Xpeng Motors said on Nov. 3 that it will offer some existing owners of its P5 sedan discounts on new purchases after hundreds of customers accused it of failing to deliver promised advanced driver assistance features, which were supposed to be available across the country. 

Why it matters: The complaints, which went viral on Chinese social media last week, mounted after Xpeng on Oct. 24 unveiled plans to roll out its latest advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), the XNGP, nationwide by next year. The company said it will be applicable to existing models including the G6, G9, and P7i, without mentioning the P5. 

Details: Xpeng said in a statement issued on Nov. 3 that it will offer an RMB 20,000 ($2,747) coupon for people who have subscribed to Xpilot, its previous generation driver-assist software, along with their purchases of the premium version of the P5 sedan. The benefit could be used for a new purchase of one of Xpeng’s most popular models, including the G6, G9, P7i, or its upcoming X9 van. 

  • The announcement comes after more than 700 P5 owners recently published an open letter, obtained by National Business Daily, asking the company for an explanation as to why its partially autonomous feature for urban driving has remained unavailable to them in most domestic cities, despite the company’s promises.
  • Xpeng further explained that the availability of its previous-generation ADAS feature “relies heavily on” high-definition maps, which has reportedly required automakers to secure approval for using mapping data in their vehicles, partly resulting in slow progress in adoption (our translation). 
  • The EV startup released the so-called City Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP) function first to Xpilot users in the city of Guangzhou last September and has since expanded the adoption to five major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. 
  • “We will strive for more new features and improved user experience, despite many challenges,” Xpeng said in the statement, adding that more functions will be available to P5 owners through over-the-air updates next year, including steering assist and more music streaming apps. 

Context: Xpeng began delivery of the P5 electric sedan back in October 2021, with its premium versions featuring two lidar sensors to facilitate more reliable automated driving functions at a price range of between RMB 199,900 and RMB 223,900 ($27,453-$30,749). It sold 19,618 units of the car over the last 12 months, according to figures from the auto services portal Dongchedi.

  • The automaker is shifting to a more affordable approach for autonomous driving, which will reduce its reliance on technologies such as lidar and HD maps as part of a plan to roll out its XNGP system in 50 domestic cities by December. 
  • The Xpilot system, formerly Xpeng’s rival to Tesla’s Autopilot system as reported by CNBC, is unavailable for driving scenarios without the support of HD maps, according to a Q&A document published by the company last November.

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @jill_shen_sh