When Byton unveiled the M-Byte electric SUV in 2018, it appeared to be a very believable electric vehicle that looked close to production and we expected it to make its market debut in 2019, with production at large. scale scheduled for 2022. This was not the case. went as planned and in the meantime rivals (like XPeng or Nio) that didn’t seem as advanced at the time have launched similar models, and now Byton looks set to go down.
We last reported Byton in mid-2020, when the company shut down and was slowing its plant down, and we attributed that to the pandemic. However, the company does not appear to have recovered for months and now, according to Nikkei Asia, its main business unit, Nanjing Zhixing New Energy Vehicle Technology Development, is being forced in court by a creditor to start bankruptcy proceedings.
The source points out that Byton’s troubles began in September 2019 when several factors negatively affected the business: a FAW-led fundraising round failed, there was a change in management, and then the pandemic struck. An anonymous source within the company familiar with the situation also said at the time that
It will probably be very difficult for Byton to revive
Today, two years later, things still do not improve for the company which in 2020 had some 1,000 employees in China and about 500 more in other countries, mainly in the United States. Its main funder was the Chinese group FAW, which has since focused on its own brand HongQi (Red Flag), and the first investors included Tencent Holdings, as well as Foxconn Technology Group.
In September 2020 Byton was looking to raise nearly $ 300 million from FAW but that did not materialize and a few months later Foxconn halted its investment and then another funder, the investment arm. Nianjing’s government also withdrew its funding, making Byton’s recovery highly unlikely.