The Chinese electric car manufacturer Byton is apparently running out of money. As reported by the business magazine “Caixin”, a local court has started bankruptcy hearings for the company’s most important business unit. It is uncertain whether the company will be able to recover, especially since this announcement is only the last in a series of bad news.
The German subsidiary had to go back in April Register for bankruptcy, has not been in production since last summer. CEO Daniel Kirchert and numerous employees have already left the company.
Byton started with high hopes a few years ago. One of the co-founders was the former BMW manager Carsten Breitfeld. After a comparatively short development period, the company presented a model, the SUV M-Byte, that is almost ready for series production at the IAA 2019. The focus should not be on the driving performance, but on the networking of the vehicle – it should be a smartphone on wheels. In the interior, the M-Byte had a large, door-to-door display – revolutionary at the time.
The first vehicles should hit the Chinese market in mid-2020, and expansion to Europe and the USA was planned. For the M byte are supposed to be at weddings 50,000 pre-orders have been present. It looked good for the company.
Hope for Foxconn
But the problems began soon after the premiere – not only because of the corona pandemic that began in early 2020. In April, CEO Breitfeld left Byton. Because money was running out, production had to be interrupted in summer 2020. CEO Daniel Kirchert disembarked in October and a number of employees followed his example.
The remaining investors were hoping for a fresh start, but that turned out to be difficult in the middle of the Corona crisis. In April the German subsidiary filed for bankruptcy. For a moment there was hope again when the contract manufacturer Foxconn announced a partnership with Byton in May.
Investors are pulling out
In September, however, Foxconn reportedly put the cooperation on hold. Important investors such as the FAW auto company and the Nanjing city government lost interest. As a result, Byton is now apparently having difficulty paying his employees.
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