The second-biggest investor in Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Baillie Gifford & Co has taken an 11.4% stake in Shanghai-based electric-vehicle maker NIO Limited (NYSE:NIO), which has billed itself as a potent rival to Tesla.
Baillie Gifford disclosed that it owns 85.3 million NIO shares in a regulatory filing Tuesday. The holding was worth about $515 million as of the close of trading Monday.
Turns out that Baillie Gifford is also the largest outside shareholder of Tesla stock, while CEO Elon Musk, Tesla’s largest shareholder, owns about 20% of the company.
The filing pushed shares of NIO up 9.8% to $8.12 in premarket trade Wednesday.
Naturally, the investment represents a vote of confidence in the Chinese electric-car maker which listed on the New York Stock Exchange in September through the sale of 160 million American depositary shares which raised approximately $1 billion.
Through the NYSE listing, NIO is building its war chest to take on Tesla, which is arguably the world’s No 1 global electric-vehicle maker.
The Chinese carmaker is already demonstrating a strong cost advantage. In December 2017, NIO launched the NIO ES8, a seven-seater electric SUV, at about half the price of Tesla's Model X in China. The ES8 is NIO's first mass-produced model for the China market and has a base price of 448,000 yuan (US$65,000).
As of July 31, 2018, NIO delivered 481 ES8s and had unfulfilled reservations for more than 17,000 ES8s with deposits, of which 4,989 reservations were made with non-refundable deposits.
It plans to launch a second lower-priced, five-seater electric SUV, the ES6, by the first half of 2019.
Contact Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]