Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer NIO has taken the opportunity during its NIO IN 2023 innovation day event to clarify the discrepancies surrounding its European sales figures. Company co-founder and president Qin Lihong revealed that media reports significantly underestimate NIO's actual sales performance in Europe.
Despite NIO's presence in Europe, sales figures have been shrouded in confusion, partly due to limited transparency regarding operational details. The recent statement by Qin Lihong addresses these concerns and sheds light on the company's performance on the European continent.
In response to questions raised by local media, Qin Lihong refuted reports suggesting NIO sold 832 units in Europe during the first half of the year. He stated firmly that this figure was inaccurate, asserting that the real figures are three to four times higher than the reported number. This declaration serves to correct the record and offers a glimpse into NIO's more positive European sales performance.
Despite the positive correction, Qin Lihong expressed dissatisfaction with overseas sales, stating that they have fallen short of expectations. It's noteworthy that NIO's products command higher prices in Europe compared to China, attributable to various factors. Qin acknowledges that there is room for improvement in operational efficiency, and the company is actively working towards optimising its European operations.
One of the challenges cited by NIO's management is the underestimated difficulty of building essential infrastructure in Europe. Qin Lihong noted that progress has been sluggish, with Germany notably slower than China in granting approvals for the construction of battery swap stations, among other critical facilities.
NIO initiated its European journey in Norway, launching the ES8 on September 30, 2021. Subsequently, on October 7, 2022, NIO expanded its presence into Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden, introducing European customers to the ET7, EL7, and ET5 models.
Interestingly, NIO initially offered a service called “NIO Subscription” in these European countries, which allowed local consumers to rent vehicles rather than purchase them directly. This unconventional approach raised considerable controversy within the industry. However, NIO responded by offering the option to buy vehicles in these European markets from October 21, 2022, addressing some of the concerns surrounding its unique business model.
The intricacies of NIO's European business model have made it challenging to accurately gauge the company's sales performance in the region. Notably, vehicles under the NIO Subscription service in Europe are recognised as assets on the company's balance sheet but are not counted in the announced delivery figures.
NIO's clarifications regarding its European sales performance aim to provide a more accurate representation of the company's achievements on the continent. As the EV market continues to evolve, NIO's ongoing efforts to enhance its European operations will undoubtedly be closely watched by industry observers and enthusiasts alike.