Opinion: the European arrival of Nio could herald a new era Car News

The news that Nio is set to start selling cars in Norway this year should come as no surprise: it always seemed a matter of when, rather than if, the company would expand internationally. This is in part because it always seemed a question of when, rather than if, a Chinese car brand would enter the European market. And Nio was apparently designed expressly for this.

Comparisons between Nio and Tesla have been overestimated, in part because they are easy to make: high-profile founders who have made millions from tech companies, high-profile stock quotes and, perhaps less positively. , financial problems generate constant profits.

The reality is more nuanced: Nio founder Williams Li essentially identified a gap in the Chinese market for a Tesla, a national company making high-end, high-tech electric vehicles. The company has been modeled on Tesla’s successes and on truly innovative technology, especially its smart battery swap stations that eliminate the need for long charges on highway trips.

It helps that Nio’s products are really good, as I can attest to by trying one while visiting the company a few years ago. They are certainly comparable with similar machines from Tesla or electric vehicles from high-end European companies such as BMW and Audi.

With a sales approach combining “Nio House” brand centers and online sales via a tailor-made application, Nio has found a decent niche.

But while focusing on China, Nio was careful to create a brand and image that can work elsewhere. There is no play on its Chinese heritage, and as a recent start-up, the company will not be weighed down by a legacy of producing “ Chinese to copy ” cars. Instead, Nio has a universal, translatable brand with a clear image that will appeal to different markets.

The company has already laid the groundwork in Europe, both through a British Tech Center and the EP9 supercar which set an EV record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife and wowed in its appearances at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

As a result of these efforts, Nio has built a certain brand identity here. From Norway, an approach taken by Chinese start-up Xpeng, also makes sense, given the dominance of electric vehicles in the country. There are a lot of opportunities there, and the possibility of building momentum before expanding elsewhere in Europe.

There are challenges, however. The shift to electric vehicles has resulted in an influx of new car brands, from stand-alone companies like Nio to spin-offs like Polestar, creating a challenge for new companies. And as more mainstream companies expand their EV offerings, shoppers can choose to stick with the brands they know.

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This notice was published: 2021-04-30 08:57:48