Baidu’s EV firm Jidu hires ex-Cadillac designer

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FILE PHOTO: Jidu Auto CEO Xia Yiping attends an interview with Reuters in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Xia Yiping, chief executive officer of Jidu Auto, an electric vehicle (EV) joint venture by Baidu and Geely, attends an interview with Reuters in Beijing, China April 23, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

June 28, 2021

BEIJING (Reuters) -Jidu Auto, a smart electric vehicle venture between China’s tech giant Baidu Inc and Chinese automaker Geely, said it has hired Frank Wu, formerly at Cadillac, to lead its design studio.

Jidu’s chief executive Xia Yiping told Reuters in April that the new company, founded in January, aims to invest 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) into producing smart cars over the next five years.

Wu previously worked for General Motors Co’s premium Cadillac brand in Warren, Michigan, and led design studio of Beijing brand of Chinese state-owned automaker BAIC in Beijing.

Baidu’s EV making plan comes as tech companies around the world are racing to develop smart cars after Tesla’s success in commercializing EVs. The collaboration is based on Geely’s EV-focused platform, Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA). Baidu currently owns 55% of Jidu and Geely has a 45% stake.

Reuters earlier reported Jidu’s hiring, citing people familiar with the matter.

Shanghai and Beijing based Jidu also plans to roll out its car brand in the third quarter of 2021.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Yilei Sun and Tony Munroe, editing by Louise Heavens)