It’s not the best known of China’s U.S.-listed electric car upstarts, but Li Auto Inc. has lofty ambitions -- an audacious target of conquering 20 percent of the world’s biggest EV market, or selling two million vehicles a year, by 2025.
To get there will require the Beijing-based maker of luxury crossover EVs to go where no automaker, let alone a startup, has gone before.
“We’re very serious about this 20 percent and we’re building everything around the target,” President Kevin Shen said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. That includes shoring up the carmaker’s supply chain, developing a more comprehensive vehicle lineup, boosting manufacturing capacity and accessing more funding.
It would seem a challenging goal for the seven-year-old upstart, which only launched its second model last month -- a premium utility vehicle -- and delivered around 60,000 cars in the first half of 2022.
Li Auto will have to surge past China’s No. 1 new-energy vehicle maker BYD Co., which shipped around 584,000 cleaner cars last year. It will also have to outgun SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., whose $5,000 pint-sized EV is a mass-market winner, and Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc., which sold about 320,000 vehicles in the country in 2021.
Tiny Li Auto would even have to top the world’s best-selling carmaker, Toyota Motor Corp., which delivered 1.94 million automobiles in China last year. “That’s why releasing more new products into the market is important,” said Shen, who is also Li Auto’s co-founder.