Torrance-based performance car company Czinger Vehicles recently announced the formation of its global dealer network, a milestone that brings the young company closer to competing with renowned car manufacturers on the retail front.
Czinger’s 21C, a 3D-printed tandem-seat hypercar boasting approximately 1,250 horsepower, will lead the pack of the company’s vehicles to be sold within the dealer network. Czinger took about six months to build the group, which has seven locations in the United States and six locations internationally in places including Tokyo, Frankfurt, and Barcelona.
Eighty units of the $2 million 21C vehicles will be produced and deliveries will begin in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Most are expected to be delivered in 2024, according to Kevin Czinger, the company’s chief executive and founder.
Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars.com, said that whenever luxury dealers consider a new addition to their showrooms there is no disadvantage to bringing on a new car manufacturer as long as the vehicle is convincing.
“If you say yes and (the new car manufacturer) completely tanks, how many people even knew you were an agreed dealer before the thing went up in smoke? There’s really no downside,” Brauer said. “But if it does take off then it’s pure upside for you as a dealer to already have gotten in on the ground floor.”
The 21C will be rubbing elbows with vehicles from the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, Bentley and others once deliveries are completed. Dealerships “are not going to put the car next to those brands unless they’re absolutely sure that it’s a brand that has value and is going to be enduring,” Czinger said.
Setting itself apart
Czinger said that one of his company’s main advantages over today’s automotive juggernauts is a “fully digital manufacturing system” from Divergent Technologies, which is also led by Kevin Czinger.
The system, dubbed the Divergent Adaptive Production System (DAPS), generates car-part designs through supercomputing and artificial intelligence and prints the parts, which then transition to an automated assembly process. Czinger says the system is cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
“Our capital needs for Czinger vehicles are a tiny fraction of any company on the planet that is going into full-production auto manufacturing; plus, our product cycle is enormously shortened,” Czinger said.
Torrance-based Divergent Technologies has raised more than $400 million in the last five years, recently completing a $160 million Series C funding round in April.
Also working in Czinger’s favor is the demographic of its vehicles’ prospective buyers, who Brauer said are well insulated from the economic uncertainties and woes that are affecting many consumers.
“(Czinger is) going for a pure high-end market, and that’s the market that is the safest in an environment like this,” Brauer said, adding that the demand for unique, low-production supercars has been growing increasingly hot for about the past five years.
Czinger may very well fit that niche by the time the limited units of the $2 million 21C start being acquired by wealthy consumers — those of whom inhabit a market of adjacent Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche vehicles that range from $1 to $2 million.
However, according to Brauer, the young company’s new-to-the-scene attraction is a double-edged sword when it comes to taking on other companies that have built up rapport and legacy through decades of producing automobiles.
“Most wealthy people want some level of pedigree on the cars they’re buying; so, for example, a Ferrari and a Bugatti have a lot longer history and a lot more pedigree than Czinger,” Brauer said. “They’re thinking, ‘Do I get the next super-special Ferrari, or do I get the next supposedly special brand new Czinger?’ They’re probably going with what they know.”
Czinger is not coming onto the scene totally unproven, however, because a series of fast track times have impressed. Last year, Czinger’s 21C set a new lap record at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey County, besting a previous record held by the McLaren Senna. At the Austin-based Circuit of Americas, the 21C beat the track’s production lap record, which was previously set by a McLaren P1.
Nonetheless, outside of the arena of speed and performance is the economic turmoil that all car companies, new or old, must contend with when pushing vehicles to market nowadays.
Brauer noted that supply chain challenges, inflation, and shipping and material costs are hard factors for automakers to predict and navigate, specifically pointing out the rising use of lithium in the vehicles, which is not an inexpensive material.
Czinger’s 21C uses a lithium-titanate battery that powers two electric motors. The use of that battery technology enables the vehicle to travel short distances exclusively on electricity.
“Lithium prices have gone through the roof in the last four months, let alone the last year or two, so if you’re producing a vehicle that has any level of battery production in it, it’s costing more for every car, even those with 12-volt batteries,” Brauer said. “If you have a hybrid-type of vehicle or a purely electric vehicle, your cost basis has shifted dramatically in the last six months.”
Moving forward, Czinger’s success or failure will be significantly intertwined with the cooperation it has with Divergent Technologies, Brauer added. Divergent is the majority owner of Czinger Vehicles.
The near future will see Czinger focusing on the finalization of its production vehicles, fulfillment of its 21C units and the reveal of new models, which will include a four-seat sports vehicle.