Luxury Chinese EV brand Zeekr seeks $1 billion US IPO
Young Chinese luxury EV brand has been a huge success in China, entered Europe in September
Electric car brand Zeekr, on Friday released paperwork for a New York listing, which would make the stock the first Chinese IPO in the US in two years.
Zeekr is one of the brands under the sprawling Geely automaking empire headed by billionaire Eric Lee. In February, Zeekr raised $750 million in a funding round that valued the brand at $13 billion.
Apart from Li, who owns 13.2% of Zeekr, investors include Amnon Shashua, CEO of autonomous driving technology company Mobileye, and world number one EV cell supplier CATL.
The Hangzhou-based company manufactures full-electric cars targeting the luxury end of the market and is barely two years old, having been first revealed at the 2021 Shanghai auto show.
In China, Zeekr has more than doubled sales in 2023 with just shy of 67,000 units of the Zeekr 001 (shooting brake-styled launch model), the massive boxy 09 minivan and X crossover leaving showrooms in the first eight months of the year.
The 09 first went on sale in December 2022 while the X only started decorating showrooms in April of this year.
Zeekr finds fantastic growth in China
In terms of the total combined battery capacity of all Zeekrs sold this year – in many ways a better indicator of market potential and metals consumption than unit sales alone – the company’s performance is even more impressive.
According to the Adamas Intelligence EV Battery Capacity and Battery Metals Tracker, Zeekr unleashed 6.5 GWh of battery power onto roads so far this year, a 150% increase over the same period last year. By battery capacity deployed, the company has carved out an impressive 3.7% of the overall Chinese BEV market in 2023 to-date.
Zeekr EVs went on sale in Europe in September following another Geely brand, Lynk & Co, in its first foray outside its home market. Zeekr plans to add another seven models to the lineup by 2025.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which has a stake in Mercedes Benz, acquired Volvo from Ford in 2020 and the company subsequently spun off Polestar, which had been the company’s motorsports unit, as its electrified brand.
Apart from the Swedish brands, Geely also owns Lotus and has a large stake in Aston Martin, another storied British marque.
Despite the strong backing of Geely, Zeekr’s widening losses (reported this week) have dampened excitement for the IPO.
Moreover, the company’s European inroads are likely to encounter speedbumps as the EU works to slow the rising tide of China-made imports, and its prospects in the US could soon be even more bleak as lawmakers look to raise already-stiff tariffs on Chinese car imports.
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