Nio has an MPV model planned for its third-generation NT 3.0 platform, but the launch won't be anytime soon, the company's management said in a user communication.
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Nio (NYSE: NIO) will launch an MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) model based on its next-generation technology platform, its executives said, marking the first time the company has revealed plans to enter the market.
Nio will not launch an MPV based on its current Nio Technology 2.0 (NT 2.0) platform, but has plans for an MPV on the company's third-generation NT 3.0 platform, its management said yesterday.
However, the launch of Nio's MPV model will not be anytime soon, the company's management said.
Nio signed a battery swap business cooperation agreement with Chongqing Changan Automobile in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing yesterday, and executives including its founder, chairman and CEO William Li, and co-founder and president Qin Lihong later held a user communication at a local Nio House.
It was during that communication that Nio's management revealed about plans to launch an MPV model, according to the minutes of the meeting shared on the Nio App by a user who attended the event.
Over the past few years, calls that Nio should launch an MPV model have come up from time to time.
Days before the Nio Day 2021 event was held on December 18, 2021, there were rumors that Nio might launch an MPV model at the annual event.
However, this did not become a reality and Nio only launched the new sedan ET5 at that time.
In an interview with local media on December 19, 2021, Li said Nio was actively looking at how to position the MPV model and that the company will definitely have one such vehicle in the long run, but it was not a high priority.
"At the moment we are not looking at MPVs as a strategic model. Of course, we will definitely enter the market segment, the key is when and what the positioning is, we haven't figured that out yet," Li said at the time.
Over the past few years, several Chinese new energy vehicle (NEV) makers have launched MPV models, including Zeekr's 009, Denza's D9 and Voyah's Dreamer, to meet the demand for more space for families as well as business customers.
Xpeng's all-electric X9 MPV will be officially launched in December, with deliveries starting in January, while Li Auto's Li Mega MPV, its first all-electric model, will also be officially launched in December, with deliveries starting in late February.
It's worth noting that MPVs have previously been a niche market in China, although new players may make the market space larger.
In October, retail sales of MPVs in China amounted to 92,473 units, contributing only 4.55 percent of all passenger car retail sales, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).
As a comparison, retail sales of sedans and SUVs amounted to 933,454 and 1,005,882 units in October, contributing 45.94 percent and 49.51 percent of passenger car sales, respectively.
Apart from the plans for the MPV model, Nio management also mentioned part of the strategy for the sub-brand codenamed Alps in yesterday's communication.
Alps will strive to build models that are expected to be hot sellers and can execute a flexible strategy without much concern outside the Nio brand, according to the minutes of the meeting.
Additionally, Nio's management mentioned that the company's cash increased in the third quarter and gross margin improved significantly, according to the minutes.
Nio announced yesterday that it will report its unaudited financial results for the third quarter on Tuesday, December 5, before the US markets open. It delivered 55,432 vehicles in the third quarter, slightly above the lower end of its guidance range of 55,000 to 57,000 vehicles.
Nio's gross margin was 1.0 percent in the second quarter, lower than the 13.0 percent recorded in the same period last year and lower than the 1.5 percent recorded in the first quarter.