In an interview with Insights Success, Dr. Liang Zhou, CEO of Karma Automotive, shares insights on Luxury automotive space. Also, he broadly discusses the company’s contribution towards the industry its establishment in the market.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Dr. Lance and Insights Success:
Give a brief overview of the company, its uniqueness and its vision.
Karma Automotive designs, engineers, assemble, and markets luxury electric vehicles, all from its Southern California base of operations. Founded in 2014 and employing nearly 1,000 people worldwide, Karma is committed to elevating and growing the luxury mobility experience for its customers, drawing on global relationships and technology partners to achieve this.
Karma will continue to deliver distinct luxury electric vehicle experiences through innovative design, technology and personalization. We will remain true to our unique luxury segment defined by exclusive design and craftsmanship, intuitive and integrated high technology, an owner experience with unrivaled treatment, and customization that allows every Karma vehicle to be unique.
Our future is strong and well-funded. We have the right people in place to achieve our goals, a solid product plan that spans the next decade, a state-of-the- art customization and innovation center where our vehicles come to life in Southern California, and relationships with the right partners who can help us accelerate technology and product development.
What are the cutting-edge products/solutions offered by Karma Automotive?
Karma Automotive champions bold design and delivers electric vehicles that are both voluptuous and sensual; products that elicit a visceral and emotional response for our owners.
Few cars in the world can match the performance, luxury and efficiency of the Karma Revero. Named Green Car Journal’s 2018 Luxury Green Car of the Year, Karma Revero is a luxury electric vehicle powered by dual electric motors that embodies the company’s goals of offering leading automotive design, technology, customization, and an outstanding customer experience. Revero is high-tech, rolling art that delivers unmatched luxury and technology to owners who appreciate the journey as much as the destination.
Personalized customization is among the important elements of our Karma brand, and along with luxury, technology, specialized customer treatment, we are laser-focused on elevating it to an art form inspired by California.
Karma’s customization strategy is comprised of various levels of individuality, like our recently announced low volume Aliso Edition. Aliso embodies Karma’s dedication to offering luxury enthusiasts an opportunity to own a customized, collector vehicle. It’s a specially-crafted luxury electric vehicle for a very select few who seek a truly unique product, and something we believe can be a model for how Karma approaches other unique custom editions and contribute to the sales growth of the company.
Only 15 Aliso Editions will be produced, all individually numbered with unique interior and exterior badging, special exterior paint, interior leather-trim colors, and custom carbon fiber wheels. Starting today, Aliso Editions will be available for sale from select Karma Automotive’s dealers located across the United States and Canada.
Describe the experiences, achievements or lessons learnt that have shaped the journey of the company.
Karma has created a sustainable business with a comprehensive organization including in-house development and design, complete in-market assembly operations, technology partners, marketing organization and a dealer distribution network. Our immediate goal is to enhance and grow Karma’s brand value and develop partnerships with those who can use our low volume platform as a test bed to help commercialize emerging technologies.
We plan to grow our U.S. sales and build a solid foundation of success in North America before launching into other global luxury automotive markets. We will continue to add employees, recruit the best luxury brand dealers, and utilize our customization and innovation center to assemble our vehicles in Moreno Valley, Calif., to support our growth plans.
What are the challenges faced while providing innovative solutions and how is Karma Automotive serving to tackle them?
The luxury electric vehicle market is becoming highly competitive, and demands constant innovation, particularly in the area of high technology. It also demands dedication to building the long-term value of our brand versus chasing monthly sales targets. We will remain true to our unique luxury segment defined by exclusive design and craftsmanship, intuitive and integrated high technology, an owner experience with unrivaled treatment, and customization that allows every Karma vehicle to be unique.
What according to you could be the potential future of your relative industry and how does Karma Automotive envision sustaining its competency?
Karma is different from “automotive startups” we are often compared because we have a fully operational enterprise. We have a full value chain from suppliers to dealers to customers, which gives us the opportunity to look at the industry and adjust our strategy to meet market demands.
Our future is strong and well-funded. We have the right people in place to achieve our goals, a solid product plan that spans the next decade, a state-of-the-art assembly plant in Southern California, and relationships with the right partners who can help us accelerate technology and product development.
Give us a few testimonials of your clients that accurately highlight Karma Automotive’s position in the market.
“Really the epitome of my collection I think is the new Karma Revero. I love art and the Revero is art and it’s a piece of art that I can drive.” – LARRY TRAMMELL, Customer
“It’s a work of art to see a beautiful car, and then to be able to drive it. It’s a work of art that has a practical application.”- PATRICIA LAUCELLA, Customer
About the Leader
Dr. Lance (Liang) Zhou was named Karma Automotive’s Chief Executive Officer in December 2017 after serving more than 25 years in the automotive industry, most recently as CEO and President of Beijing Foton-Daimler Automotive, in addition to Daimler Global VP (Level I of Daimler AG). Zhou began his career as an engineer, progressed into sales and marketing, and then into general management, where he held a variety of progressively responsible executive positions. Prior to joining Daimler, Dr. Zhou was with Naveco, a joint venture of Iveco of Fiat and Nanjing Auto, where he was Chief Executive Officer and served on the venture’s board of directors. Dr. Zhou earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering from Northwestern Polytechnical University and a PhD from Nanjing University of Science and Technology. Zhou has an outstanding record of success in creating new business, driving growth, and over-delivering results and is recognized by the auto industry as a strong business leader who is results-focused, determined, systematic and pragmatic.