NIO revenues up in Q4 2023, Alps sub-brand to launch in Q2 with a Tesla Model Y competitor

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Chinese EV automaker NIO shared its Q4 2023 report today, followed by an analyst call that included some interesting updates about its plans for the year, expansion to new global markets, and the launch of not one but two EV sub-brands, including Alps.

NIO ($NIO) will be celebrating ten years of business this fall and, during that time, has trended upward as one of the leading EV automakers in China. In addition to developing luxury EVs like the ET7 and incoming ET9 (with the ability to shimmy), NIO has expanded to other adjacent technologies like chargers, battery swap stations, and even smartphones.

From a market perspective, NIO continues to expand out of its native China to markets in Europe and possibly the US in a year or two. After garnering billions in fresh funding in 2023, NIO sat poised to continue such expansions, including two new sub-brands, codenamed “Alps” and “Firefly.”

Earlier today, NIO shared its Q4 report, detailing the ups (and downs) of a challenging year, followed by a call with analysts that shared updates to its plans beyond China and the progress of launching the Alps brand, which has its sights set on Tesla from day one. Here’s the latest.

NIO-ET9-EV
Th new flagship NIO ET9 premium EV (Source: NIO)

NIO’s Alps brand to debut soon, first EV coming in Q3 2024

First, let’s start with the Q4 numbers. NIO reported RMB 17.1 billion ($2.38 billion) in revenue for Q4 2023, up 6.5% YOY but down 10.3% compared to Q3 2023. Gross profits for Q4 were RMB 1.28 billion ($177.8 million), up 105.7% year-over-year but down 16% compared to a quarter prior.

Losses were RMB 6.63 billion ($923 million), down 1.6% from Q4 2022 but up 36.8% compared to Q3 2023. Cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, short-term investment, and long-term time deposits totaled RMB 57.3 billion ($8 billion) as of December 31, 2023.

The automaker delivered 160,038 EVs in 2023, up 30.7% compared to 2022.

Looking ahead, NIO looks to bounce back in monthly sales, which should be bolstered by the launch of its new sub-brand Alps. Shout out to CnEVPost for sharing live updates of the call with analysts following the Q4 financial report. Here are the key takeaways:

  • NIO will begin selling Alps EVs in 2024 and another lower-priced brand (Firefly) in 2025. The automaker is also considering selling these new models in other global markets.
  • NIO intends to sell both its own brand and Alps brand EVs later this year.
  • NIO EVs will remain focused on the premium segment and the ET5 will remain its most affordable model.
  • NIO brand will not join the ongoing price war in China, and Alps will prioritize deliveries over gross margins.
  • Alps has been specifically built to target the highly competitive Chinese market and will utilize NIO’s existing R&D and infrastructure rather than start with a clean slate.
  • The Alps brand EVs will vary to suit different size families and will be priced competitively.
  • Alps’ first model will be a direct competitor to the Tesla Model Y, and its Bill of Materials (BOM) costs approximately 10% less than Tesla’s.
  • The Model Y competitor will be followed with an Alps SUV for larger families, expected to debut in 2025.
  • A third Alps model is in development, but NIO is not sharing any more details at this time.
  • Alps will officially launch in Q2 2024, with the Model Y challenger to follow in Q3 ahead of mass deliveries in China in Q4.
  • NIO believes as of now, Alps can deliver previously outlined cost levels but will begin with relatively smaller delivery volumes compared to NIO EVs. It is targeting about 10,000 units built per month.
  • Alps will have its own sales network of at least 200 locations but will share aftermarket service and battery swaps with the NIO brand.

Lastly, NIO said its immediate focus is on the Chinese market but will continue to explore expansions to other international markets. For example, NIO intends to enter markets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this year.

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