The Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio announced that in its first overseas foray, it will start delivering vehicles to buyers in Norway in September and will open a flagship store there in the third quarter.
Norway a promising but challenging European EV market
Competition in Europe is stiff for Chinese EV makers. Norway is a mature EV market with a number of European brands competing for share. It became the world’s first country where EVs outsold traditional combustion cars last year, with the market share of EVs growing to 54% from 42% in 2019. Hence, Norway is the first stage of Nio’s ambitious expansion plan for Europe, holding significant growth opportunities for the EV upstart. But it may prove to be a challenge because Nio has only sold cars to customers in China. Hence, much adaptation will be needed on its part to adjust according to European regulations, culture, and consumer appetites in a short timeframe.
During a press event in Shanghai, CEO William Li said that the Europe initiative will run at a loss over the short term as the company is at an early stage of investment. Le further added, “Nio didn’t set near-term sales targets for the Norway team, and instead we will pursue robust growth over the long term”.
Further Details for Nio
Marius Hayler, general manager of Nio Norway, announced during the event that in August Nio plans to start customer test drives of its large electric crossover – the ES8, in Norway. They plan to start taking orders and delivering cars to customers in September. Detailed information on pricing was not disclosed.
The company will adopt the same strategy as in its home market to win over Norway’s consumers, by creating a user community and premium experience with a direct retail and service network.
The first Nio House, its clubhouse-style retail showroom, will be open for business during the third quarter on Karl Johans Gate in downtown Oslo, with four smaller Nio Spaces stores expected to open for business in Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, and Kristiansand next year.
Local power infrastructure facilities will also be built by Nio in Norway from scratch. The plan is to first operate four battery swap stations in Oslo and surrounding areas by year-end. It is partnering with the European charging network Plugsurfing to widen customer access to more than 20,000 chargers.
The company expects to deliver more products looking ahead, including the ET7, a premium electric sedan scheduled for 2022, when its sales, service, and charging network expands in at least five Norwegian cities. Hayler said the local team will expand to 50 employees from 15 by year-end.