2023 Shanghai International Auto Show: WEY unveils DHT-PHEV for Gao Shan and Lan Shan models
The Gao Shan DHT-PHEV is WEY’s first MPV model, built on a new energy MPV-specific platform that can cover a variety of new energy power systems such as PHEV and BEV, with model sizes covering B, C, and D level MPV models.
The Lan Shan DHT-PHEV was launched on April 13th, with two configuration versions: a two-wheel-drive long-range version priced at 273,800 yuan, and a four-wheel-drive ultra-long-range version priced at 308,800 yuan.
At the auto show press conference, WEY CEO Chen Siying stated that “as of April 18th (Lan Shan), we have received more than 5,000 orders for this model, and the market’s enthusiasm for test drives and experiences far exceeds expectations.”
After the press conference, we had the opportunity to interview WEY CEO Chen Siying and Tank brand CEO and WEY brand Technical GM Liu Yanzhao on the importance of Lan Shan to WEY, pricing strategies, and WEY’s progress in city NOH development. The following is a summary of the interview.
Reporter: We were delighted to hear at the press conference this morning that the Lan Shan new car broke the 5,000 mark just a few days after its launch, which is a very positive indication. What does this result mean for WEY at present? What adjustments have we made or are preparing to make for these new models in terms of channel adaptation?
Chen Siying: Thank you very much. I was also very excited when I saw this result. It was a bit of a pleasant surprise for me personally, because over the past few years, WEY has gone through some twists and turns due to changes in products, users, markets, and competition. However, when WEY decided to switch lanes and enter the new energy track, I thought this was a good thing.
From the first appearance of Lan Shan at the 2022 Guangzhou Auto Show to systematic market dissemination in March, to receiving reservations starting on March 31st, and officially launching on April 13th, in a process which took about 4 to 5 months, Lan Shan has been gradually accepted by the market, and market enthusiasm has also been increasing.On the first weekend after the press conference on April 13th, which was last Saturday and Sunday, there was a large flow of people waiting to test drive at our 4S stores nationwide, which is currently a phenomenon for Lanshan. Even when I came to the exhibition booth today, I was quite nervous. When we discussed merging the two exhibition booths, we were concerned that Wei’s booth might have some problems. The tank is eye-catching, but is Wei’s booth also good? This was a major concern at the time because we have gone through so many changes, but when we opened the booths today, they looked great and there were a lot of visitors. Both Wei and the tank are winning.
During my lunch break the day before yesterday, I drove to a 4S store in Shanghai to see if this was the case, and it proved to be true. This store is located on the ground floor of a shopping mall, and many people are looking at the Lanshan car. Basically, families come to see the car together and then want to test drive it. I observed the store’s process and guests while I was there.
I visited a supermarket-style 4S store, which had received multiple groups of customers on Sunday. It was difficult to imagine that the test drive cars had never stopped running. I had to wait a long time to test drive because I was a new visitor at the time. I experienced the customer journey and watched the sales consultant introduce the car, its release benefits, and many other services such as coffee, reception, and business cards that they gave me. Overall, I had a good impression of this Lanshan phenomenon.
Therefore, today at the Wei brand press conference, I added a section to my speech at the last minute. After the increase in traffic, it was a bit challenging for our Wei sales team and tank team to manage both brands at once, especially in terms of human resources. We have both Wei and the tank, but we need to be able to handle both at the same time.
Therefore, in my speech today, I mentioned that in order to provide a better customer experience:
- The business hours of all 4S stores will be extended to 9 pm;
- Multiple services will be provided, such as booking test drives and home test drives;
- We require our sales teams for Wei and the tank to work more effectively in a single channel, focusing on exclusive, specialized, and dedicated sales. Meanwhile, we will improve the customer journey to give customers a better experience.
Changes in the terminal:
The 4S stores are overwhelmed, and of course, some problems have been exposed. We still have much room for improvement in reception when there are too many people, but we must ensure that every customer has a good experience. We require our teams to treat Lanshan sales in the terminal as if it were a direct sales system. They should provide customers the same experience, benefits, and journey.I do not allow all 4S stores, especially those with multiple branches in the same city, to add their own benefits in order to retain customers. Our prices and the benefits we give to customers are sincere enough. This is the current situation.
On the importance of the WEY brand:
There is no doubt that the WEY brand is extremely important. Only after the successful launch of the Lingshan model can other products have a better chance of success. Therefore, we have devoted all our company’s efforts, and our dealers are also using their resources and strength to focus on the marketing and sales of the Lingshan model, hoping to ensure its potential and make it truly one of the preferred six-seater electric comfort SUVs.
This is the situation we hope for. Therefore, this car is crucial to the WEY brand. It is also important for the sequence and rhythm of the launch of WEY brand’s several new products later this year, our team, and the dealers’ confidence in the WEY brand, as well as the feedback given to us by the market.
The day after the April 13th press conference was a Friday and the stock of Great Wall Motors soared, including yesterday (Monday) and today. I believe that the new product release of the WEY brand by Great Wall Motors and the current popularity of the Lingshan model have given many investors confidence, and of course, customers have voted for WEY with their RMB.
Today, I received several radio media representatives downstairs. They said that as long as they talked about Lingshan on the radio, at least 200 comments would be left below. I also lurk in customer groups, and if I don’t check for half an hour, there will be more than 200 messages. Throughout the day, there are at least over 1,000 messages.
People in the groups discuss when they can pick up their cars, whether the second-hand car evaluation in a certain store is reliable, or if the test drive queue in another store is too long. We can also see the terminal’s acceptance capacity. After the sales volume increases, if our preparation is not sufficient, we will still face some pressure.
Therefore, the Lingshan model is very important to WEY, to our dealers, to our team’s terminal acceptance, and it is a happy trouble.
Reporter: Now, both domestic and foreign brands are developing new energy vehicles. What is the WEY brand’s position and market positioning, and how do you differentiate it from other brands?
Chen Siying: There are several points regarding brand differentiation:
First, WEY brand decided to abandon the traditional fuel car market of 20 million units last year and entered the high-end intelligent new energy vehicle market, which was an important strategic decision.
Second, WEY brand is named after the surname of the chairman of the board of directors, Wei Jianjun. From the beginning, it positioned itself in the high-end market, and now WEY brand is fully transitioning to “high-end intelligent new energy vehicles”.Thirdly, with our category strategy and dual-energy strategy, WEY brand will achieve the “horizontal and vertical” goal of SUV+MPV+sedan full-category layout and PHEV+BEV dual-energy strategy. The 2+3 idea of “horizontal and vertical” firmly establishes WEY’s direction towards high-end intelligent new energy vehicles, which is without a doubt.
Within the Great Wall Motors group, WEY brand’s brand significance, brand positioning, our product positioning and pricing are all at a fairly high level. Of course, WEY brand considers global layout, which I also mentioned in my speech today. In some places in Europe, we have already opened up the market and our Mocha and other cars have been sold overseas.
Today, you should also have seen that many overseas media have come to visit. Last night, many overseas dealers also came. Following my judgement, the Blue Mountain will definitely be a hot seller and the Blue Mountain phenomenon will continue to be popular, including the further development of WEY brand and the drive from some new products in the future. In the entire foreign market, overseas dealers will also receive high levels of attention.
Today, I also mentioned that our products are not just the Blue Mountain and the High Mountain, but in the second half of the year, we will also release a full-size six-seater SUV. In fact, our competitors are very clear. Some of their products, we also have. This market cannot be dominated by one person, we must all lead and have a variety of options.
So our product matrix covers the large six-seater, large seven-seater family SUV and MPV market. We always have a model that can meet the customer’s needs and choices. This is the answer to your question, whether it is positioning, product, brand, globalization, product matrix or the Easter egg of our full-size six-seater flagship SUV that we talked about later, it’s basically like this, thank you.
Reporter: The sales of 5,000 units in 5 days after the listing is very good. As you mentioned earlier, there are indeed service issues at the terminal. Following up with this question, if we say the “Blue Mountain phenomenon,” including possibly driving other models, how should WEY brand’s channels improve our comprehensive service capabilities for customers?
Another question is regarding the High Mountain. Now the MPV market, especially the new energy MPV market, is becoming increasingly comprehensive. Based on the changes in market share in the past one or two years, how should we position ourselves and increase our market share and market increment while we are transitioning from the blue ocean to the red ocean?Chen Siying: In addition to extending the time at the 4S store and providing various test drive options to improve customer experience, we have also opened up a channel on the official app for customers to provide feedback. Once a customer has a bad experience, they can use the official app to give us feedback. This is an important measure, which we call the third eye for optimizing service.
Secondly, once we identify an issue, we will immediately make corrections. We definitely have no problem managing, and this is our requirement for dealers, as well as our determination. Because Lingshan is too important, there can be no sloppy handling. We have finally welcomed a good market opportunity, and we particularly hope that the end terminals will work with us to put customers first.
In regards to the second issue with Gaoshan, without a doubt, the MPV market competition is not yet that sufficient, but in fact, Buick’s mainstream old-school MPV market is being split while new MPV market forces are gradually entering the market with good market performance. Moreover, Chinese families have undergone a great change in the population. MPVs have emerged, whether it is SUVs, MPVs, six-seaters, seven-seaters, or even four-seaters and commercial forms. All of these are changes in the population and families, so there is a great opportunity in this market.
As for this car Gaoshan, we did not open up the interior for viewing today. The interior will be revealed at a certain time. I believe that this car’s spaciousness, power, and comfortable experience undoubtedly meet the needs of Chinese consumers for the MPV market. Consumers’ understanding of luxury and Gaoshan all have it.
Reporter: I have two questions for you. The first question is about Lingshan’s very good market feedback. I think Lingshan’s price is a very important reason. I am curious about what considerations were made for Lingshan’s pricing? The second issue is that Wei also includes intelligentization. I also want to know what new progress has been made regarding NOH?
Chen Siying: The answer to the first question you just asked should be about the situation with Lingshan. In terms of pricing, it is definitely competitive pricing, not cost pricing. In order to be accepted in the market, you must have a competitive mindset with other competing products, which is the first issue.
Secondly, Great Wall has 32 years of car-building expertise, which includes vertical supply chain integration and cost advantages that are undoubtedly ahead of their peers. With such integration advantages, there is more imagination space for product pricing. With competitive pricing, if we were to sell the car at a loss, it would not be commercially logical. The reason why we can price the car that way is also determined by Great Wall’s car-building expertise.Thirdly, we believe that in this niche market, especially after the end of the three-year epidemic, customers’ price sensitivity will be very high. We have set a reasonable and sincere price, which also represents the sincerity of the WEY brand.
As of today, the pricing of Blue Mountain by WEY is a sincere pricing – a one-step pricing, a decisive outcome. As we announced at the launch event, Blue Mountain is priced to remain stable until December 31st this year.
Making this decision was a hard call for us because after Tesla reduced prices at the beginning of this year, joint-venture fuel cars began to follow suit. The new energy and new forces have also been keeping up their pace. The market has a mix of delisted cars, inventory cars, and exhibition cars. However, this type of marketing has indeed attracted consumers. Consumers have thought rationally about the chaos of pricing, so I feel that the price war has not brought about significant sales growth but rather an act of self-restraint.
Therefore, we believe that the pricing of Blue Mountain is based on the combination of the brand, competition, opportunity, market users, and consumer mentality – providing customers with the most sincere and fair price. As a result, the market response has been very prompt, and why over the last two days (Saturday and Sunday) people were flocking to it. Besides its excellent product, I believe it has a good price.
Is Blue Mountain attractive? Absolutely. I think it would be an injustice if this car is not a blockbuster.
Liu Yanzhao: In the second half of last year, we reserved the Mocha NOH dual-laser radar version of the urban SUV, and during the internal testing and small-scale tasting process, the overall performance was very good.
Regarding Blue Mountain and Mocha, the competition, the stage of the brand, and the form of the market, we held back the timing and decided first to let the Blue Mountain take the lead in creating brand heat with its good products because good technology needs a good product to release it.
It’s not enough to say that our technology is great, but if fewer people buy it, then is it really valuable? Therefore, we are simultaneously developing high-speed NOH and urban NOH for both Mocha and Blue Mountain. The urban NOH for Blue Mountain should be completed and become a standard feature by the third quarter.
When conveying my thoughts, I always emphasized that technology is the achievement of Great Wall Motor’s 32 years of hard work. Like what the media teachers say, we have been “holding back the big moves.” But, in fact, it is not that we are “holding back the big moves”, but we have been thinking about doing this thing well, presenting a better experience to everyone, and making everyone more amazed. But, we must also consider the stage of the market. “Leading the time by half a step is an advanced approach, while leading it by three steps is like being a pioneer.”Therefore, we must carefully consider and match the rhythm of the entire brand, product, and potential, layer by layer, and release them to make consumers and the market believe that the technology you present at this point is trustworthy, recognized, and desirable, and use it to achieve the goal. Because all technologies and developments have a cost, when you stack the cost, it can also be accepted and understood. This is a process of step-by-step cross-rising. Therefore, at the NOH level, we are experiencing it without much problem, but we still need to control the rhythm.
**Journalist: I think you have done a lot of SUV products. I am very excited to see you this time. You joined Weipai not long ago, but I feel that you have a great sense of achievement in doing this. In your career, what deep impressions have these two months of working at Weipai left on your natural character? **
Chen Siying: Indeed, it is quite different from the brand I have experienced and the culture of the company, but every company is a great company. The reason why I accepted the offer from GW is also because I recognize the company’s culture and values, including my personal admiration for our general manager. That’s why I am here.
One feeling after coming here is the working mechanism of a product manager. I spend a lot of time here, almost every Thursday morning, as long as I am not traveling and there are no major business conflicts, I will be at our test track, experiencing the vehicle.
There may be two frequent styling reviews per week, with cars one after another. Where do these come from? Isn’t it from insight into users? Isn’t it from product manager thinking? I think this is something I perceive very strongly.
Therefore, this culture is still quite shocking and interesting for me. As for the sense of achievement, I can’t say that it is there, nor is it excitement. Now there is a little joy because at that time, when we were preparing for the Blue Mountain IPO, we had only 54 days, which was something I had never done before in my career.
The second is a lot of operational undertakings received from the terminal. There was not much confidence in my heart, but in the process, I felt the strong execution of the culture of Great Wall Motor, the kind of determination where everyone will act immediately when given an order, and the company from top to bottom will pay attention to a lot of resources to do this. I think this can be achieved, so even though it was only 54 days, we won a tough, beautiful, and confidence-boosting victory for ourselves and the entire Weipai system of the Great Wall Motor.So I think it’s more like a joy rather than an achievement, because the Long March has just begun and Bluemountain has just set sail. From April 13th to today, April 18th, only 5 days have passed. I think it’s too early to say that we have succeeded, but we have made a good start. Including everyone’s awareness of the problems we face and the need to change.
Just like I said, we will improve our business if the terminal customer mileage is not enough. Why am I daring to promise the extension of time and the improvement of customer experience today? Because we will immediately report to the whole country if we don’t do well for the dealers. This is our determination.
Therefore, once Great Wall Company decides to do something, it will act quickly like an irresistible force with the entire company’s effort behind it. I have never felt this kind of power before, at least in this product. I don’t think I am fighting alone, but rather the whole system is pushing me forward. So this is not my personal achievement, but the whole system has made me.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email email@example.com.