A shipping document posted on Reddit shows that NIO sent a total of 40 tons of cargo to the United States, sparking speculation that the Chinese electric car maker may be setting up a showroom in the country.
The information posted by the user nicknamed deepilt shows four shipments, all starting on February 4, from Shanghai-based NIO Co Ltd.
The weight of these shipments were 7,500 kg, 5,000 kg, 15,000 kg and 12,500 kg, respectively. Their product descriptions are rather vague, and it is difficult to tell exactly what the products are.
The user also posted the following text:
NIO Showroom in USA? What do you think of these huge shipments to USA? NIO possibly opening up a Showroom in San Jose? Or some Auto show? Engineering sample being sent to USA!
Regarding the source of this information, the user states, " I work for a subcontractor company that supplies shipping containers, cranes, forklifts and so on. We use this database for our internal info (not important). I stumbled upon this."
The comment below this post that received the most upvote said, " Possibly sending vehicles to be inspected tested and prepared for OTA regulated etc. basically test dummies for Silicon Valley. That's my guess. Just like u said engineering samples."
An NIO spokesperson told CnEVPost that they would not comment on market rumors.
NIO went public on the NYSE in September 2018. Back in January 2018, shortly after the launch of NIO's first production car, the ES8, then-NIO CFO Louis Hsieh said that NIO cars would be sold in the US in 2020. However, that plan was not realized.
On July 24 last year, William Li Bin, founder of NIO, said in response to a question about whether he planned to enter overseas markets, "Now I should say that we are close to thinking clearly and have started to gradually enter the state of execution, which means we are starting to prepare our products and prepare our personnel."
These years a lot of Chinese car companies to expand in overseas markets have done well, but not yet into Europe, the United States, or in some non-mainstream markets and regions, Li said, adding that " NIO's car positioning is relatively high-end, we definitely want to enter the mainstream high-end market, mainly in Europe and the United States."
In November last year, Chinese media reported that NIO had made substantial progress in entering overseas markets and had set up an export business team, while internally launching a "Marco Polo Plan" for this purpose.
NIO's plan to go abroad will start from the European market, with the first stop in Copenhagen, Denmark, the report said.
In an interview with several English-language media, including CnEVPost, Li said on January 10 this year that the center screen navigation map shown at the launch of its first sedan, ET7, revealed the information of entering overseas markets.
And when CnEVPost checked the center screen picture on the ET7 introduction page, it found that the address shown in the picture seemed to be Karl Johans gate in Oslo, Norway, although it was very blurry.
Li said at the time that NIO's entry into overseas markets would start with Europe first, due to the consensus on the importance of electric vehicles and environmental protection in Europe, "The proportion of electric vehicle sales in Europe rose very quickly last year, over 50% in Norway, which is very good."
At the end of January, NIO co-founder and president Qin Lihong said in a speech that NIO hopes to enter overseas markets in 2021 if the global Covid-19 pandemic does not deteriorate significantly.
Earlier this month, NIO created an open position for a mid-to-senior-level executive who is expected to lead a team to expand its business in the US market.
The Job responsibility mentioned the person need to "formulate an action plan to enter the US market and pull through the cluster resources in the headquarters based on key deliverables."