(Yicai Global) June 7 -- The Gemini model Nio’s founder Qin Lihong confirmed the Chinese electric auto startup will launch next year will not be an entry level vehicle, a company spokesperson said.
“Let me clarify that this will not be a low-end product,” Ma Lin, senior director of corporate communications at Shanghai-based Nio, said in a Weibo post yesterday. “The Nio brand will maintain its high-end position.”
Qin announced the Gemini model at the opening ceremony of a Nio House concept showroom in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin yesterday following a report a week earlier by auto industry media outlet Evhui.com. The report said the new vehicle would be entry level and added that it was unclear whether it would be under the Nio brand.
If the Gemini is released under the Nio brand, it is unlikely to sell for less than CNY300,000 (USD47,000), according to a market analyst. Nio’s cars sold for an average CNY434,700 each in the first quarter of this year, up CNY4,200 (USD656) from the fourth quarter of last year.
Nio has already started developing the Gemini, Yicai Global learned. Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group plans to make 60,000 of the vehicle a year, it said on May 10.
On Nio’s annual earnings conference call in March, Chief Executive Li Bin had also said the firm did “not exclude the possibility of entering the mainstream market.” But the market for cars priced at CNY200,000 to CNY300,000 is very competitive, he said, adding that Nio will focus on gaining a bigger share of the high-end market for now as autos are not a winner-takes-all industry.
The world’s high-end auto market sells about 10 million units annually, but Nio accounts for only a few thousands, so has much space to grow, Li said. The firm will not seize market share by lowering its prices, he added.
Editor: Futura Costaglione