Although the car is tightly wrapped in camouflage, it can be seen looking similar to the X or Volkswagen's ID.3.

(Spy shots of what is suspected to be the first model of the Firefly sub-brand have been shared by HiEV.)

Nio (NYSE: NIO) is expected to launch a sub-brand codenamed Firefly first in Europe in 2025, and now spy shots of what is suspected to be the brand's debut model have been revealed for the first time.

Local media outlet HiEV shared four images on its Weibo page yesterday that it said could be the first spy shots of a model from "a sub-brand of one of the new carmakers."

HiEV didn't directly mention the Nio or Firefly, but the texts it shared clearly implied it was Firefly. Local automotive media outlet Yiche cited the images in a report last night as saying that they were spy shots of Firefly's first model.

While the car is tightly wrapped in camouflage, it can be seen to look similar to the Zeekr X or Volkswagen's ID.3, HiEV said, adding that they've heard that the car's actual dimensions are a bit smaller than either of those.

"The model is positioned as a younger, sportier small car with good handling, and the new sub-brand favors a cuter look compared to the main brand's luxurious, decent proposition," HiEV wrote.

The sub-brand's offerings are positioned similarly to the relationship between Mercedes-Benz and Smart, and BMW and Mini, HiEV said.

"Given that the company had another sub-brand before this one targeting the price range of the RMB 200,000 ($27,830) class, this new sub-brand should be attractive in terms of price," HiEV said.

"The cost requirements (for the sub-brand) that we have learned from suppliers last year also validate this," HiEV said.

Nio management first confirmed in August 2021 that the company would enter the lower-priced mass market with a sub-brand, and referred to the internal codename as Alps in subsequent communications.

On January 26, 2023, Nio co-founder and president Qin Lihong said that in addition to Alps, another Nio sub-brand, codenamed Firefly, was in the planning stages and would be delivered first to European consumers.

On December 15, Reuters cited Qin as saying that Nio will launch the Firefly brand in Europe in 2025, offering smaller models.

Alps is seen to be aimed primarily at the market priced at RMB 200,000-300,000, while the Firefly brand is expected to target the market priced within the RMB 200,000 range.

Trial production of Alps' first model is scheduled to begin in July, with the launch and start of deliveries expected in the second half of the year, local media outlet 36kr said in a February 5 report, citing several people familiar with the matter.

($1 = RMB 7.1863)

Nio sets up parts firm in Chuzhou, possibly for Firefly brand

Become A CnEVPost Member

Become a member of CnEVPost for an ad-free reading experience and support us in producing more quality content.

Become A Member