Written before the listing of Zhiji LS7, restore a new entrepreneurial story of China brand.

Author | Shen Tianxiang Ge Bangning

Edit | Li Guozheng

Produced by | Bangning Studio (gbngzs)

Standing in front of the brightest orange star in the northern hemisphere night sky, he hugged her tightly, watching the magnificent scene of Avalon spacecraft flying over arcturus and feeling the shocking power from another starry sky.

This is the most romantic scene in the sci-fi movie Passengers released in early 2017. Compared with the story of 5,000 Passengers people flying from Earth to another planet to start a new life, their spaceship Avalon was equally impressive.

Avalon is like a moving city in space, avant-garde, luxurious, scientific and intelligent. What’s even more impressive is a new world-a scenic spot where the protagonists jennifer lawrence and Chris Pratt enjoy the vast universe and the vast Milky Way on the Avalon spacecraft.

When you see Zhiji LS7, the first medium-sized and large luxury flagship SUV of Zhiji Automobile, you will first be attracted by its oversized dome glass. Zhiji LS7 is hailed as the best SUV in the whole "visual" world. It uses the ice-sensitive front dome of Star Fall Star Waterfall in a breakthrough way, providing a 106-degree wide field of vision on the premise of ensuring driving safety, and breaking through the boundaries of SUV category visual experience as much as possible.

Little known is that this design was inspired by sci-fi movies such as Passengers and Vast Sky. "This concept originated from Space, which contains double meanings, giving people a sense of space externally and reflecting the whole scene space internally." Chen Kun, the manager of Zhiji Automobile’s whole vehicle business planning, told Bangning Studio that from the formation of preliminary product design concept to the selection of styling; From the release of the production concept car to the production car, the original design intention of Zhiji LS7 has been completely continued.

The unconventional design doesn’t stop there. Zhiji LS7 is also equipped with the first mass-produced YAT cruise half steering wheel in China. It cooperates with the immersive lifting intelligent scene screen to make the driver’s lower vision more transparent. If it is not limited by domestic laws and regulations, by-wire technology and a series of restrictions, the engineers who are crazy about Zhizhi can completely provide a retractable steering wheel in by going up one flight of stairs, at the cost of a year’s hard work.

Cramming technology not only brings them the pleasure of hormone surge, but also brings them an unparalleled sense of accomplishment. For example, Zhiji LS7 has a wheelbase of 3060mm, and there are many innovative breakthroughs in its internal design: the rear seat adopts asymmetric mode, and the right side is a real zero-gravity floating seat. The so-called real, refers to the design according to NASA’s zero-gravity standard-128 degrees plus or minus 7 degrees, which can be as comfortable as a space seat and realize zero-gravity function.

The price is equally high. In addition to working with the core suppliers to redevelop a set of seat frames that meet the demand, Zhiji Automobile also needs to make corresponding changes to the front seats of Zhiji LS7. To some extent, this is the reason why the passenger seat innovatively adopts the intelligent control full-flat folding seat, so as to carry an electric slide rail with a length of 1955mm on the right side of the cabin.

As the second car of Zhiji Automobile, on February 10th, 2023, Zhiji LS7 will be listed in Maitreya, Yunnan. On February 1st, 42 days after its debut, its blind order exceeded 10,000 vehicles. Previously, the first Chezhiji L7 was positioned as the flagship car, which was launched on April 17, 2022 and delivered in June. In that year, 5,000 vehicles were delivered, making it one of the best-selling pure electric cars in the range of 300,000 to 400,000 yuan.

On the other side of the coin, this unexpected figure brought a thorough reflection to Zhiji Automobile. In the view of Tamia Liu, co-CEO of Zhiji Automobile, after two years of precipitation, the driving control label of Zhiji Automobile has gradually gained popularity. After reflection, we all hold our breath, hoping that Zhiji LS7 will hit sales in the medium and large SUV market, and then feed back Zhiji L7 and Zhiji brand. "We have a good chance." He emphasized to the Bunning Studio who came to interview.

Located in Shanghai Anting Automobile Innovation Port, and adjacent to SAIC passenger cars, the Zhiji automobile team has high hopes for this car. In the office building connected by several gray buildings, this group of like-minded entrepreneurs with an average age of more than 30 years old and different industry backgrounds gathered and set off because of the call of SAIC’s new automobile business.

Starting from the unforgettable date of registration on December 25th, 2020, Zhiji Automobile started with a blank sheet of paper and a few people, and submitted five cars in two years-two of them were launched one after another, and three were developed simultaneously, which will be introduced to the market rhythmically, and the team will be expanded to about 1,600 people. In the past two years, there have been both glory and darkness; There are both persistence and compromise; There are both grievances and ambitions; There are both abandonment and creation … Behind them, two car paths that were originally chaotic and unknown are emerging.

What kind of new road is Zhiji Automobile on? Can this new car-making force, which is highly anticipated by China’s largest automobile group, create a new world as it wishes? On January 12, 2023, Bangning Studio interviewed some entrepreneurial teams of Zhiji Automobile, hoping to partially clarify the above problems.


start a business

At 8 o’clock on the evening of January 12 this year, in the misty rain of Shanghai Automobile Innovation Port, the figure of Chen Hong, the chairman of SAIC, quietly appeared in Zhiji Automobile Product Development Base. After listening to the team’s report, the head of SAIC expressed satisfaction with the overall progress of Zhiji Automobile, but put forward new requirements for marketing. He hopes that the Zhiji team will strengthen social marketing, such as Internet marketing and live broadcast marketing, so that marketing will go in the direction of public relations.

To some extent, this is SAIC’s best incentive to Zhiji automobile team. "(Chen Hong) Chairman is definitely not satisfied with the sales volume, and we are not satisfied with it ourselves … We underestimated the difficulty of building a new luxury electric brand of 400,000 yuan and occupying the minds of China consumers." Tamia Liu said realistically, "Empiricism is easy to make mistakes. Everyone knows how important the channel is, but we are too conservative about the speed of network promotion."

SAIC’s thinking about the new car track is not later than that of other car companies. As early as 2014, SAIC took the lead in proposing the new four modernizations of cars in the industry. At the same time, it is also a whistleblower of internet cars.

Around 2019, the wave of new car-building movement began to intensify-the electrification pioneer Tesla Super Factory landed in China, riding in the new energy market. Behind it, the new car-making forces represented by Weilai Automobile, LI and Xpeng Motors are rampant. In this context, a group of new car-making strengths born out of traditional car manufacturers began to be eager to step onto the stage of the new track.

Dongfeng motor announced that it will build lantu automobile with the strength of the group; Guangzhou Automobile Group intends to explore a new way with the brand of Ai ‘an; China FAW began to construct the Hongqi new energy brand; Changan Automobile joined hands with Huawei and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited to launch Aouita; BAIC Group spared no expense in deep cooperation with Huawei, betting on Fox Auto …

These traditional camps have been competing with each other for decades. At that time, standing in front of the new automobile world, they suddenly found that only the first round had been played in the past few decades. A real king has not yet been born on the new car track. Once, new cars made people mistakenly think that they were playing with money and concepts, but when the glitz faded, enterprises returned to the products and technologies themselves. The traditional automobile group has technical strength, financial strength and talent strength, so it doesn’t prevent them from having the last laugh.

Make a decision before you move. On December 25, 2020, the long-planned Zhiji car surfaced. As seen from the outside world, as the No.1 project of SAIC, as the epitome of SAIC’s new automobile modernization from quantitative change to qualitative change, it was led by SAIC, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech and Alibaba Group, among which SAIC accounted for 54%, the latter two accounted for 18% respectively, and the remaining 10% was used as the core employee stock ownership and the original stone valley user data rights plan.

Prior to this, the project has been in a highly confidential state. The turning point appeared in March, 2020, when the predecessor L project team of Zhiji Automobile was established, but in fact, the project moved forward in secret one or two years ago.

"The feasibility study and project demonstration meeting was held for 9 rounds, and each round of group leaders participated, and each time it was a discussion for six or seven hours." Tamia Liu revealed that, especially in the first seven rounds, it was very fierce. It was not until March that the chairman said that this matter should be persisted, and this was the final word.

Zhiji automobile began to race against time. The project was established in March 2020, expanded to 30-40 people in June, and the company was established in December. In January 2021, the IM Zhiji brand was released, and in December, 200 Zhiji L7 Beta experience versions were rolled off the assembly line. This process lasted for 22 months.

Generally speaking, the speed of self-knowledge mainly comes from the following three factors.

OneThe birth of Zhiji automobile conforms to the trend of the times. According to the data of the Federation, in 2022, the retail sales of fuel vehicles in China decreased by 2.302 million vehicles, while the new energy vehicles increased by 2.687 million vehicles. At the same time, the high-end brand of China has been gradually accepted by users.

Secondly,Zhiji Automobile has three shareholders to provide sunshine and soil, which can be described as standing on the shoulders of giants to explore and innovate. First, SAIC is fully empowered, including its forward-looking layout in automobile modernization for many years, as well as its R&D and manufacturing capabilities, technical reserves and supply chain system. Second, Alibaba provides partial support for software and intelligence. Third, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech provides ecological support for high-tech industries.

The incubation process of Zhiji Automobile seems to occupy all the time, place and people, but as a new brand with independent operation, it also draws pictures on a blank sheet of paper and has a broad space.

ThirdThere is an entrepreneurial team with strong innovation ability. It has assembled a group of technical talents who have grown up from SAIC, as well as cross-border talents who have been absorbed from all walks of life such as the Internet.

From the beginning of the project, 30 to 40 people started their business in a conference room similar to a war room, moved into an automobile innovation port, owned an office building of Zhiji automobile, and expanded to a team of thousands of people. In the magical two years, these are undoubtedly new challenges for anyone.

A considerable number of people in the Zhiji automobile team have experienced the era of blowout development of traditional fuel vehicles in China. The reason why they are willing to unload their heavy bags and embark on the entrepreneurial journey again is because they firmly believe that China brand will definitely become the real leading force in this round of global intelligent electrification competition. They are willing to fight for it.


Driving control

"If you paint a portrait of Zhiji’s product, what label would you label it?" "From the delivery of the vehicle to the present, what is the user’s most satisfied with Zhiji Automobile?"

On January 12, when Bangning Studio raised the same question to Tamia Liu, Chen Wei and Li Weimeng, the manager of multi-contact of Zhiji Automotive Software and users, they all replied without hesitation: "Driving control is our core label."

Sitting in the office of Unit 10 of the Automobile Innovation Port, Li Weimeng quickly added that this is a brand’s understanding of the underlying logic of the automobile. The automobile must be driven well and safe. She gave an example with a very strong user perception: Zhiji L7 is equipped with AKC rear wheel steering. No matter whether turning or turning around, new and old drivers can almost pass it, and they all think that this 5-meter-long car is particularly dexterous to drive.

At the beginning of the project, Zhiji Automobile was positioned as a luxury brand of high-end intelligent electric vehicles, with electrification, intelligence and high-end as its initial intention and starting point. The goal is to "make a subversive and personalized product that meets everyone’s needs, but it must be a high-quality product (Chen Yuyu)". From this moment on, Zhiji automobile will determine the driving control as the first longboard of the product.

At that time, the most talked-about selling point of the new car-making forces was the architectural layout brought about by electrification and the spatial advantages derived from it. After repeated verification, including in-depth discussion with partners, Zhiji’s product research and development team believes that the driving control of electric vehicles has great advantages and can be better than that of fuel vehicles-its chassis can be made lower, its weight can be made lower, its response is faster and its steering is better.

In pursuit of a sense of driving control, cars are the first choice. To some extent, this has become the thinking logic of Zhiji Automobile to launch the first car, Zhiji L7. On the one hand, there is room in the market, and BBA is still in a growth trend at the same price segment; On the other hand, the advantages of electrification have not been fully highlighted. Later, whether it was the feedback from angel wheel users or the feedback from deep tracking users, the results were exactly the same as the product development team’s vision of driving control.

How fast is it? On October 24th, 2022, at Zhejiang International Automobile Yard, Zhiji L7 Snake Performance Performance Edition surpassed Mercedes-Benz AMG EQS and Porsche Taycan Turbo S with a speed of 1 minute, 42 seconds and 212 laps, reaching the top of the list of the fastest mass-produced electric vehicles. This achievement is obviously the best interpretation of the driving performance of Zhiji L7.

Zhiji LS7, which was developed almost simultaneously with Zhiji L7, still regards driving control as the first longboard of products. On different occasions, Tamia Liu has paid tribute to competitors’ ideals for many times, believing that it has made the demands of mobile families for the comfort, entertainment and large space of a car to the extreme, as well as the understanding and value mining of users, which is worth learning and learning from all car manufacturers.

"But every company has its own resource endowment, and there is a benchmark logic in building a car. According to this logic, products are set by addition and subtraction." Then, he changed the subject, "On the smart electric car track, benchmark’s goal is to forget Benchmark … We have many new market segments, and we can innovate ourselves instead of simply following."

Zhiji LS7 takes this opportunity to walk out of a completely different road from LI. Daddy’s car turns left, and Zhiji LS7 turns right. Ideal is more functional, suitable for family travel, while Zhiji LS7 has to be a super-large space and a real 5-seat SUV. Even for driving control labels, there are still some differences in tonality between Zhiji L7 and Zhiji LS7. The former makes people experience to the extreme, while the latter emphasizes vision and comfort, balancing comfort and driving control.

In fact, it is not difficult to understand that the same price is 400,000 to 500,000 yuan, and Zhiji LS7 can provide the size and space of BMW X5. "Then take care of the driving experience of five people to the extreme. We can only die for ourselves, give good things to users, and bear the cost ourselves. This is what a luxury SUV should look like. " Tamia Liu said.

How to pass the driving control label to more consumers? The most direct way is to deliver the sound to users efficiently through the inherent channels. By the end of last year, Zhiji Automobile has laid out nearly 120 stores in about 30 cities across the country, although there is still a big gap compared with the new car-making forces in the head. At present, Zhiji Automobile is accelerating the laying of channels. Its phased goal is to expand the number of channels to 200 by the end of June this year, and the target by the end of this year is about 250.

Another big change is to change live broadcast and data-driven terminal marketing, including organization, form and resource ratio. Take the live broadcast as an example, including Tamia Liu, the manager and the engineer, all face different groups, such as users and the media, and respond to various challenges and queries. Relevant data show that in less than one month, Tamia Liu has conducted seven live broadcasts.

"Why is the chassis control of Zhiji car so good? It may be determined by 1000 parts and may need to communicate with users through 100 live broadcasts. " Tamia Liu explained that the current market environment is mixed, and consumers are easily misled … This requires a slow fire and a long-term attitude of chassis, power and driving control, so that more and more users can know it.

This is obviously a relatively long and difficult road, but it is undoubtedly the right one.


Can not be copied

What is the next HI point of Zhiji automobile? There are two answers for Bunning Studio: one is software, and the other is original CSOP. Tamia Liu’s logic is that smart phones and Internet products can follow the long board theory, while electric vehicles, especially advanced intelligent electric vehicles, need one or two longer boards.

Compared with driving control and power, Zhiji automobile has spent a lot of ingenuity in terms of intelligence. On the soon-to-be-launched Zhiji LS7, users can experience the interactive combination of driving and screen, as well as the characteristics of supercomputing center on the long horizontal screen. The same intelligent function, Zhiji L7 is obtained through OTA. Moreover, the intelligence of Zhiji automobile is closely combined with the user’s thinking.

From the very beginning, Zhiji Automobile made it clear that it was going to be a household car science and technology company. It is worth noting that it is not a follower of other user-oriented enterprises, but creates a sample that is difficult for other enterprises to copy.

In the ownership structure of Zhiji Automobile, 10% of the shares are divided into two parts: one is ESOP, the core employee shareholding platform with 5.1%, and the other is CSOP, the user rights platform with 4.9%.

Zhiji Automobile creatively launched the "Original Stone Valley Data Rights Plan" and issued 300 million original stones to the outside world. Users can exchange different rights through the original stones. To put it simply, from the moment when users become Zhiji users, users have continuously accumulated the number of rough stones in their daily driving of Zhiji cars. These rough stones can be exchanged for various hardware upgrade or software upgrade services, even financial and insurance products, and will appreciate with the appreciation of Zhiji Automobile.

Users really experienced the value of the original stone in November 2022-using the original stone in the account to exchange all kinds of popular technology trends, limited services and travel experiences. The exchange of 4,999 original stones for an iPhone14 Pro mobile phone once became a hot topic, and a Zhiji user had obtained 45,000 original stones after picking up the car for more than three months. Up to now, nearly a thousand people have initiated the exchange. There are also users who want to accumulate more rough stones. In the future, they will not only get iPhone, drones, PICO, but even have the opportunity to change cars.

From the perspective of a startup company, the core values of the original stone valley are mainly reflected in: first, attracting users to drive more miles; Second, enterprises get more data collection. In this process, Zhiji Automobile has always stressed that it is not the data of users in Bai Piao, but through the contribution of user data, users can grow up with the brand and gain real value.

The original stone valley chain guarantees the security of data, the privacy of information, and the inviolability and forgeability of transactions through the state secret algorithm, ensuring that every user can obtain data rights fairly and justly. This model is unlikely to be imitated or copied by other enterprises. Therefore, Zhiji Automobile was awarded the "Data Asset Innovation Award of the Year" by Shanghai Data Exchange.

Different from the new car-making forces such as "Wei Xiaoli", Zhiji Automobile prefers to bind product operation and user operation together. "Exert energy through the lowest CSOP system, instead of relying on paving people to operate." Li Weimeng explained that this is the ecological development trend of the industry. "Only when the product operation and the underlying incentive system are together, the overall activity effect will be more unified."

As a result, users and brands really get closer and really play together. From the bottom logic point of view, this is the dominant effect brought by Zhiji Automobile getting through the car and mobile phone. Li Weimeng believes that users’ thinking should sink, constantly communicate with users online and offline, and combine HMI (Man-Machine Interface) with APP to realize online and offline interaction.

It wasn’t like this at first. When Zhiji Automobile was founded, there was no user contact team, and APP and HMI were completely separated. In fact, it is not difficult to understand that from the development point of view, APP and HMI follow the mobile phone and the car together, and their professional skills are different, so naturally they should be separated. But from the user’s point of view, the two user interface experiences must be open, otherwise there will be a sense of separation.

After Li Weimeng joined Zhiji Automobile in June 2020, she brought this set of thoughts that she had not realized to this startup company that was starting from scratch, and made many plans to convince others. In November of the same year, the two teams of Zhiji Auto APP and HMI merged, and the user contact team was established, and the basic functions were developed from 0 to 1.

In the whole year of 2021, Li Weimeng and others made up all the software related to the whole vehicle, breaking through many technical difficulties. "Whether it is from APP to HMI, or the consistency after getting on the bus, and the overall sense of quality, more alliances will be made." Li Weimeng said.

At the end of 2022, the organizational structure of user contacts was adjusted again, and three departments, such as HMI, App and vehicle software, were integrated into one department, namely the software and user multi-contact department. After the online and offline were completely opened, the team turned its focus to operation. "Products are like having children, and operation is like raising children. To solve the problem of how the two can produce chemical reactions. "

IM GO is the most representative of online and offline access! . At the end of August last year, Zhiji Auto went offline and IM Zhiji APP went online. Plate. This section explores and gathers more original stones and new ways to play, making the user’s travel experience full of fun in the scene where the virtual world and the real world are intertwined. Bangning Studio learned that this will also become the starting point of Zhiji Automobile in 2023, and it has already begun to take shape.

After getting through the APP and HMI, it also makes the agile transformation of Zhiji Automobile faster, and users have a sense of freshness that has been constantly being OTA and has been changing.

Traditionally, everyone is a part of the long chain of products, just like the most primitive factory production line, where one person finishes his homework and the next person outputs. But now, from end to end, from source to result, everyone is responsible, making the iteration speed of the APP very fast. The goal is to add agile iteration to the IMOS APPlication layer, so that users can always have new experiences, and the whole vehicle app can be iterated once a month.

The question is, in the current era when auto companies say what they say is what users think, how can Zhiji Auto identify the truly effective user needs, and take less or try not to take detours? Li Weimeng’s answer is to try to turn himself into a novice and look at the product with novice thinking.

"From the product point of view, it is more important that the functions and experiences should interest users-some are the most basic functions, some are functions that meet users’ expectations, and some exceed users’ expectations, and every version update has surprises for users." She said that if you want to be quick, agile and give users something unexpected, users’ perception of cars will be better.

Building a car is a marathon after all. Zhiji Automobile has never compromised and given up on driving control genes, user value and breakthrough innovation. It firmly believes that long-term doctrine will eventually bring back, frankly face the relationship between users and brands, and accept external doubts and praises. It hopes to sail into the new world of automobiles with its own technology, wisdom and entrepreneurial feelings.