Note: NIO has denied the rumor as untrue. See an updated report on August 3 here:
Original report on on August 2:
NIO will start mass production of a model called ES7 in June 2022, under the previously revealed project codenamed Gemini, mydrivers.com reported Monday.
The model will be produced at NIO's Hefei plant with a four-year lifecycle and a target production of 60,000 units per year, the report said, citing an image that has been circulating on the Internet.
It is not yet possible to judge the credibility of the image, but NIO applied for the NIO ES7 trademark on May 13 this year.
NIO is currently selling three SUVs - ES8, ES6, and EC6 - and its sedan ET7, released earlier this year, will begin deliveries in the first quarter of next year.
From the company's existing model naming, the ES7 should be a new SUV positioned between the ES8 and ES6.
On May 25, CnEVPost reported that a tender announcement issued in early May by NIO's OEM JAC Motors was widely reported by Chinese auto media, sparking speculation that NIO would launch an entry-level model.
The announcement, made on May 10, showed JAC soliciting bids for the construction of a production line for JAC-NIO's 60,000-unit-per-year model codenamed "Gemini.
In early June, the company's co-founder and president Qin Lihong told local media after the opening of the NIO House in the northern Chinese city of Harbin that "Gemini" is the code name for a new NIO product to be launched next year.
Qin did not disclose more details, but Ma Lin, senior director of corporate communications at NIO, added on Weibo that "Gemini" will not be a low-end product, and the NIO brand will maintain its high-end positioning.
As for NIO's mass-market model, 36kr reported on Friday that Ai Tiecheng, former general manager of WeWork Greater China, has joined NIO to take charge of the company's mass-market sub-brand the new model could be released in the first half of next year at the earliest.
Ai takes on the role of vice president of strategic new business, reporting directly to NIO CEO William Li, the report said, citing sources familiar with the matter, adding that the new business Ai oversees at NIO is the sub-brand.
The so-called sub-brand is a mid- to low-end brand launched by NIO independent of the NIO brand and expected to be priced in the 150,000 yuan ($23,200) - 250,000 yuan market, the report said.
However, a source familiar with the matter said, "Li also takes the positioning of the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV (priced at around RMB 30,000) into account."