Chinese EV startup NIO wants to be one of the top five automakers in the world by sales by 2030, the company’s co-founder, chairman and CEO William Li said.
The outspoken executive made this comment and several other interesting statements in an interview with Germany's Heise Autos (via CnEVPost). In order to meet its ambitious objective, Li said that NIO will focus both on SUVs, which are currently in great demand, but also on smaller cars.
NIO sees the demand for smaller cars and that's why it has decided to set up a sub-brand that will offer cheaper models designed for the global market. Li previously said that the relationship between the new mass-market brand and the NIO brand will be similar to that between Toyota and Lexus, or Volkswagen and Audi. He also noted that NIO's new brand would undercut Tesla on pricing while offering a superior experience.
NIO's more affordable EVs will be arriving to market in two years, according to Li, leading to a rapid increase of sales that will propel the company to the top five car manufacturers in 2030 in terms of global sales.
Granted, this sounds overly ambitious for a company that only started delivering cars four years ago and has yet to turn a profit. Asked when will NIO become profitable, the CEO replied that it will happen much faster than it did for Tesla.
Gallery: Nio ES7
"As a startup, it takes a while to be profitable. We have invested a lot in the development of our cars and infrastructure and thus in the future. We have a well-coordinated plan to generate profits step by step. It took Tesla 16 years to become profitable. This will be the case much faster with NIO."
Speaking of Tesla, William Li said the US company is a respectable automaker, and NIO can learn a lot from them, such as direct sales or how they have trimmed their production for efficiency. However, he believes they are two different companies as Tesla focuses on technology and efficiency, while NIO focuses more on the user.
While he acknowledged Tesla's role in pushing the auto industry to transition to EVs, NIO's head honcho said the US company is under pressure to improve its products and provide good service. If they fail to do that, "then they will quickly be pushed out of the market."
Li says achieving success in the automotive industry is like running a marathon, which requires staying power. "You don't win in the first few kilometers, but in the last few. We are at the beginning and will only know in ten years whether we will really be successful."
Inevitably, NIO's boss was asked about his opinion on Tesla's CEO, more specifically the difference between him and Elon Musk. "That I write my Facebook posts myself in order to communicate directly with our users and not just make a Twitter statement. Besides, I'm the better dancer…"
Source: Heise Autos via CnEVPost