NIO has begun to develop a sub-brand model.
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NIO has begun developing a mass-market sub-brand model in Hefei, which local media said will be positioned under NIO’s existing SUV and sedan models.
According to local media Auto-Time, NIO has started developing sub-brand models for the mass market in Hefei, central China’s Anhui province.
According to the report, the model will be positioned under NIO’s existing SUV and sedan models, with a target annual production capacity of 60,000 units.
The report highlights the novelty that people in small towns and rural areas in China express when they see electric vehicles being driven back from major cities over the Lunar New Year holiday.
Residents in small Chinese counties, where new energy vehicles are rarely owned, expressed their envy after seeing such a car, the report said.
The report did not provide more information on the NIO sub-brand, but said the company’s sales channels are now infiltrating third- and fourth-tier cities in remote regions such as Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang.
Last year, rumors about the NIO sub-brand were rampant, especially in late April when JAC launched a bidding activity for the 60,000-unit annual production line of JAC NIO code-named “Gemini”, which aroused heated discussions.
Autohome reported in late May last year that the car is positioned below the current NIO model range, and the “Gemini” may be the model code or project name, rather than the final model name.
Due to its positioning, “Gemini” could be classified under the new brand, the report said.
However, in early June, Qin Lihong, co-founder and president of NIO, said that “Gemini” is the code name of NIO’s new product, which will be launched in 2022, but did not disclose more details.
On August 12 last year, NIO Automobile founder, chairman and CEO Li William finally confirmed in the conference call after the release of the second quarter financial report that NIO will launch a sub-brand.
NIO will enter the mass market through a new brand, and relevant preparations have been accelerated, and the core team has been established.
The relationship between the NIO brand and the new brand is similar to that between Lexus and Toyota, and Audi and Volkswagen, he said, adding that the brand’s prices are lower than Tesla’s, but the experience will surpass the latter.
NIO is currently the only local automaker in China to have a firm foothold in the high-end market, with deliveries already at around ten thousand per month.
It plans to double its offerings and refresh three new electric vehicles this year. The company will unveil its first electric sedan, the ET7, in March, followed by the ET5 in September. CEO William Li sees the ET7 as a Tesla Model S competitor. He expects the smaller, more affordable ET5 sedan, rumored to be a Model 3 rival, to expand their customer base.
In April this year, the Chinese company will launch the five-seat electric SUV ES7, which is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.
Expected to release its fourth-quarter earnings on March 7. Its growth plans are likely to focus on management’s earnings announcement as the industry faces a tight supply of key components and rival Xiaopeng Motors has reportedly delayed electric vehicle deliveries again due to battery supply issues.
Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Shanghai, Nio entered the market with little knowledge of car manufacturing. But the startup, now sometimes referred to as China’s Tesla for its luxurious designs, continues to experience booming sales. Unlike Tesla, NIO does not make its own electric cars, but instead partners with a state-owned automaker.
On November 10, NIO reported a worrying third-quarter loss. Nio lost 6 cents per share, while revenue rose 117%. However, the startup issued a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue outlook, saying chip shortages and production issues persist.
Analysts expected NIO’s loss to fall to 63 cents a share in 2021 from 73 cents a share in 2020, according to FactSet. Full-year sales are expected to rise 125%. Losses are expected to be further limited to 15 cents in 2022 as revenue rises 77%.
NIO’s electric vehicle sales rose by a third in January, but sales of Chinese startup rivals Li Auto and Xiaopeng Motors more than doubled. In 2021, NIO’s sales more than doubled despite production shutdowns due to a global chip shortage. Meanwhile, Li Auto’s sales nearly tripled in 2021, and Xpeng Motors’ sales more than tripled in 2021.
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