SHANGHAI - Nio plans to launch its first self-developed mobile telephone in late September, the Chinese electric vehicle maker said, aiming to improve the appeal of its cars with better software and connectivity.
It becomes China's latest automaker to join a trend of rolling out car systems that allow drivers to use their smartphones to remotely open doors, turn on air-conditioning or start their cars, among other functions.
Nio's founder and chief executive, William Li, was a key driver of the phone project, which the automaker is targeting mainly at drivers of its cars.
"Our phone business is not to compete with those phone makers," Li told investors in an earnings call late on Tuesday. "Instead, we would like to use the phone as a carrier to provide the best experience for our vehicle users."
As the smartphone trend fuels great demand for connectivity, from drivers, more automakers are seeking ways to stay ahead of the growing competition.
The founder of Zhejing Geely Holding acquired smartphone maker Meizu last year and the firms said they would integrate consumer electronics and travel.
Huawei Technologies has partnered with automakers, including Seres Group, to power EVs with its Harmony operating system.
But Nio's phone project has raised concern among some investors as the company battles widening losses and a sales slump amid a price war started by Tesla in January.
Nio posted a net loss of 6.12 billion yuan ($839.51 million) in the second quarter, versus a loss of 2.75 billion yuan in the corresponding period a year ago.
By the end of June, it held cash and cash equivalents of $4.3 billion and it received an investment of $1.1 billion in July from CYVN Holdings.
Li said Nio would launch the first model of its new EV brand targeting the mass market in the second half of 2024.