Chinese luxury EV brand Zeekr continues global push into Kazakhstan

Zeekr, the luxury electric vehicle brand under China’s Geely Automobile Holdings, says it will launch its Zeekr 001 shooting brake and Zeekr X SUV in Kazakhstan by the fourth quarter of 2023.

Kazakhstan, a key market in Central Asia, marks Zeekr’s third geographic expansion announcement in recent months. The two-year-old Chinese automaker also said it plans to begin selling vehicles in Europe and Israel by the end of 2023.

The aggressive push into new markets is fueled by the $750 million Series A funding round Zeekr raised in February, which shot the automaker’s post-money valuation up to $13 billion. Prior to that raise, Zeekr said it had filed confidentially for an initial public offering in the U.S. and was reportedly seeking over $1 billion in proceeds.

The funds from Zeekr’s Series A were dedicated to technology research and market expansion. At the start of the year, Zeekr posted 3,000 open positions in more than 30 cities around the world. The company has said it wants to expand to most Western European countries by 2026.

A look at Zeekr’s most recent job postings hints that the automaker is now also setting its sights on the United States, according to a job listing posted this weekend for a U.S.-based regulatory, policy and compliance manager who will support Zeekr’s U.S. aftermarket efforts. The company did not respond in time to TechCrunch’s request for more information.

Zeekr has sold over 100,000 vehicles, predominantly in China, since its launch in 2021. The young automaker has been successful in China in part due to its direct-to-consumer business model, which the company aims to bring to all its new markets. In Kazakhstan, Zeekr’s local partner Orbis Auto, an automotive distributor, will facilitate the development of a sales network and after-sales service in the region. The pre-sale will begin in September with delivery to customers slated for November.

Zeekr hasn’t shared at what price point it will sell the Zeekr 001 and X in Kazakhstan. In the Netherlands and Sweden, Zeekr’s first European markets, the flagship 001 is selling for around $65,000, and the X for around $50,000.

Both of Zeekr’s international vehicle offerings compete directly with Tesla’s Model Y crossover. The 001 can deliver a range of around 375 miles, and the X has a range of almost 350 miles. Both vehicles include over-the-air software updates.

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