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LeEco delays US unveiling of its self-driving LeSEE Pro because of Michael Bay

Transformer director is keeping the car in London for a shoot

Dieter Bohn

LeSEE Pro, LeEco’s self-driving, completely electric concept car, was supposed to make its US debut on stage today at an event in San Francisco. But thanks to Transformers director Michael Bay, the car couldn’t make its expected appearance, explained the company’s chairman Jia Yueting.

The company’s executives explained that the car was in London for filming of Bay’s Transformers 5. And while they tried bringing the original LeSEE model up from Los Angles, the car was involved in an accident, causing “serious damage” to the vehicle that couldn’t be repaired before the event today.

“It’s a real bummer,” Jia said through a translator, explaining he was supposed to drive on stage in the LeSEE Pro, but instead was forced to run on foot. The company also showcased a video of Bay showing off the sleek, futuristic-looking car while on set in London. (“I’m keeping it,” Bay joked.)

A version of the vehicle was available for viewing by attendees and press after the event.

It was a bit of a disappointing turn for the Chinese tech giant during its first high-profile US event, where it unveiled a suite of hardware including a television, smartphone, streaming service, and “super bike.” LeEco says its goal is to create entertainment that customers can stream while riding in self-driving cars that it builds and sells worldwide — an ambitious strategy to say the least.

The company wouldn’t say anything more about the production of the car, it’s cost, or when it would be available for public use. LeEco’s strategic partner, US-company Faraday Future, will unveil its own production car at CES next year, Jia said.

An early version of the vehicle was first unveiled at the Bejing Auto Show earlier this year. Today the company’s representatives said it would be part of a worldwide car-sharing and ride-hailing network. “This car is like your living room... and your office,” one of the company’s presenters said.