Ivways assembly line. It is currently down (Photo: Ivways)
On the hand2 panel, 70 Iways U5 models could be found for sale yesterday, almost one in every 30 sold in the country since mid-2021. For example, some of the first cars delivered, with about 40,130 kilometers, are offered at an opening price of less than NIS 2021,100, slightly less than the weighted price list.
Is this an unusual sales rate? The electric Geely models, which also arrived in the second half of 5, are offered for sale in only about one in every <> vehicles sold in the country. Does the high selling rate represent the pressure and concerns of Iviz owners following news of the manufacturer's difficult financial situation? Very likely yes.
This week, for example, the company's app, which is used by car owners to manage charging and monitor the condition of the car, crashed. In the Facebook and WhatsApp groups of the U<> owners, rumors celebrated that this was another result of the crisis in the company in China, but after a day the app returned to normal operation, after the malfunction was fixed in the servers it uses, which are located in Europe and under the responsibility of Ivways Europe.
A temporary Ivways showroom at TLX Mall in better times (Photo: Gadi Ciara)
Ivways ran into a severe cash crunch at the beginning of the year. It halted production in February, delayed payment of salaries and vacated its Shanghai headquarters to save money. The company is in intensive talks to raise funds and find new investors.
The local importer, the Balilius Group, conveys optimism. The network of garages operates normally and in Israel there is a large stock of spare parts. On paper, Ivways is a good asset to sell: a company with two modern and successful electric models, including the new U6, licensed for sale in Europe and a network of dealerships. But in China today there is a surplus of new manufacturers and car models, not all of which have a place in the market. Certainly at a time of global economic slowdown, and increasing price competition in the Chinese tram market.
Lilius is a veteran group, importing buses from China, previously marketing Mercedes models, and has a variety of real estate activities. The import activity of Ivways models, managed by Elhanan Yahav and Inbar Nachshon, succeeded in creating a high level of service, which created security for buyers, and in the meantime helps calm the pressures. Towards the end of the year, Lilius will begin marketing another Chinese brand, NETA, which is much more successful in China than Huawei and offers a greater range of electric models.
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The U5's CATL battery. The Balilius Group represents the battery manufacturer here, which will help it support them (Photo: manufacturer's website)
Will that be enough if Ivies doesn't recover? Balilius is also the local agent of Chinese battery maker CATL, which supplied the batteries of the Ivways models, which will help with the technical capability to support the most expensive and complex part of the vehicle. Many components in the cars were purchased from external suppliers, some from Europe, such as the Bosch engine, and could be purchased directly from suppliers. But if production is not resumed, there may be a problem with the supply of body parts, for example.
In Israel, there have been several different precedents for dealing with a manufacturer that has disappeared from the market. Daihatsu cars still drive and sell well as used even a decade after the manufacturer decided to exit the European market, but here was a manufacturer that continued to operate abroad and supply components. This was the case with Buick, whose imports were halted, and Humvees, which were discontinued but relied on General Motors components that continued to be produced for other cars.
The collapse of Better Place hurt car buyers a lot, but some still drive here a decade later (Photo: Kobi Liani)
Then there's Better Place, which went bankrupt in 2013. There customers lost their battery swapping network for their trams. Although Renault, the car's manufacturer, continued to operate, car owners found themselves struggling with a manufacturer that decided to erase any trace of its part in Agassi's venture, refused to honor responsibility, and together with importer Carasso made an effort to direct car owners to trade in on their Fluence ZE, so that he could scrap them. And yet, a decade later, a few dozen cars are still driving.
On the other hand, there were several manufacturers sold in Israel who encountered difficulties and recovered. Tesla has often come close to bankruptcy, albeit in earlier stages before landing here. Ssangyong changed several owners within a few years and even halted production, but is now in the hands of new owners, who have begun branding it as KG Mobility. Changing name, changing luck?
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- Electric vehicle