Electric vehicle start-up NIO has announced it will launch an affordable electric car brand specifically tailored for European tastes in 2024. According to various reports, the new brand will initially target buyers of smaller mass-market cars. NIO all but ruled out selling into Germany where sales of premium brands such as Audi, Mercedes, and BMW are too strong to compete with. NIO will focus its sales strategy in France, Spain and Italy where it can be sure of getting a foothold in the mass car sales territory due to ever-shifting consumer tastes.
The NIO premium electric car brand will continue its sales push into Europe after debuting in Norway last year. Uptake of electric cars in Norway where sales of electric cars hit a 65-percent market share in 2021 totals up to two-thirds of all new car sales. However NIO has a long way to go to match the popularity of Tesla, NIO sold its 500th car in May, a fractional milestone but a milestone nonetheless.
NIO’s sales land grab in Europe will include Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. The large premium sedan, the ET7, will be built on the company’s all-new NT2 platform. Sales will begin this month (October 2022) and will be followed by the mid-size ET5 sedan which will be followed by a large SUV, the EL7 in March 2023.
NIO’s unique product offering is the swappable battery, which is leased to customers. NIO cars require a battery swap station, the company will initially build 20 European battery stations by the end of the year rising to over 120 by fall 2023. Nio has delivered over 250,000 cars since it began production in 2018. The overwhelming majority of cars are sold to its home customer base in China.
NIO is one of a number of Chinese car brands seeking to expand into Europe joining key competitors such as BYD, Xpeng and Geely.