Xpeng plans to hire 4,000 people, invest in AI as CEO warns intense EV rivalry may end in ‘bloodbath’


The Xpeng G9 SUV is on display during the 20th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, April 18, 2023.

VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images

Xpeng plans to hire 4,000 new people and invest in artificial intelligence technology, according to the company’s CEO, who warned of intense competition in the electric vehicle space which could end in a “bloodbath.”

He Xiaopeng, the CEO of EV maker Xpeng, said in a letter to employees on Sunday, which was reviewed by CNBC, that the company will invest a total of 3.5 billion Chinese yuan ($486.2 million) in the research and development of artificial intelligence technology focused on “intelligent driving.”

Xpeng has a driver assistance system called Xpilot which allows its cars to carry out some functions semi-autonomously.

The CEO also said Xpeng intends to launch around 30 new or upgraded cars over the next three years.

This year, the firm will launch its first models in the price segment of over 300,000 yuan and at 150,000 yuan.

After a tough start to last year, Xpeng’s deliveries have picked up. Deliveries are the closest approximation to sales for carmakers.

Xpeng, like other electric carmakers, has been battling in a price war in China which was sparked by Tesla. Meanwhile, China’s economy has remained under pressure with consumers remaining cautious.

Xiaopeng struck an optimistic tone saying the company has “bottomed out and charted a path that distinguishes” it from industry rivals.

Chinese EV maker Xpeng says its X9 MPV could be the 'top seller in its category'

However, he did acknowledge the intense competition ahead.

“This year also marks the beginning of a fierce competition that may end in a ‘bloodbath’ (or as I prefer to call it, the brutal ‘knockout round’) among Chinese auto makers,” Xiaopeng wrote in the employee memo.

“XPeng has engaged in this cutthroat competition right from the outset, thus accumulating considerable experience. Our guts, grit and perseverance, I firmly believe, will lead us to victory.”

This article was originally published on CNBC