Byton CEO Daniel Kirchert quits
German CEO Daniel Kirchert has reportedly left the struggling electric car manufacturer Byton. Nevertheless, there is a glimmer of hope for Byton: potential investors are conducting a ‘due diligence’ review at the moment.
The report, based on unnamed sources, states that a Chinese company would be among the interested parties. The outcome of the audit is still open. It is therefore also possible that none of the potential investors will enter the market.
After financial problems in the wake of the Corona crisis – investors had withheld promised funds – Byton had temporarily suspended operations in July. In August, it was reported that operations would be restarted in September and an IPO was planned.
In the meantime, however, plans for the IPO have been postponed again according to information from Automobilwoche, it is to take place at the earliest when the company has a model on the market. As soon as the financing is secured, the market launch of M-Byte is expected to start at the end of 2021.
At present, however, the company seems to continue to fight for survival. Many employees have left Byton, including the German CEO Daniel Kirchert, as the company confirmed to reporters. In February 2019, Kirchert had taken over as CEO from Carsten Breitfeld, who moved to Faraday Future. Byton is now de facto managed by founding member Qingfen Ding from China. He is normally Chief of Staff.
In the course of the dismissals or layoffs, “hardly any employees are to remain at the Santa Clara site in the USA“. According to the report, many ex-pats in China also had to leave. Around 60 of the former 100 employees are still to work at the Munich design and development centre – short-time work has prevented a large number of job cuts.
Chinese shareholders primarily back Byton. These include FAW, Nanjing Shengteng Automobile and the battery cell manufacturer CATL. As a possible Chinese partner, the report names the Chinese start-up Xpeng. In contrast to Byton, the manufacturer has already leapt series production – the 10,000th copy of the second model P7 was produced recently. As an external development service provider, Xpeng could bring the almost completely developed Byton M-Byte to series-production readiness.
automobilwoche.de (in German)