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Wage arrears are still frantically "expanding" for more than half a year. Another Chinese car company performs "Magic reality".
Jul 9,2020 15:15CST
The content below was translated by Tencent automatically for reference.

SMM News: if you sum up the current common problems of new car-building enterprises, "lack of money" should be put in the first place by many people. In recent months, a number of new car-building enterprises have successively fallen into the crisis of broken capital chain, and some of them have been seized, some of them are waiting for work, and some of them are suspending their business. In the middle of 2020, the once vigorous "new car building movement" in China had a taste of the collapse of the building.

Of course, there are exceptions, such as Grove, which are still in the process of "crazy expansion". On May 14, Huanggang signed an agreement with China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) on the Grove Automobile Industry Park project. It is reported that the project has a total investment of 8.86 billion yuan and is expected to reach an annual production capacity of 20, 000 vehicles within three years and 80, 000 vehicles within six years.

Grove car, seeing this name, I believe many people are confused. When did the new car company emerge? In the current overall downward environment can still "expand", this new car company is very strong?

Who's Grove?

Grove is the name of a British scientist. In 1839, William Grove (William Robert Grove) installed test tubes containing hydrogen and oxygen on molybdenum bars, realizing the "reverse reaction" of water electrolysis and became the first person to verify the working principle of hydrogen fuel cells.

It is easy to see from the name that Grove is paying homage to William Grove, the first scientist to discover hydrogen fuel cells, and it is not difficult to guess from this relationship that Grove is a car company with hydrogen fuel cars as its main business.

The full name of Grove Automobile is Wuhan Grove hydrogen Energy Automobile Co., Ltd., according to the company, the company was founded on March 28, 2018, with a registered capital of 300 million yuan. Grove Automobile is a hydrogen fuel vehicle project jointly established by the university and the municipal government. Wuhan Geological Resources and Environmental Industrial Technology Research Institute Co., Ltd., the parent company of Grove Automotive Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as the Investment and Environmental Engineering Research Institute), is an enterprise legal person jointly established by Wuhan Municipal Government and China University of Geosciences (Wuhan).

Wuhan Grove has also invested in Jingzhou Grove and Huanggang Grove. Jingzhou Grove was established in October 2019. According to Wang Liang (a pseudonym), Jingzhou Grove is an empty shell with no substantive business activities. According to a number of Grove employees, Huanggang Grove, which was just established (June 2020), is a "responsibility" burden, which we will explain in detail below.

Grove Motors has had two large-scale factory publicity events before. One is the brand launch and the debut of the first model. In March 2019, Wuhan Grove officially launched its hydrogen passenger car brand, Grove, in Wuhan Optical Valley, and unveiled its first model. According to the official announcement, the new car is a hydrogen fuel cell car, which will provide the life of the 1000km and is expected to be put into large-scale production by 2020. The other was during the 2019 Shanghai auto show, Grove unveiled three models (two SUV Osidian and Osidian sports models, and a coupe Graney) and announced the pre-sale of two SUV models with a pre-price of 750000 to 1 million yuan.

What is the power of Grove's products?

The company was founded only a year or so, can bring a pre-sale price of millions of yuan of the new car, Grove's strength is really so strong?

"Grove has no factory and there is a small trial workshop next to the office building, and the cars are all assembled by hand with simple equipment," said Wang Liang, who has left office. " Wang Liang pointed out that when producing the trial car, there was no specific supplier. According to the previous plan, the core components were all purchased in pieces and then assembled by themselves. At that time, when we did the product display, the design status of many parts had not been finalized, and the overall modeling was still being adjusted. In view of the actual product power of this "million-class" hydrogen fuel SUV, Wang Liang made an analogy that the overseas price of Toyota's second-generation hydrogen passenger car Mirai is about 400000 yuan, which is completely uncompetitive with Toyota's Mirai, Grove products.

"at that time, the exhibition car was an exhibition car, and most of them couldn't run away. Even if they wanted to do a dynamic demonstration, there were places where they could be tricked," Wang Liang told Galaxy. Hydrogen-powered cars usually have two power sources: hydrogen fuel + lithium battery. The car is running, but whether it depends on hydrogen energy or lithium battery is not certain.

When Grove first showed the SUV model, there was a period of discussion online. After all, it was claimed to be the first independently developed hydrogen car in China, but the reviews of the car were relatively mediocre. On Zhihu, the immature model design of Grove SUV, the false head with a range of 1000 kilometers, and the dynamic video of slow crawling are all objects of complaint. A more unified point of view is that if Grove really has the strength, what needs to be demonstrated should be hydrogen storage technology, fuel cell technology, cost control, and so on. In fact, these places where Grove kept quiet are the main pain points in the current development process of domestic hydrogen fuel vehicles.

Wang Xianbin, an analyst at the Global Automotive Research Institute, pointed out that at present, there are four main difficulties in the development of hydrogen fuel vehicles in China: first, the industrial chain of the core technology is weak. specifically reflected in: high-precision proton exchange membrane, catalysts, air compressors, hydrogen circulating pumps and other core components rely on imports, domestic core components stay in the laboratory and sample stage, lack of engineering capacity; The second is the high cost of core components such as the product stack system, which leads to the high cost of hydrogen fuel cell products and the low performance-to-price ratio; third, the hydrogen purity requirements of hydrogen fuel cell are very high, and the requirements of hydrogen production, hydrogen supply, hydrogen storage and hydrogenation system are high, and the domestic hydrogen energy basic industrial chain also needs a lot of technology and resource input; fourth, there are few hydrogenation stations, and the convenience of energy supply is poor.

What's the real Grove like?

In addition to the "mockery" of the products on display, Grove is currently facing serious operational problems, and the company's capital chain is already out of reach.

According to Wang Liang, who left Grove in April 2020, the company has been in arrears of wages, five insurances and one fund since September 2019, and has not repaid its own wages and benefits so far (more than two months after leaving).

Wang Liang pointed out that since September last year, his provident fund account has been sealed, wages have been in arrears (not paid or underpaid), and social security has not been paid since February this year. After leaving office, Wang Liang communicated with Grove's personnel department many times, and each time the answer was basically that the company would have a sum of money "this month" and would give priority to arranging a replacement salary, but the money has not been received so far.

During the epidemic, Grove issued a salary negotiation document, saying that he would adjust the wages of employees from February 2020 to June 2020. The approximate situation is that employees are divided into three categories: employees who are arranged to work on site pay 70 per cent, those who are assigned to work from home pay 50 per cent, and those who are assigned to rest at home pay 50 per cent in February. The next few months are paid according to the lowest standard in Wuhan (1750 yuan a month). However, according to Wang Liang, even though most employees already felt that the pay adjustment plan was very harsh, the company finally did not have the ability to implement the standards of the plan.

Another employee, Liu Juan (a pseudonym), who joined Grove in May last year and left in March 2020, also told Genesis that he had encountered similar wage arrears. Liu Juan further pointed out that the probationary period agreed upon when entering the job is six months, but the company has always refused to grant a probationary period on the grounds of financial problems, as is the case for all employees. In addition, Liu Juan also said: "from entry to departure, the reimbursement has not been paid, has been in arrears." Regardless of the promised transportation subsidy and telephone fee subsidy, the expenses of my own travel pad have not been accounted for. Some employees have reported to the Labor Bureau before, but there are no results. " Wang Liang also said that some colleagues have gone to labor arbitration, but Grove has not paid his salary since the arbitration. According to Wang Liang's analysis, Wuhan Grove is really out of funds at present. In addition to the real estate of the office building, Wuhan Grove has almost no assets of its own.

The current situation of employees who are still on the job is also quite delicate. Here we are going to talk about Huanggang Grove, which has been mentioned earlier. According to the working Grove employees, at present, everyone's contracts have been changed from Wuhan Grove to Huanggang Grove (first terminate the contract with Wuhan Grove, then re-sign the contract with Huanggang Grove, do not change the contract, the company does not pay wages). After the contract was rescheduled, a month's salary was paid at the end of June. And how to solve the arrears of wages before? According to the on-the-job employee, the current saying is that Wuhan Grove will be issued whenever there are funds. In addition, there is a clause in the new contract: "the outstanding matters shall be settled through consultation between the two parties." In this regard, Wang Liang, who has left office, said that the biggest concern at present is whether Wuhan Grove will be cancelled, and once Wuhan Grove chooses to write off, he will have no way to ask for his salary.

As for suppliers, Grove is also in arrears with a large amount of money at present. According to Liu Juan, some suppliers with excessive arrears have been based in Grove to start the way of asking for wages. In addition, according to the on-the-job staff, Grove currently requires the supplier to re-sign the contract, and Party A should adjust from Wuhan Grove to Huanggang Grove. The previous arrears also depend on the financing of Wuhan Grove.

The question is, at such a difficult time, what did Grove rely on to attract Huanggang investment? Here we have to mention Grove's boss Hao Yiguo. According to public data, Hao Yiguo was born in Dongfeng Department, served as deputy general manager of Dongfeng vehicle and Bridge Company in 2002, and served as party committee secretary and general manager of Dongfeng gearbox company from 2005 to 2010. Since 2010, he has served as Chief operating Officer of China Mingyang Wind Power Group and Vice Chairman of Guangdong Huaneng Mingyang Investment Co., Ltd. In 2013, Hao Yiguo was hired as chairman of Zihuan Industrial Research Institute. Zihuan Industrial Research Institute has a rather detached position in China University of Geosciences (Wuhan). Unlike other academic colleges, Zihuan Industrial Research Institute is actually an enterprise company with such a strong background. Hao Yiguo brings huge network resources. On the other hand, the automobile industry in Huanggang City is relatively weak. When the domestic hydrogen fuel cell vehicle industry is still in its infancy, the introduction of Grove hydrogen fuel vehicle Company is tantamount to planting a seed to become a strong city of hydrogen energy industry. It must be a lot of temptation.

Wang Xianbin, an analyst at the Global Automotive Research Institute, pointed out that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are still in the stage of market introduction in China, and the latest subsidy policy is adjusted to choose cities or regions with foundation, enthusiasm and characteristics to reward. In other words, the promotion of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles began to try to adopt a way similar to the industrialization demonstration project of "Ten cities and thousands of vehicles" of new energy electric vehicles in 2009.

At this stage, it is very clear that Huanggang will introduce the Grove hydrogen Energy Automobile Industry Park project. It is understood that the Grove hydrogen Energy Automobile Industry Park consists of one institute and five projects, including Huanggang New Energy Industrial Technology Research Institute, Grove (Huanggang) vehicle manufacturing base project, fuel cell Sino-foreign joint venture project, middle pole hydrogen energy hydrogen production and oil hydrogen station project, Taige fuel cell power system project, hydrogen riding hydrogen vehicle travel service operation platform project. If this industrial park can be carried out as scheduled, Huanggang is really expected to become a demonstration zone for the domestic hydrogen fuel industry. However, although the future is bright, if Wuhan Grove's "mess" is not solved well, the final "disaster" is likely to be Huanggang Grove.

Before attracting investment, we did not do a good job of due diligence, and in the end, we lost all face. Recently, there has been a lot of warning from the past.

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