BERLIN (Reuters) – Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Nio will launch its cheaper Firefly brand in Europe in 2025, its president said on Friday.
Both the Firefly and Alps brands will produce cars for families, with Firefly offering smaller models, Lihong Qin said in a news conference online.
He did not give details of pricing for the two brands.
A wave of Chinese EV makers are expanding in Europe as demand slows at home and they look to capitalise on a cost advantage versus Western rivals, which have been slower to adopt the new technology. The European Union, however, is investigating Chinese EV imports to see if they breach competition rules.
Nio, which currently competes with EVs offered by premium carmakers like BMW, and Mercedes-Benz at a price point above 298,000 yuan ($42,000) in China, has been facing expanding losses as a price war started by Tesla weighed on its profitability.
The company has laid off 10% of its workers, is considering spin-offs of units such as its battery manufacturing business, and has formed partnerships to help fund ventures such as battery swapping as it looks to cut costs.
The partnerships – struck in November with Geely and state-owned Changan Automobile – will involve building a new battery pack and chassis architecture together with the carmakers to use as a blueprint for future partners, Qin said.
Nio has since signed a third partnership agreement, but it is too soon to disclose details, he added.
($1 = 7.1001 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(This story has been officially corrected to say that the Firefly brand will launch in Europe in 2025, not 2024, in the headline and paragraph 1, and to remove the reference to the Alps brand coming to Europe in paragraphs 1 and 2)
(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, Zhang Yan; editing by Linda Pasquini and Mark Potter)