Chinese EV maker Nio has officially announced its foray outside of mainland China, choosing Norway as the brand’s first market overseas.
Nio will start delivering the latest version of its ES8 electric flagship SUV in the Scandinavian country this September, the company said on Thursday. The ET7, the brand’s first electric sedan which will be available to customers in the first quarter of 2022 in China, will launch in the Nordic nation in the second half of 2022.
“We chose Norway as Nio’s first overseas market because it is a sustainable and innovative country and these values resonate with our vision,” founder and CEO William Li said at a press conference.
Battery electric vehicles (BEV) made up 54.3% of all new cars sold in Norway in 2020 – a global record – according to the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV).
In March, electric vehicles accounted for 56% of all new cars registered in Norway, up 23.7% from the same month in 2020. The country, aiming to become the first nation to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2025, has introduced tax exemptions and certain driving privileges for electric vehicles.
Nio is planning to directly build its sales and service networks and establishing its first Nio House outside China. The 2,150-square-meter hub, combining the brand’s showroom and a members-only clubhouse, will be located on Karl Johans gate, the main street of Oslo.
“Nio will bring its joyful lifestyle to local users by building a community starting with vehicles. We will all share joy and grow together,” said Nio Norway General Manager Marius Hayler, who joined the brand in March, bringing along 25 years of experience in the automotive industry.
The EV maker will also bring its charging and swapping system by building four batter-swap stations in Norway this year, with more stations to be built across five cities in 2022.
The brand’s pioneer battery-as-a-service concept allows users to rent a battery for their vehicle instead of purchasing one. The power swap technology is enabled by over 1,200 patents, and it takes only three minutes to swap a fully charged battery, according to Nio.
Its lifestyle brand, Nio Life, will also make its debut in Norway via collaboration with two Norwegian artists, Anette Moi and Sandra Blikas. At this year Shanghai Auto Show, the firm announced Blue Sky Lab, a sustainable fashion project that recycles leftover materials from car manufacturing such as airbags, seat belts, microfiber, leather and aluminum to create fashion products.
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In China, Nio delivered 7,102 vehicles in April 2021, representing 125.1% year-over-year growth. The company last week posted better than expected first-quarter results, despite being forced to halt production in late March due to the global semiconductor shortage.
Revenues for the three months that ended on Mar 31 climbed 482% from a year ago and 20% quarter-on-quarter to 7,982 million yuan ($1,218 million), according to the firm’s Q1 results announced on Thursday.
Vehicle revenues, which account for 93% of the company’s total, came in at 7,406 million yuan ($1,130 million), representing a 450% year-on-year increase.
The company attributes this performance to higher deliveries achieved by offering a more diverse product mix to consumers, the expansion of sales networks and the slow-down of vehicle sales in the pandemic-hit first quarter of 2020.
Currently, Nio makes three vehicle models at its Hefei plant. Among them, the ES8, a 6-seater or 7-seater flagship premium SUV; the ES6, a 5-seater high-performance premium SUV; and the EC6, a 5-seater premium coupe SUV.
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