THE EXTREME competition in the lucrative electric vehicle (EV) sector in China has buckled the knees of Chinese EV startup WM Motor, which develops and puts out Weltmeister-branded autos. According to Reuters, WM has “filed for a pre-restructuring process, marking shaky ground for what once was a standout among China’s EV makers as price competition in the world’s largest auto market heats up.” Reuters revised its earlier report that the company filed for bankruptcy.

“WM Motor’s planned reorganization will introduce strategic investors from across the globe to achieve its rebirth,” reported Reuters, which added that a Shanghai court accepted the company’s application for the pre-restructuring last Oct. 7.

The struggle of WM to stay afloat were torpedoed by the pandemic, “capital market sluggishness,” raw material price instability, and “setbacks in gaining capital needed for operations and development.” Officials of the brand previously sought, unsuccessfully, listing in Shanghai’s STAR Market and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, US-listed second-hand car dealer Kaixin Auto Holdings revealed that it had a “non-binding acquisition term sheet with the troubled EV maker,” which followed a failed backdoor listing through a “reverse takeover” with Apollo Future Mobility.

Founded in 2015, WM Motor’s annual losses ballooned to 8.2 billion yuan (around P63.6 billion) over the three years up to 2021.

Following the news, exclusive Philippine distributor EVOxTerra, Inc. released a statement to assure its customers that it “will continue to honor all existing warranties and service agreements for WM Motor vehicles.” The company added that its “highly trained technicians and service center are ready to provide maintenance, repairs, and spare parts to ensure (WM) vehicles continue to perform at their best. Rest assured that our customer service team will be available to assist with any inquiries, concerns, or support… required.”