Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer NIO appears to be preparing to capture some market share from mainstream automakers like Volkswagen. According to recent reports, NIO plans to launch a competitively priced model for the European market at a price tag below 30,000 euros (about $33,060).
NIO’s chairman, William Li, reportedly confirmed this strategy in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel. Li, who is also the co-founder of the EV maker, acknowledged that this pricing strategy will put more competitive pressure on Volkswagen.
“Yes, in terms of price that means we are also attacking Volkswagen more strongly than before,” Li reportedly noted.
Previous reports have suggested that NIO is looking to establish a factory to produce lower-priced electric vehicles under a new brand. Exports to Europe could potentially start as early as next year, Reuters noted then.
Such a move would be quite ambitious for NIO, considering that the automaker has mostly competed in the premium electric vehicle segment. EV veterans such as Elon Musk have cautioned that transitioning from premium cars to mass-market vehicles is a difficult task, as learned by Tesla during the Model 3 ramp.
During the Shanghai Auto Show earlier this month, Li cautioned fellow Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers. He noted that Chinese automakers should be prepared for possible protectionist measures from foreign governments as they leverage their cost advantages to boost exports.
Li also estimated that his company and other Chinese EV makers have a cost advantage of up to 20% over competitors like Tesla. This was due to China’s strong presence in vehicle supply chains and raw materials for key electric vehicle components.
NIO is steadily becoming a more experienced automaker. Its recent strategies in China even echo some of fellow EV maker Tesla’s hardline legal approach. As per recent reports, NIO has taken a stand against alleged misinformation promoted by a social media influencer on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok. NIO is looking to secure a public apology from the influencer, as well as compensation of RMB 2 million ($290,000).
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