NIO will enter the mass market through a new brand, preparations for which have been accelerated and a core team has been established, William Li, the company's founder, chairman, and CEO, said on the second-quarter earnings call Thursday.
"The NIO brand has a similar relationship to the new brand as Lexus has to Toyota, and Audi has to Volkswagen," he said.
Li said NIO will launch the mass market brand hoping to be lower in price than Tesla, but the experience will surpass the latter.
The average price of all NIO models currently on sale is around RMB 400,000, much higher than Tesla.
The launch of the new brand means that NIO will compete head-to-head with the US EV maker in China. The current price of the Tesla Model 3 has an entry price of below RMB 250,000.
NIO is trying to expand its market size with a wider range of models. It said in its earnings announcement Thursday that it aims to deliver three products based on NIO Technology Platform 2.0 in 2022, including its flagship sedan ET7, which was released earlier this year.
Li said on the call that NIO will also launch an entry-level model next year, which will be the lowest-priced model under the NIO brand.