Liao Bing, founder and former CEO of Chinese automaker GAC , has launched a new energy vehicle brand, "Ziyou Auto", which literally means "Free Auto".

The company held a signing ceremony today with Henan Senyuan Group and Beijing Xin Ding Capital to jointly launch the brand.

Ziyou Auto is a new energy smart car team led by Liao Bing, the former CEO of GAC NIO, whose core team has proven experience in new energy smart car projects, the company said.

Liao posted on Weibo on January 25 that he had resigned as CEO of GAC NIO and all executive positions at its subsidiaries and affiliates on January 22, but did not disclose his future destination.

Liao previously worked in R&D, quality, strategy, and management at GAC Honda, GAC Parts, GAC FCA, and GAC Research Institute, and was an assistant of the director of GAC Research Institute before founding GAC NIO.

GAC NIO was established on April 10, 2018, with GAC Group and GAC New Energy each holding 22.5 percent of shares, NIO Auto and NIO Fund each holding 22.5percent of shares, and the remaining 10% of shares held by the founding team.

GAC Group announced on January 5 that it agreed to increase the capital of GAC NIO by introducing strategic investors, totaling approximately RMB 2.405 billion ($370 million).

GAC Group, through its wholly-owned subsidiary , has increased its capital to GAC NIO by approximately RMB 482 million, and Guangdong Pearl River Investment has increased GAC NIO's capital as a strategic investor by approximately RMB 1.923 billion.

After the completion of the capital increase, GAC Group and its wholly-owned subsidiary GAC Aion hold a total of 25 percent equity interest in GAC NIO.

Before receiving this financing, GAC NIO's financing progress was stuck in the angel round.

In 2019, GAC NIO launched its first product, the HYCAN 007, which was launched with the expectation of "15,000 units by 2020". However, when it began deliveries, GAC NIO lowered its forecast to 5,000 to 10,000 units.

In the first 11 months of 2020, the cumulative sales of HYCAN 007 were only 631 units, of which only 3 units were sold in November 2020.

GAC NIO CEO Liao Bing says he has formally resigned

(Source: Liao Bing's Weibo)