As the founder and CEO of Chinese electric car company Li Auto, Li Xiang doesn't seem to shy away from praising the excellent products of his competitors.
The two best electric cars at this year's Shanghai auto show were the NIO ET7 and the Zeekr 001, Li said on Weibo Friday.
The ET7's design is sophisticated and confident, while the Zeekr 001 offers great value for money, according to Li. Zeekr is Geely's premium electric car brand.
This is a very large, elegant car. pic.twitter.com/ExoruPBTsF
— CnEVPost (@CnEVPost) April 19, 2021
While praising both EVs, Li said he was disappointed with the electric flagship cars of traditional luxury car brands - Mercedes-Benz's EQS and BMW's iX series - and that "many of the strange design and feature points are just incomprehensible."
NIO unveiled the interior of the ET7 at the Shanghai auto show, which began April 19, and its founder, chairman, and CEO William Li said manufacturing and testing of the ET7 are in full swing.
NIO ET7 designer talks about advantages of the model. pic.twitter.com/97Z7ZwhHEm
— CnEVPost (@CnEVPost) April 20, 2021
Li Auto's Li and NIO's Li seem to hold similar views on traditional luxury brands, with the latter also previously mentioning that competitive products are being launched in the second half of the year, including some older car brands, but in general, they are latecomers in the smart electric vehicle space and have a lot of work to do.
It's worth noting that Li Auto only had one vehicle on display at this year's Shanghai auto show, and it's the only model the company has for sale so far.
The Li ONE is a mid-size SUV with extended-range technology and has a unified retail price of RMB 328,000 ($50,500).
When Chinese consumers consider purchasing the Li ONE, it is often compared to the NIO ES6, an all-electric model with a starting price of RMB 358,000.
In 2022, Li Auto will also launch a full-size SUV, which is expected to be positioned and priced more closely to the NIO ES8.
Li Auto also plans to launch mid-size and compact SUVs in the future, when it will have more product overlap with the NIO.
Despite the competitive relationship between Li Auto and NIO, their helmsmen have a great personal relationship in private, and Li Auto's Li is one of NIO's angel investors.
Together with XPeng Motors CEO He Xiaopeng, they have worked together through the 2019 downturn in China's electric vehicle industry and often attend industry events together.
(From left to right: He Xiaopeng, William Li, Li Xiang. Source: He Xiaopeng's Weibo.)
At the end of April last year, NIO announced a strategic investment of RMB 7 billion from investors in Hefei which was key to the company's turnaround from its previous decline.
Just a month before finalizing the deal, NIO announced that as of December 31, 2019, the company had cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments of RMB 1.056 billion, which was insufficient to provide the working capital and liquidity required for ongoing operations over the next 12 months.
After NIO's financing was finalized, Li Auto's Li said, "Great, it's finally done."
He added at the time that while the auto market was large enough, it was also particularly difficult to navigate. "If only three of the hundreds of new car makers in China survive in the end, we're definitely trying to make ourselves one of them. We hope the surviving comrades around us are NIO and XPeng."