William Li, the founder, chairman, and CEO of NIO, recently visited SAIC-GM-Wuling, the maker of China's best-selling electric vehicle, the Mini EV.
Li visited SAIC-GM-Wuling's new energy assembly plant and test drove its new model, the Baojun KiWi EV, the company said in a post on its WeChat account Thursday.
Li praised the KiWi EV as an intelligent car that is original, technological and futuristic, according to the article.
"For NIO owners, the second car in the family should be something like the KiWi EV, stylish, young and fun," Li was quoted as saying in the post.
(The first person from the right is William Li. Source: SAIC-GM-Wuling)
SAIC-GM-Wuling is a joint venture between SAIC Group, General Motors and Liuzhou Wuling Automobile, headquartered in Liuzhou City in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The company's Mini EV is the hottest-selling electric vehicle in China, with 30,706 units sold in July, ranking first in China's new energy vehicle market for 11 consecutive months since its launch, according to the company.
Pre-orders for the SAIC-GM-Wuling Baojun-branded new energy vehicle KiWi EV began Wednesday, with the vehicle offered in two versions, a base version priced at RMB 69,800 ($10,768) and a premium version priced at RMB 78,800.
This price is approximately double that of the SAIC-GM Wuling Hongguang Minni EV, which is priced at RMB 28,800 - RMB 43,600.
The KiWi EV is equipped with on-board 220V power pickup, a feature rarely seen in traditional mini new energy vehicles, ESC electronic stability system, HHC hill climb assist, automatic parking, rear reverse radar, and tire pressure monitoring.
The car supports Baojun Telematics 2.0 system, which integrates intelligent voice interaction, App reservation charging, App remote control, cell phone Bluetooth key, OTA remote online upgrade and other functions.
Previously, there were media reports that NIO would create a new brand to enter the mass market, and the market where the Phase II Mini EV is located was under consideration.
But Li said during NIO's second-quarter conference call on Thursday that while the new brand is aimed at the mass market, the company will not enter the Mini EV's market either.
Li said the relationship between the NIO brand and the new brand is similar to that between Lexus and Toyota, and Audi and Volkswagen.
(Photo source: SAIC-GM-Wuling)