Inside one brand’s struggle to stay ahead in China’s cut-throat car market



Male workers stopping for a pee break at Zeekr’s impressive new factory in Ningbo, south of Shanghai in China, are faced with a motivational poster that reads more like a threat. “To live, to win it all, what does it mean? It means that even a small mistake is not allowed in 2024!” 

Above the next urinal, the message – from Zeekr CEO An Conghui – is even more stark. “The knockout competition has kicked off. Whether we can win or not this year holds the key to our future.”

In China’s cut-throat car market, only the fittest survive and the premium-angled electric Zeekr brand needs to be fit because it arguably holds the key to the long-term health of parent company Geely. 

Think of Zeekr as Geely’s future version of Audi in the Volkswagen Group, a volume premium brand that takes tech from the wider group but adds its own value for an extra dollop of profit margin.

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