Nio Unveils “Gemini” as Code Name for New Premium Model, Quashes Rumors of Entry-Level Release

Nio executives confirmed that the company’s next model will launch next year. (Source: Nio)

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Nio has clarified that the new model to be launched next year will maintain the brand’s high-end positioning, ending speculations that Nio would launch a less expensive entry-level car.

At the opening ceremony of a Nio House in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China’s northernmost province on Sunday, Nio Co-founder and President Qin Lihong revealed “Gemini” as a new high-end electric vehicle to be released in 2022.

Ma Lin, Nio’s corporate public relations director, added in a Weibo post that the Gemini project will still target the premium market.

“Let me clarify that this will not be a budget product. Nio will maintain its high-end positioning,” Ma said.

Last month, Nio’s contract manufacturer Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC) announced a bid for the construction of an assembly line for the project, sparking speculations that Nio would launch an entry-level model. According to the statement, annual production capacity is expected to be 60,000 units.

Currently, Nio makes three vehicle models at its Hefei plant: the ES8, a 6-seater or 7-seater flagship premium SUV; the ES6, a 5-seater high-performance premium SUV; and the EC6, a 5-seater premium coupe SUV. The models are priced at no less than 350,000 yuan ($54,700).

However, during the company’s annual earnings conference call in March, CEO William Li had also said that the brand will “not exclude the possibility of entering the mainstream market,” while noting the highly competitive nature of the segment.

New York-listed Nio delivered 6,711 vehicles in the month of May, a jump of 95% year-on-year, although the number was down 5% from April.

The company said vehicle deliveries last month were “adversely impacted” for several days by the volatility of semiconductor supply and certain logistical adjustments. However, Nio is confident it will be able to accelerate the delivery in June to make up for the May delays, reiterating its delivery target of 21,000 to 22,000 vehicles for the second quarter of 2021.

As of May 31, cumulative deliveries of Nio’s three models reached 109,514 units.

At the same time, the company is accelerating its international expansion, picking Norway as the brand’s first overseas market. They will start delivering the latest version of their ES8 electric flagship SUV in the Scandinavian country this September.

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At the event on Sunday, Qin added that the models that Nio will be exporting to Norway have already rolled off the assembly line and will be shipped from Shanghai soon. The company is currently pushing ahead with preparations for its Nio Day 2021, an annual event for the automaker to unveil new models and technologies. Its first flagship sedan, the Nio ET7, was unveiled at this year’s Nio Day on Jan 9.

The company hosts the event in a different city each year, determined through a vote by Nio users.