GAC-Nio open order book for Hycan electric SUV

GAC Nio New Energy Automobile Company (GAC Nio) this week began taking pre sale orders for its first mass produced vehicle under the newly launched Hycan brand.

GAC Nio, a joint venture between Chinese state owned GAC Group and electric vehicle start up Nio, first unveiled the Hycan electric vehicle brand in May 2019.

The 007 premium segment battery powered SUV will officially go on sale in April 2020, according to a company official, and will be produced in Guangzhou in Guangdong province.

It will join an increasingly crowded sector of China's electric vehicle market now occupied by Tesla, Byton, Nio and Xpeng, with BMW and Mercedes Benz also expected to step up new vehicle launches in the next two years.

China is the world's largest market for electric vehicles, with 1.04m new energy vehicle sales in the first 11 months of 2019 despite a sharp decline in the second half of the year. Most of these were battery powered vehicles.

Nio has struggled to establish itself as an independent manufacturer of electric vehicles with last year's sales amounting to around 20,000 units, including an estimated 8,000 in the fourth quarter of the year. This brought the company's cumulative sales tally since it began operations to 30,000 units.

The company had just US$274m in cash at the end of September 2019, however, which it described in its third quarter filing as insufficient to cover expected losses over the next year.

Co founder and president Qin Lihong said in a recent statement "we are in need of nothing but some money to tide us over". Among the company's shareholders are Chinese internet giants Tencent and Baidu, plus Temasek, Sequoia and Lenovo.

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