Former Byton CEO Daniel Kirchert starting at Evergrande
According to Chinese media reports, Daniel Kirchert has moved to Evergrande Auto, the electric car offshoot of the Chinese Evergrande Group, where he is now Executive Vice President. Kirchert had left the struggling electric car maker Byton last year.
Kirchert founded Byton in March 2016 together with Carsten Breitfeld. At the beginning of 2019, he moved up to the position of CEO in place of Breitfeld. Both managers subsequently turned their backs on the crisis-ridden startup, Breitfeld in spring 2019 and Kirchert in summer 2020. While Breitfeld now works at Faraday Future, Gasgoo now reports that Daniel Kirchert has joined Evergrande Auto.
Evergrande Auto is pursuing highly ambitious goals: In August 2020, the company announced its first six models, followed by three more a few weeks ago. All in all, 14 electric models are currently being developed under the Hengchi brand, covering the main passenger car segments such as sedans, SUVs and multi-purpose vehicles. According to an earlier report in the South China Morning Post, the prices for these models are to range between 600,000 and 800,000 yuan, currently equivalent to about 78,000 to 104,000 euros.
So far, however, none of the nine models presented so far has reached the production phase. According to the South China Morning Post, Evergrande plans to launch the first models in the second half of 2021 or the first half of 2022. In its current report, Gasgoo talks about the planned start of series production of the Hengchi 1 to 6 models in the second half of 2021.
According to Gasgoo, Kirchert is considered an expert in product strategy, dealer network development and joint venture operations. Before co-founding Byton, he worked as Managing Director of Infiniti China and President of Dongfeng Infiniti Motor Co. as well as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at BMW Brilliance Automotive, among others.
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Can’t help but wonder if Mr. Kirchert is comfortable with the ambitious idea of so many models under development (14), and not yet one with a track record of reliable performance or quality.