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Xpeng's VP of Autonomous Driving Resigns Amid Market Competition; Shares Fall 5%

Chinese electric vehicle firm Xpeng experienced a 5% drop in shares on Wednesday after it revealed that Xinzhou Wu, its Vice President of autonomous driving, is set to leave the company. Wu's departure comes at a critical time for the electric vehicle start-up as it competes with rivals in the increasingly competitive Chinese market.


Wu, who played a significant role in Xpeng's autonomous driving efforts, has decided to leave the company for personal and familial reasons, as stated by Xpeng. In his stead, Liyun Li, the senior director of Xpeng's autonomous driving team, will assume his role. Li, the lead of the project team working on Xpeng's advanced driver-assistance system XNGP, has been preparing for the transition for a considerable period, the company indicated.


He Xiaopeng, Xpeng's CEO, commended Wu's contributions, asserting that he played a critical role in catapulting Xpeng to a leading position in the autonomous driving tech sphere.


The news of Wu's departure comes as Xpeng seeks to reclaim its position from emerging competitors such as Nio and Li Auto, as well as take on industry stalwarts such as BYD and Tesla. While Xpeng continues to incur losses, it demonstrated a promising trend by delivering 11,008 vehicles in July, marking a 28% monthly increase and the sixth consecutive month of delivery growth.


Xpeng, based in Guangzhou, is striving to stand out in the market by positioning itself as more technologically advanced in autonomous driving than its competitors. Its primary semi-autonomous driving product is XNGP, a direct rival to Tesla's Autopilot.


CEO He Xiaopeng sought to calm investor anxieties, ensuring them that Xpeng's technological development will continue to progress. "We will remain fully committed to our clear roadmap for the full-stack in-house developed autonomous driving technology and our strategic partnership with the Volkswagen Group,” Xiaopeng said. "I will continue to personally lead our autonomous driving team and strengthen our leadership in Smart EV technologies,” he added.

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