised a combined $7.3 billion through stock market listings and pre-IPO fundraising.
Nio has four models and is building its second factory. Xpeng has three and is expanding production sites to four from current two. Tesla sells four models and has two vehicle assembly plants in operation worldwide, with two more coming on line in Germany and Texas, a U.S. state.
Evergrande NEV did not immediately respond to a request for comment.