Commercial Geography of China’s New Energy Vehicle Cities|Tianjin: An old auto industrial city is waiting

Although Tianjin has not yet found a high-quality target in this round of new energy vehicle investment. But it still has ambitions to promote the development of the new energy vehicle industry.

Text | Zuo Maoxuan

Tianjin is one of the earliest cities in China to develop the automobile industry. As early as the 1980s, Tianjin Automobile Industry, one of the “Three Three Smalls”, once swept the streets of China with its economical car, the Tianjin Xiali.

In 2002, FAW Group and Tianqi Group signed a restructuring agreement. Tianjin has become an important base of FAW Group in North China, and Xiali has also been incorporated into FAW’s own brand system. From the current point of view, relying on the joint venture car companies represented by FAW Toyota and FAW-Volkswagen, coupled with the introduction of Great Wall Motor Tianjin Branch in 2009, covering the supporting supply chain serving them is the foundation of Tianjin’s automobile industry. .

However, with Xiali going bankrupt, the weakness of the independent sector has become the main bottleneck for the development of Tianjin’s auto industry.

In the field of new energy vehicles, the enthusiasm of foreign auto companies is generally less than that of autonomous vehicles, which has also led to the development of Tianjin’s auto industry in the past period of time.

In fact, Tianjin had hoped to introduce start-up new energy vehicle companies to promote the transformation and upgrading of the local auto industry. It’s just that projects such as National Energy, Byton, and Bojun are not going well.

However, Tianjin still has high hopes for promoting the development of the new energy vehicle industry.

In May 2021, the Tianjin Bureau of Industry and Information Technology issued the “Three-Year Action Plan for the Construction of a Strong Manufacturing City in Tianjin”.

In the automotive industry, the document requires that the construction of key projects such as FAW Toyota New Energy Vehicle, FAW-Volkswagen New Energy Vehicle, Evergrande New Energy Vehicle, and FAW Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) 1.5L engine should be vigorously promoted. Actively introduce new vehicle projects, and develop key components such as power batteries and management systems, drive motors and power electronics, and increase the local matching rate.

Intelligent Connected Vehicles Accelerate the construction of the Tianjin (Xiqing) National Vehicle Network Pilot Zone Phase I Intelligent Infrastructure Application Platform, Tianjin Port Unmanned Electric Truck Application and other projects, to create a national highland for the development of new energy vehicles and intelligent connected vehicles.

In addition, Tianjin also plans to promote the construction of key projects such as the expansion of Lishen’s 10-gigawatt-hour power battery, the high-efficiency solar cell slices of Huanou Semiconductor, and the second phase of the Aixu solar cell base, to create a domestic first-class power battery industry cluster.

The goal of the action plan is that by 2023, the scale of the auto industry will reach 290 billion yuan, with an average annual growth of 8%.

This old industrial city is still waiting for a turnaround.

The introduction of new energy projects has twists and turns

In fact, Tianjin is one of the earliest cities in China that has begun to introduce new car-making power projects and has a positive attitude.

As early as June 2015, Guoneng Automobile was registered and established in Tianjin Binhai High-tech Zone, with a total investment of 4.2 billion yuan. The planned production capacity is 220,000 vehicles, of which the first phase of the project started construction in October 2015, with an annual production capacity of 50,000 vehicles.

Guoneng Electric Vehicle Sweden Co., Ltd. (NEVS), the parent company of Guoneng Automobile, acquired the Swedish Saab Automobile Company with a history of nearly 75 years in 2012, and launched a new brand “NEVS” to replace the SAAB brand. After a period of dormancy, Jiang Dalong, the trader of Guoneng Automobile, bet on new energy vehicles.

In February 2017, Guoneng New Energy Project (also known as NEVS) was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission for the qualification of new pure electric vehicle manufacturing. At the end of the year, the first electric vehicle “NEVS 9-3EV” developed based on the Phoenix New Energy Vehicle Platform officially rolled off the production line.

However, due to product development and funding issues, Guoneng Automobile failed to persist until the launch of mass-produced vehicles. Jiang Dalong began to look for a next home. Hengda, which was aggressively attacking the field of new energy vehicles at that time, took over.

On January 15, 2019, Evergrande Health announced that the company acquired a 51% stake in NEVS for US$930 million and obtained the majority of the board of directors, and then injected additional capital into Guoneng Automobile. Subsequently, on June 10 of that year, Evergrande Health issued another announcement that Mini Minor, the holding company of NEVS, entered into an equity sale and purchase agreement with National Modern to acquire a 17.6% stake in NEVS sold by National Modern for a total price of US$379 million. Before the acquisition, NEVS was an 82.4% subsidiary of Evergrande Health. After the acquisition, NEVS will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mini Minor. So far, Jiang Dalong has completely withdrawn from NEVS and has no more shares.

However, the current prospects of Evergrande are unclear, and whether the NEVS, a new energy vehicle project that has lasted for many years, can continue to advance, there are great variables.

In addition to Guoneng, Tianjin High-tech Zone also introduced iconic in 2016. This car company that only launched a high-end MPV model made a high-profile debut in Dubai in 2018, but in recent years, it has gradually disappeared from the outside world. inside.

In addition, when FAW Xiali was on the verge of bankruptcy, it also had contact with a number of new car manufacturers.

In July 2018, FAW Xiali transferred 100% equity and debt of Tianjin FAW Huali Automobile Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary, to Byton Motors at a price of 1 yuan.

In November 2019, FAW Xiali and Bordrin established a joint venture. Nanjing Bojun invested 2.034 billion yuan in cash, with a shareholding ratio of 80.1%.

However, Bo County, which is already weak in strength, will face a crisis in its capital chain in 2020, and there are news that employees are owed wages and financing is blocked. Bordrin is unable to inject capital into the joint venture. In August 2020, the shareholders’ meeting of Tianjin Bojun decided to suspend production and business from August 1, 2020 (with a period of 3 months), and relevant parties are looking for new investors.

The latest news is that Bojun Automobile plans to transfer its 80.1% stake in Tianjin Bojun to Tianjin Shengguo Enterprise Management Co., Ltd., a state-owned enterprise in Tianjin, for 1.5 million yuan, but the industrial and commercial registration has not been changed. Previously, it was rumored that Alte, a leading domestic auto design company, was not successful in taking over.

In addition to complete vehicles, Lishen, a local power battery supplier in Tianjin, has also encountered development bottlenecks in recent years, and its market share has gradually declined.

After several twists and turns, Tianjin has not been able to find high-quality targets in this round of new energy vehicle investment. In addition to promoting the transformation of two key joint ventures into the field of new energy vehicles, whether several start-ups can have a new turnaround is a question for Tianjin. Tough problems to be solved in the development of the automobile industry.

The coverage rate of new energy dealers ranks first in the country

As one of the cities where the purchase of fuel vehicles is restricted, Tianjin’s automobile consumption capacity and potential are at the forefront of the country. In promoting the use of new energy vehicles, it is also at the forefront of the country due to the dual blessings promoted by the fuel vehicle purchase restriction policy and the new energy vehicle policy.

In recent years, the Tianjin Municipal Government has continued to introduce new energy vehicles to promote consumption. It not only includes making good use of the subsidies for the purchase of new energy vehicles and subsidies for charging facilities, but also increasing support for areas such as public charging piles in the community. Encourage new or updated taxis (cruising cars, online car-hailing), public transport, sanitation, urban logistics and distribution (connected to urban distribution platforms) and other fields to use new energy vehicles.

In terms of use, Tianjin has also made it clear that in 2022, the focus will be on residential areas, expressway service areas, national and provincial trunk lines and rural roads, as well as logistics distribution centers and densely populated areas such as logistics parks, industrial parks, large commercial shopping centers, and farmers’ wholesale markets. Equipped with charging infrastructure, continuously weaving a dense charging service network. It is planned to add more than 3,000 charging facilities of various types throughout the year.

As of the end of June 2022, the total number of automobiles in Tianjin is about 3.72 million, which is comparable to that of cities such as Shenzhen and Hangzhou. The number of cars per thousand people in Tianjin is 271, which is slightly lower than that of Beijing and other cities, but higher than the national average.

The number of new energy vehicles in Tianjin has reached 316,000, and the number of new energy vehicles per thousand people is 23. Although it is lower than Beijing, Shanghai and other cities, it is much higher than the national average (7).

According to the data analysis of the Autohome platform, Tianjin’s new energy consumption concern index is 0.86, and Tianjin users’ attention to new energy vehicle consumption is “relatively concerned”, although not as high as Hangzhou, Zhengzhou, Suzhou and other cities, but higher than Beijing, Jinan and other cities ; The new energy consumption purchase index is 0.70, and the new energy purchase preference is at an upper-middle level.

In the first half of this year, Tianjin’s sales of new energy passenger vehicles were 41,000, a year-on-year increase of 54%. It should be pointed out that although the sales growth rate of new energy vehicles in Tianjin is lower than the national level, the penetration rate of new energy vehicles in Tianjin has reached 28%, which is a significant increase from the penetration rate of 15% in the same period in 2021, and is higher than the national 22%. the permeability level.

In Tianjin’s new energy vehicle consumption market, Chinese brands and new power brands are the main ones, accounting for 88% of the total.

It is particularly worth mentioning that the sales concentration of new energy vehicles in the Tianjin market is very high.

In the first half of the year, BYD sold 14,000 new energy vehicles in Tianjin, accounting for a third of the market. The respective sales of other brands are less than 5,000 units.

From the perspective of models, Tianjin’s new energy users prefer SUVs, accounting for 45%, which is higher than the national level. In terms of market segments, Tianjin users prefer compact sedans and SUVs, accounting for more than 40% in total; meanwhile, the proportion of small cars and small SUVs is also higher than that of the whole country.

It should be pointed out that the consumption atmosphere of new energy vehicles in Tianjin is good, and it is inseparable from the support of sales channels. The establishment of new energy vehicle sales channels in Tianjin is extremely complete.

According to the statistics of auto home dealer information, there are 392 dealers in Tianjin; among them, the penetration rate of new energy dealers is 96%, and the coverage rate of new energy dealers ranks first in the country.