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From Flight Attendants to New Energy Vehicle Salesman: Young People are Lost in a Gold Rush


December 5, 2023
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Lu Pengpeng
An editor of Blue Whale Finance
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When flight attendants learned that they could earn 100,000 yuan per month by selling for new energy vehicle companies, they couldn’t help but change careers. The continuous examples of sudden wealth are stimulating the nerves of ordinary workers. More and more people are starting new careers in selling new energy vehicles, trying to get rich in this gold rush.

By searching keywords like “Li Auto salesman” or “NIO salesman” on social media, you can see many bloggers sharing their experiences of switching from different industries to selling new energy vehicles. Among them, flight attendants have become the main force this year.

From the titles of the posts, almost all of them are about “giving up the dream of being a flight attendant to sell cars” or “flight attendants transitioning to salesman, from airlines to Li Auto.” Some bloggers mentioned that they ended their years-long flying careers  They no longer have to be awakened by early morning alarms, worry about being on a blacklist, or feel anxious about training… and finally joined the challenging team at Li Auto.

Flight attendants are not the only ones posting on social media. People from various fields, including e-commerce, hotel management, luxury goods sales, and even fellow salespeople from BBA (BMW, Benz, Audi), almost all share their experiences of joining Li Auto.

Overall, the reasons given by bloggers for career transitions are mostly due to high work pressure and low salaries in their previous jobs. After transitioning to Li Auto, they have seen a significant improvement in their salaries.

Some employees mentioned that their monthly income before joining was 6,000 yuan, but one year later, it increased to 30,000 yuan per month. Some even posted titles like “00s (born after 2000) earning 100,000 yuan per month after six months of joining.” It’s not just Li Auto; NIO had previously witnessed the wealth myth of salespeople earning 100,000 yuan per month through commissions in Beijing and Shanghai. The extremely high salary package makes ordinary workers envious, and some people think it’s a marketing strategy by the car companies, while others question whether selling new energy vehicles can be that profitable.

According to industry insiders, Li Auto’s sales positions are generally referred to as product specialists, with different models offering different commission rates. The commission for selling a car is around 800 to 1,000 yuan, and the commission base increases proportionally with higher sales volume. To achieve a monthly income of 100,000 yuan, one would need to sell at least 30 cars per month and be the top-selling salesperson.

“Generally speaking, salespeople in first-tier cities earn between 20,000 and 30,000 yuan per month, around 15,000 yuan in second-tier cities, and around 12,000 yuan in third-tier cities. Indeed, there are some top performers who can sell dozens of cars in a month and earn tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of yuan, but they are rare. The majority of salespeople cannot reach this level,” said the industry insider.

Subsequently, the reporter learned about the salary range for Ideal sales across the country from recruitment platforms.

Overall, the base salary for Li Auto salesman ranges from 7,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan. In first and second-tier cities, salaries range from 10,000 yuan to 30,000 yuan. The commission is based on individual performance, and to reach this salary range, one must meet the sales targets. If one is in a managerial or store manager position, their salary will be further increased.

A salesperson who switched from a luxury car brand to a new energy vehicle company said that traditional luxury cars have lost their brand advantage in the current automotive market. The market is gradually being eroded by new energy vehicles, and they are no longer competitive in long-term career planning.

In contrast, new energy vehicle companies are still in a growth phase, with high car sales and high base salaries for positions. The more cars one sells, the higher the commission. Importantly, new energy vehicles have reduced the bargaining process and made car sales standardized and streamlined. As a result, the workload for salespeople is greatly reduced. This is one of the reasons why more and more people are willing to switch careers and become salespeople in new energy vehicle companies.

With monthly incomes of at least tens of thousands or even reaching 100,000 yuan, the generous compensation system of new energy vehicle companies directly drives the delivery of more and more new cars. November, which has just passed, was another month of intense competition among new energy vehicles.

Data shows that Li Auto delivered 41,030 new vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 172.9% and a month-on-month increase of 1.5%. As of November 30, Li Auto’s cumulative deliveries for the year reached 325,700 vehicles.

In addition, NIO delivered 15,959 new vehicles in November, a year-on-year increase of 12.6% but a month-on-month decrease of 0.72%. From January to November, NIO’s cumulative deliveries reached 142,000 vehicles.

XPeng delivered 20,041 new vehicles in November, a year-on-year increase of 245% and a month-on-month increase of 0.91%. As of the end of November, XPeng Motors’ cumulative deliveries for the year reached 121,500 vehicles.

It can be seen that Li Auto maintains a significant lead in terms of delivery numbers among new car manufacturers, and has already achieved its annual sales target of 300,000 vehicles ahead of schedule. In comparison, NIO, XPeng, and other car companies still have some distance to go to achieve their annual sales targets.

In terms of performance, on the evening of November 9, Li Auto released its third-quarter financial report for 2023. The quarterly revenue and delivery volume achieved historic highs. The data shows that Li Auto achieved revenue of 34.68 billion yuan in the quarter, a year-on-year increase of 271.2%. Net profit was 2.81 billion yuan, compared to a net loss of 1.65 billion yuan in the same period last year. This marks the fourth consecutive quarter of profitability for Li Auto.

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, Ideal Car expects to deliver between 125,000 and 128,000 vehicles. Based on this guidance, Li Auto can easily achieve its target of over 100 billion yuan in revenue this year.

The booming new energy vehicle market has not only stimulated consumers’ enthusiasm for buying cars but also indirectly influenced the career plans of some individuals. Undoubtedly, entering the new energy industry is currently the best time for job seekers, but how long this trend will last is still unknown.

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Lu Pengpeng
An editor of Blue Whale Finance
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