Ms. Wang will be responsible for XPeng's product planning, portfolio management and sales operations, reporting to the company's chairman and CEO, He Xiaopeng.
(Wang Fengying. Image from Great Wall Motor's Weibo)
XPeng (NYSE: XPEV) is welcoming a Chinese auto industry veteran to one of its top positions after rumors began to emerge earlier this month.
The Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker announced today that Wang Fengying, who had served as president of Great Wall Motor, has been named president of XPeng, effective January 30, 2023.
Ms. Wang will be responsible for XPeng's product planning, portfolio management, and sales operations, reporting to the company's chairman and CEO, He Xiaopeng.
XPeng has high expectations for Ms. Wang, and this is what Mr. He had to say about her joining the company:
Ms. Wang brings to us over 30 years of experience in the automotive industry, spanning roles in sales, strategy and senior management.
Her leadership and expertise have been instrumental in driving the development of some of the most successful auto products, earning her remarkable industry recognition.
We look forward to working with Ms. Wang to further elevate our product portfolio, leveraging her distinguished experience and deep industry knowledge to accelerate the smart EV transition.
We are committed to implementing our smart EV strategy, and are confident that an elite talent like Ms. Wang will be a valuable addition to our leadership and management teams as we strive towards our long-term goals.
In a research note sent to investors today, Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu's team said their initial read leans slightly positive because she will bring more practical changes that emphasize product positioning and sales.
This could help XPeng win back more volume share, and recent changes in strategy seemingly already reflect her influence, the team said.
Ms. Wang graduated from the Tianjin Institute of Finance in 1999 and obtained a master's degree in economics.
Prior to joining XPeng, Ms. Wang worked at Great Wall Motor for over 30 years, starting from front-line sales and advancing to various leadership positions, including vice chairman and general manager.
For XPeng, Ms. Wang's joining is the most significant hire the EV company, founded in 2014, has made in years, as it struggled with weak deliveries for the past few months.
XPeng saw deliveries plummet in the second half of last year, with fewer than 6,000 units in both October and November. The company's deliveries in December were back above 10,000 units at 11,292, but still down 29 percent from a year ago.
The company has high hopes for this year, hoping to turn around its sales performance with a slew of new model launches.
XPeng will launch two new models in 2023 and revamp three existing older models with a goal of delivering 200,000 vehicles for the year, Mr. He said in an internal all-staff letter on January 28, local media LatePost reported in a January 28 story.
On January 11, local media reported that Ms. Wang will replace Mr. He as CEO of XPeng.
In a response sent to CnEVPost, XPeng did not deny the report, but stressed that the company will continue to grow under Mr. He's overall leadership.
"We are always open and welcoming to the best talent in the industry to join XPeng. The company will continue to move forward under He Xiaopeng's leadership and Mr. He will remain the head of this company and that will not change," an XPeng spokesperson said.
XPeng has undergone organizational restructuring in the past few months to improve its previously overly centralized management, reduce communication costs and get closer to its users to understand their real needs. The addition of Ms. Wang appears to be the most important step in the process.
On November 30, XPeng announced in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange announcement that co-founder and president Henry Xia had resigned as an executive director from the company's board of directors.
The XPeng website currently shows the company's vice chairman Brian Gu as well as Xia as presidents.
Ms. Wang joined Great Wall Motor in 1991, became general manager of the company in November 2002, and became president in 2003.
She has seen the rise of Great Wall Motor and helped drive the company's SUV-focused strategy, and is seen in the industry as the No. 2 person at the company, behind chairman Wei Jianjun.
In July 2020, Great Wall Motor restructured its organization and introduced a rotating president system, and Ms. Wang began to gradually recede into the background.
China's new car makers initially built their products in the model of operating Internet companies, but automotive products are fundamentally different, and as they grow in size and have more products, these companies need to return to the car company model, some local media reports previously said.