Baidu-backed EV maker WM Motor raises its participation in the auto leasing sector with new acquisition

The company is focusing on the auto leasing sector now that China’s EV sales are declining by double digits.

Provided by WM PR

Shanghai-based electric vehicle maker WM Motor has acquired a 100% stake in Beijing Jinkai Hongda Auto Leasing Company Limited, according to changes in the latter’s corporate registration information.

WM Motor, which is backed by Chinese search giant Baidu, has not replied to KrASIA‘s request for comment, and financial details on this deal are not yet available.

A source close to the matter told KrASIA that this acquisition marks WM Motor’s first steps in the Mobility as a Service sector, adding that the company will have more related investments in the near future.

WM Motors started to invest in the auto leasing sector since April 2018, according to 36Kr, when it first bought the Shanghai Junyou Auto Leasing Company Limited. The EV maker later set up a joint venture, named WM Zhilian Mobility Technology (Tianjin) Company, with China’s food delivery company Meituan, and had ride-hailing and auto leasing within its business scope. Beside, MW Motor also set up a company called WM Financial Leasing (Tianjin) Company Limited.

Pinning hopes in the auto leasing sector might make sense for WM Motor, at a time when EV sales are slowing in China due to a sluggish Chinese economy, and EVs producers are being affected by the cut of governmental subsidies by 50% on average since late June.

WM Motor is now operating an app called GETnGo, offering auto leasing services with its own EX 5 vehicles in Haikou, the capital of tropical Hainan province, and in Sanya, another city in the province, which has tourism as one of its pillar industries. One-day leasing plans cost up to RMB 218 (USD 31), but some outlets were currently out of vehicles for rent for unknown reasons, KrASIA found on Wednesday.

A total of 63,000 EVs were sold in China in September, down by 33.1% year-on-year, according to the latest monthly auto production and sales data released by China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

WM Motor handed over 11,000 units of EX 5 vehicles between January and August to its buyers, turning to be the first vendor among China’s emerging EV makers to have shipped more than 10,000 vehicles this year, the company announced in September.

The firm was involved in a case concerning safety when one of its vehicles caught fire on the road in late September in Wenzhou, a city in China’s eastern Zhejiang province.