According to NIO‘s internal expectations, ALPS will have half the number of models than the main brand NIO, but will aim to achieve 50,000 units per month in sales, local media said.
Discussions about sub-brands of NIO (NYSE: NIO) have heated up recently, with a new report providing more details.
NIO’s sub-brand, code-named ALPS, will have a new channel and the number of planned models is expected to be half that of the NIO brand, Jiemian said in a report today.
The head of ALPS is Ai Tiecheng, who has no previous experience working in the auto industry and is a close friend of NIO co-founder and president Qin Lihong, the report said.
Ai is the former general manager of WeWork Greater China and the owner of the NIO ES8 founding edition. Prior to WeWork, he held the position of vice president of marketing at Shanghai Disney Resort.
In July 2021, 36kr reported that Ai became vice president of strategic new business at NIO, reporting to CEO William Li.
The new business Ai is responsible for at NIO is a sub-brand, a brand separate from NIO, 36kr previously reported.
ALPS is targeting the mainstream market in the RMB 200,000 to 300,000 range, and the vehicles will be built on the NT 3.0 platform, support high-voltage fast charging, and will achieve mass production and delivery in the second half of 2024, according to Jiemian’s report today.
According to NIO’s internal expectations, the number of ALPS models will be cut in half compared to the main brand NIO, but the monthly sales target is to achieve 50,000 units, the report said.
How to match NIO’s user-serving brand tone with the real user needs of the mass market is the biggest challenge the ALPS team is currently facing, Jiemian quoted an NIO insider as saying.
The 36kr report in July 2021 mentioned that in late 2020, NIO began considering launching a sub-brand, initially called “TV,” an acronym for Toyota and Volkswagen.
But NIO later changed the name of the project to ALPS to avoid unnecessary trouble, according to the report.
Toyota and Volkswagen are the world’s most profitable and highest-selling car companies, and the ALPS is the highest and most extensive mountain range in Europe, as noted in the previous 36kr report.
On August 12, 2021, NIO confirmed that it would enter the mass market through a sub-brand, saying that preparations for this had been accelerated and a core team had been established.
“The NIO brand has a relationship with this new brand similar to Lexus and Toyota, Audi and Volkswagen,” Li said on an earnings call at the time.
Li said that the sub-brand NIO will launch hopes to be less expensive than Tesla, but the experience will surpass the latter.
On May 10, 2022, a WeChat post by the Hefei municipal government said the city’s Economic Development Zone signed a cooperation agreement with NIO for NeoPark Phase II and key core component support facilities.
The project, which covers 1,860 mu (1.24 square kilometers), will introduce NIO’s new mid- to high-end brand of smart electric vehicle products and is scheduled to be completed and put into production in 2024, according to the article.
The article did not provide more details on the new brand, but it was seen as the ALPS brand.
It’s also worth noting that Li said in a November 10 analyst call after NIO announced its third-quarter earnings that for a mass-market sub-brand, NIO certainly hopes to sell 50,000 units a month.
That was the number Li mentioned, but from his tone at the time, it didn’t seem to be a serious expectation or internal target.
Since the second half of last year, rumors about NIO creating another sub-brand codenamed Firefly have emerged.
On January 26, NIO co-founder and president Qin Lihong said at a face-to-face communication with owners that NIO was preparing a model for a sub-brand codenamed ALPS, with deliveries expected to begin within 2024.
Another sub-brand of the company, codenamed Firefly, is also in the planning stage and will be delivered first to European consumers, Qin said.
A source told CnEVPost on January 31 that NIO’s F4 plant for the Firefly sub-brand will be located in Chuzhou, Anhui province, while the F3 plant for the ALPS sub-brand will continue to be located in Hefei.