An industry insider said the popularity of the ET5 is very similar to the China-made Model 3 when it first became available.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

For the Chinese auto market, it is rare for a new vehicle to be the focus of almost all mainstream media coverage after its release, and the NIO ET5 is one of them.

NIO unveiled its new sedan at NIO Day 2021 on December 18, and announced that the model is available for pre-order immediately, with attractive benefits for the first batch of pre-orders.

In an interview with local media on December 19, William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of NIO, said that the just-launched ET5 became the most pre-ordered model ever by NIO.

Li did not elaborate on this, but added that NIO's annual deliveries have maintained a 100 percent growth rate in recent years and are expected to maintain that pace next year.

The ET5 is NIO's second sedan after the flagship ET7, and the company's fifth production model.

The NIO ET5 has a pre-subsidy starting price of RMB 328,000 ($51,500), which will be reduced by at least RMB 70,000 if consumers opt for NIO's battery rental service BaaS.

With the lowest starting price of any NIO model, the ET5 is as powerful as the ET7 and is poised to replace the company's current best-selling ES6 SUV as the new hot seller when deliveries begin.

Li announced at the NIO Day event that the ET5 is available for pre-order immediately, with deliveries set to begin in September 2022. That speed is well ahead of the ET7, which was launched on January 9, with deliveries not due until the end of the first quarter next year.

Minutes after Li announced that the ET5 was available for pre-order, some users began complaining on social media that the NIO app was experiencing network delays. While some shared their pre-order screenshots, others complained that the NIO app crashed making it difficult for them to book in the first place.

In an article published on Sunday, local media outlet Auto-time quoted a NIO salesperson as saying that he alone had received dozens of pre-orders for the ET5.

Auto blogger @孙少军09, who has 150,000 followers on Weibo, said that NIO's sales staff got 15-20 orders per person and more than 60 percent of the orders came from repurchases.

The blogger also said that the popularity of the NIO ET5 is very similar to that of the China-made Tesla Model 3 when it first became available, which severely impacted sales of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class in Shanghai.

The Auto-time report also mentioned that NIO ES6 owner Xiao Liang did not hesitate to transfer his RMB 5,000 deposit on his P5, which is because the ET5 is better equipped despite its higher price.

A owner claimed on social media that the Zeekr salesperson who previously serviced him pre-ordered an ET5 himself, and said it was a worthwhile deal.

However, a Zeekr insider said the salesperson has long since left, according to Auto-time.

The pre-order deposit for the NIO ET5 is RMB 2,000. It is worth noting that this deposit is refundable at any time, and the deposit paid by consumers will be non-refundable when the model begins to officially accept reservations and lock in orders.

Those who pay the RMB 2,000 deposit to pre-order the ET5 today will receive a free Moon-themed exterior design package worth RMB 4,500 and orange calipers worth RMB 3,500.

The benefits are available for a limited time and NIO will announce the end date for them in the future.

Existing NIO owners, including those who have paid a deposit, will also enjoy exclusive benefits if they purchase the ET5 after obtaining delivery.

For ES8 Founding Edition owners, they will receive 50,000 NIO Credits after purchasing ET5 and getting delivery, which is equivalent to RMB 5,000 and can be used to shop at NIO Life online mall.

For non-ES8 Founding Edition users, they can get 30,000 NIO Credits after purchasing ET5 and getting delivery.

The first owner of the NIO ET5 has the following benefits:

10-year unlimited mileage warranty.

Free battery swap for life, up to 6 times per month.

Lifetime free in-car internet connection.

Free exclusive home charging pile.

Lifetime free roadside assistance.

NIO unveils new sedan ET5, a potential game changer