There’s a lot of news to consider when it comes to China-based electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Nio (NYSE:NIO). Possibly, it’s good news that Nio is preparing to launch new EV models. On the other hand, the automaker doesn’t seem to be willing to lower its vehicle prices. This should concern any prospective NIO stock buyer.
Don’t get the wrong idea; there are reasons to be confident in Nio’s future prospects. For instance, the company demonstrated year-over-year vehicle delivery growth in 2023’s first quarter. Plus, as Larry Ramer pointed out, some reviews of Nio’s sedans have been quite positive.
As we’ll discuss in a moment, Nio is gearing up to expand its lineup of vehicles. Does this mean investors should jump into the trade right now? Not necessarily, as Nio’s refusal to compete with a more famous automaker on EV prices could prove to be a big mistake.
New EV Models Could Be Bullish for NIO Stock
To be fair and balanced, I can’t ignore seemingly bullish reports that Nio is getting ready to expand its EV offerings. Oddly, none of these reports are found on Nio’s news page. Still, they’re worth considering.
For starters, AutoCar reports that Nio plans to add the “second generation of its ES6 SUV” into the U.K. next year. Kris Tomasson, vice president of design at Nio, called this new ES6 model a “more evolved product” with styling that involved a “hybrid of SUV and saloon language.”
Next, Inside EVs stated that Nio intends to build upon the company’s “initial Europe success with a new lineup of affordable compact cars.” The ET5 wagon, Nio’s “first European model,” is set to “launch later this year.” Furthermore, a budget-friendly EV sub-brand, supposedly code-named “Firefly,” is “currently in development and will be launched in 2024.”
Additionally, Pandaily relays a Chinese-language report from TechWeb allegedly revealing Nio’s internal project code names. These include the aforementioned “Firefly,” which “will be composed of smaller models,” as well as “Alps,” which is “mainly aimed at the mid-end market.”
Nio Refuses to Compete With Tesla on EV Prices
Whether Nio’s upcoming EV models are successful remains to be seen. Overall, though, it’s probably good news that Nio is making an ambitious move into the European market.
However, this isn’t enough to make me feel bullish about NIO stock right now. My problem is that Nio absolutely refuses to compete with Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) regarding EV prices. Inflation is a problem on multiple continents, and definitely in Europe. It would make sense for Nio to make its vehicles more affordable, but Nio’s management won’t budge.
Tesla’s series of price cuts has been well-documented. Meanwhile, Nio CEO William Li categorically declared, “For us, we will certainly not join the price war.” Moreover, Li evidently believes that Nio isn’t a “direct rival to Tesla because Nio’s cars are priced higher than Tesla’s,” and that Nio’s EVs “are superior to the Model 3 and Model Y in terms of design, technology and performance.”
Frankly, it strikes me as overconfident for Li to dismiss global automotive giant Tesla in this way. Tesla has widespread loyalty and brand-name recognition, and not everybody views Nio’s vehicles as “superior to” Tesla’s cars.
And again, Tesla deserves credit for demonstrating responsiveness to inflationary pressures. Hopefully, Li will change his attitude about the company’s EV prices soon, as he might be making a very costly mistake.
Now Is Not the Time to Buy NIO Stock
There’s actually a lot to like about Nio in 2023. The company’s ambitious foray into Europe could prove to be a major revenue source. Yet, one misstep could put Tesla in the fast lane and leave Nio on the side of the road.
Unless Nio reverses course and seriously considers more competitive EV pricing, I’m not prepared to recommend NIO stock. Still, monitoring the company and the stock for future developments is fine. You never know — Nio might change its plans, and Li might have a much-needed attitude adjustment.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.