Qin Lihong mentioned this in the NIO App in response to a user suggestion that NIO should offer consumers an additional option in Europe.
(Image credit: NIO)
NIO co-founder and president Qin Lihong said the company is considering starting to sell vehicles in Europe, echoing previous statements made by founder, chairman and CEO William Li.
In an article posted on the NIO App yesterday, the electric vehicle company announced that it was starting ET7 deliveries and test drives in Europe.
In the comments section of the article, a user suggested that NIO should allow the purchase of vehicles in Europe to give consumers an additional option.
In response to the suggestion, Qin said, "Yes. (We) are considering starting sales."
(A screenshot of the NIO App. The highlight is ours.)
Qin did not mention a specific timeline, though a Twitter user said earlier this week that the NIO president, speaking with local users in the Netherlands, said that would happen before Christmas.
Lihong Qin (co founder, director and president) was in Cuijk today to open the journey in the Netherlands. Very approachable, open and honest.
“We have listened to our users, soon we will add the option to buy and own a car in Europe, before Christmas”
— NIO Shareholders Netherlands (@NetherlandsNio) October 16, 2022
NIO held its NIO Berlin launch event on October 7 European time, introducing its three latest models -- the ET7, EL7 and ET5 -- to European consumers. The EL7 is known in China as the ES7.
Unlike the vehicles it sells directly in China and Norway, NIO offers a service it calls NIO Subscription in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden that only allows local consumers to lease vehicles, not buy them.
Notably, the move was subsequently met with much skepticism, with Li saying in an October 10 post on the European version of the NIO App that the company had underestimated the enthusiasm of many users for buying NIO cars and said it was open to the buy option.
NIO started with subscriptions in the four countries so that the team could focus more on one business model at the beginning, Li said at the time, adding that it was also the most effective way for a new team entering a new market to not compromise the user experience.
NIO is open to the buy option and will prepare further, Li previously said.
In a research note sent to investors on October 13, Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu's team, which was on site for the NIO Berlin event, said the leasing option offered by NIO is sensible and expects the company to offer an outright purchase option at some point.
Leasing is prevalent in Europe, as are B2B fleet sales of high-end cars, Yu's team said, adding that they also suspect that some buyers are naturally concerned about the residual value of a new brand, so they will avoid outright purchases.
"The monthly subscription option could be more of a tool for customers to try out the car for short period of time," the team said.