Compared to the brand and the ALPS project, Firefly models will have weaker smart driving features, but will still have a significant intelligence advantage over European carmakers' products, according to local media.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

NIO's (NYSE: NIO) sub-brand internally codenamed Firefly will have a separate factory in Anhui province, but it's not yet known in which city it will be located, local media Yicai said today, citing an insider involved in the project.

Earlier today, Cailian reported that NIO's fourth vehicle assembly plant will be located in Chuzhou, Anhui province, and will produce Firefly models, echoing a previous report by CnEVPost.

The plant integrates the former factory of the defunct automaker Leopard, with more information likely to be announced in March-April, the report said, citing a Chuzhou government source in charge of recruiting business investment.

Unlike the NIO brand and the ALPS project, the Firefly project's models will be developed on a new, independent platform, according to Yicai.

The Firefly models will be sold first in Europe, targeting the market where the Volkswagen POLO is in, the report said, citing the insider, adding that like NIO's other products, they will support battery swap and battery leasing.

Compared to the main NIO brand and the ALPS project, the Firefly models will have weaker smart driving features, but they will still have a clear intelligence advantage over European carmakers' products, the source said.

After the Firefly project takes shape, NIO will have at least three technology platforms.

The company is currently switching models based on the NT 1.0 platform to the NT 2.0 platform, while the ALPS project, aimed at a price tag of around RMB 200,000, will be based on the NT 3.0 platform, the Yicai report noted.

The main NIO brand's models are too large for European consumers, and the Firefly project's smaller models will be more popular there, Yicai quoted a new energy vehicle company executive as saying.

NIO is selling the ES7, ES6, EC6, ET7, ET5 and older ES8, and it launched two new models, the EC7 coupe SUV and the all-new ES8, at NIO Day 2022 on December 24, 2022, with deliveries to begin in May and June 2023, respectively.

Only the ET5 is currently produced at the company's F2 plant in NeoPark, while all other models are produced at the JAC NIO advanced manufacturing base, the F1 plant. Both plants are located in Hefei, Anhui province.

On January 26, NIO co-founder and president Qin Lihong said at a face-to-face communication with vehicle owners that NIO is preparing models for a sub-brand codenamed ALPS, with deliveries expected to begin within 2024.

The company's other sub-brand, codenamed Firefly, is also in the planning stages and will be delivered first to European consumers, Qin said.

A smaller model of NIO is in development and will debut in Europe and is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2024, according to Qin.

NIO's F4 plant will be located in Chuzhou to produce models for Firefly sub-brand, report says