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Volvo Veteran-Led China Electric-Car Maker WM Raises $1 Billion

  • WM Motor joins Chinese startups seeking to challenge Tesla
  • Ex-Geely executive targets 2018 introduction for first model

A former top executive behind China’s biggest acquisition of an overseas carmaker is setting out to make history twice, raising $1 billion in an initial fundraising round as the latest homegrown electric vehicle startup to challenge Tesla Motors Inc.

Freeman Shen left Volvo Cars owner Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. in 2014 and last year founded WM Motor, which he says has secured funding from both domestic and overseas investors. WM plans to introduce its first model in 2018 and boost production to more than 100,000 units annually within the following three years, he said Tuesday.

“We have profound experience in the industry, which distinguishes us from other startup companies, even Tesla,” Shen, who’s worked in the auto industry for 22 years, said in an interview in Shanghai. “We don’t want to make toy-like luxury cars for the minority. We will target the mass market.”

The sum WM said it’s raised is a show of confidence in a startup competing with more than 200...


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