LeEco CEO Jia Yueting Takes Aim At “Outdated” Car Manufacturers, US Tech Giants

LeEco’s auto projects are extremely ambitious. The company hopes to squeeze five years of vehicle development into three to release their electric Aston Martin super car by 2018, at the same time they are racing to release their own consumer vehicles with a view to surpass Tesla.

They are goals that CEO Jia Yueting isn’t afraid to rub in the face of his competitors.

In an interview with CNBC, Jia Yueting said traditional car companies, like BMW and Mercedes Benz, “cannot fundamentally change themselves” to meet the requirements of the modern auto industry.

He also singled out Apple, calling their ecosystem of individual apps “outdated”, and pointed to the company’s faltering sales in China.

“Having separate apps just means great obstacles in the user experience. We hope to break down these obstacles,” said Mr. Jia.

LeEco, formerly known as LeTV, is often compared to Netflix in western media, though the company has expanded heavily into other internet-enabled verticals, including electric and connected cars. Mr Jia said that LeEco’s current model is the “ultimate combination of Tesla, Uber, Apple, Amazon and Netflix.”

Mr Jia’s comparison did not stretch to involve Google, who are leading US developments in autonomous driving technology. Last month the CTO of Autolink, LeEco’s auto ecosystem project, told Technode that the company is “working closely” with Google, and have been invited to trial their technology.

When asked about LeEco’s hearty appetite for funding in the pursuit of their auto projects, Mr. Jia said he was confident that their autos ecosystem would reap dividends for those “visionary” enough to invest in it. He also said that the capabilities of LeEco cars would exceed  Tesla rivals, but would remain a cheaper alternative, monetizing through the resources gathered from their internet ecosystem.

Mr Jia’s comments follow last week’s public unveiling of the LeEco LeSEE, their highly-anticipated electric sedan. The company said the car was built with autonomous technology in mind. The company’s other flagship project, an electric supercar being developed with Aston Martin, is slated for release in 2018. LeEco is working closely with Faraday Future, the secretive electric vehicle company in which Mr. Jia is a personal investor.

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