The model would be a low-volume car, but may serve as a halo vehicle to generate excitement around the brand, Deutsche Bank said.

(The Eve concept on display at the April 2021 Shanghai auto show. Image credit: CnEVPost)

Nio (NYSE: NIO) management mentioned in yesterday's earnings call that the company will unveil an all-new flagship model on Nio Day 2023 later this month. In the view of analysts at Deutsche Bank, the model will likely be an ultra high-end sedan to compete with the Mercedes Maybach.

"Then at the end of Dec, the company will unveil its new flagship vehicle at Nio Day featuring the latest technologies. Our guess is this could be an ultra high-end sedan 'ET9' that would be comparable with Maybach," Edison Yu's team said in a research note sent to investors overnight.

It will be a low-volume car, but may serve as a halo vehicle to generate excitement around the brand, the team said.

Nio Day 2023 will be held on December 23 in Xi'an, Shaanxi province in northwest China, where Nio will unveil a new flagship model, William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of the electric vehicle (EV) maker, said yesterday.

The model will feature Nio's latest technological innovations and will become the global technology benchmark for smart EVs, leading the trend of smart EV technology, Li said.

Nio's current models on sale include the ES8, ES7, ES6, EC7, EC6, ET7, ET5, ET5 Touring, of which the first five are SUVs and the last three are sedans. The ES series are Nio's regular SUVs, the EC series are coupe SUVs, and the ETs are a sedan series.

In the Chinese automotive industry, if there is only a single number in a model name, then a bigger number means more premium.

Nio's most expensive model at the moment is the ES8, the flagship SUV that starts at RMB 498,000 yuan ($69,560). Its flagship sedan is the ET7, which currently starts at RMB 428,000.

On December 14, 2022, local automotive media outlet Auto Home reported that Nio's ultra-luxury sedan was in the design stage and will be priced in the RMB 1 million range.

The limousine, which will be operated under the Nio brand rather than a sub-brand, will compete with the Mercedes-Benz Maybach S-Class, the report said, citing an insider close to the project.

However, there has been no new information on Nio's efforts to build a ultra-luxury sedan in the past year.

In addition to the new flagship model, Nio is also expected to launch a sub-brand codenamed Alps and its first model in 2024.

Alps' first model has recently completed trial production of VB (Validation Build) state vehicles, and there's still plenty of time to optimize and improve it, Li said yesterday.

Nio's battery swap network will include both dedicated and shared networks, and the company will begin building a shared battery swap network next year, Li said, adding that the shared network will be available for both the Nio and Alps brands.

Alps models will not share a sales network with the Nio brand, and will share a portion of the service network and service centers, Li said yesterday.

Yu's team expects the Alps model, which could launch in the fourth quarter of next year, to contribute 20,000-25,000 deliveries to Nio, bringing the EV maker's full-year 2024 deliveries to 205,000 units.

($1 = RMB 7.1590)

Nio Day 2023 to be held on Dec 23 in northwest Chinese city Xi'an

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