Li Auto has been rumored several times since early April to be building a second factory in Beijing, and while the company has never confirmed it, the latest job postings seem to prove those rumors are reliable.
The Chinese electric car company has posted hundreds of positions on its website for jobs in Beijing's Shunyi district, with about 40 of them marked as "urgent.
The most notable of these positions are "Plant Manager of Beijing Manufacturing Base" and "Senior Manager of Beijing Plant Project Management.
In the job description for the plant manager, Li Auto requires candidates to have more than 10 years of experience working for a car company and to be fully responsible for the planning, construction, commissioning, operation and management of the new plant.
The senior manager will be responsible for the project management, site operations and installation construction of the new site.
This move means that Li Auto's Beijing factory may have been set in Shunyi District, Beijing, and the planning and construction of the new factory is already on the agenda.
Li Auto currently sells only one model, the Li ONE, which is produced at the company's manufacturing base in Changzhou City, Jiangsu Province in eastern China.
The plant, completed in 2019, covers a total area of 750 acres.
During Li Auto's first-quarter earnings call on May 26, the company's president Shen Yanan said the Changzhou plant currently has a daily production capacity of up to 500 vehicles at two shifts.
However, it is currently unable to reach the capacity due to chip shortage, and the monthly capacity is expected to exceed 10,000 units in September, Shen said.
According to its earnings report, the new workshop of Li Auto's Changzhou plant is expected to be completed in 2022, when the annual production capacity will be increased to 200,000 vehicles.
But Li Auto has previously said it aims to sell 1.6 million units by 2025, and even if the new plant in Changzhou is completed, it will fall far short of that goal.
Therefore, it is imperative that Li Auto further expand its production capacity by acquiring a new plant on top of these capacities.
On April 2, local media iautodaily.com, citing sources familiar with the matter, said Li Auto is planning to build a second plant, most likely in Beijing, where the company is headquartered.
The report said that it did not receive a completely positive answer after multiple inquiries, but "all indications are that Li Auto will take a new strategic step."
On May 27, auto-time cited sources familiar with the matter as saying that Li Auto will take over the first Hyundai plant, which has been shut down for two years, as the second plant in addition to the Changzhou plant.
"There have been frequent visits from Li Auto staff to the No. 1 Hyundai plant recently," the report said, citing an employee of the plant.
The employee said the plant's production equipment has largely aged and "will be dismantled and handed over by the end of the year, and the only few employees now at the plant will move out at the end of June."
The report cites another source with knowledge of the matter as saying that Li Auto's global flagship plant will be located in Beijing's Shunyi District, based on the original Hyundai plant and land resources.
The plant, with a total investment of RMB 6 billion, will be used for research and development of vehicles, core components, autonomous driving, and other key technologies, the person said.
The plant will be staffed with more than 2,000 talents including autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, big data, and industrial internet, the report said, adding that the project is scheduled to go into operation in 2023 and reach an industrial output of RMB 30 billion in 2024.