NIO has accused a Douyin vlogger of spreading false information about its price discrimination against Chinese consumers.
(Image credit: CnEVPost)
NIO (NYSE: NIO) is taking increasingly tough measures to counter voices on social networks that damage its reputation.
The electric vehicle (EV) maker recently sued Cheshiji, a vlogger with 6.5 million followers on the short video platform Douyin, for allegedly spreading false information and violating its reputation, local media outlet Sina Tech reported yesterday.
NIO is demanding a public apology from the blogger on his Douyin homepage and compensation of RMB 2 million ($290,000).
In a video dated June 2, 2022, the vlogger said that NIO was price discriminating against Chinese consumers because the flagship SUV ES8 was priced at RMB 470,000 to RMB 630,000 in China, significantly higher than the model's approximate RMB 410,000 to RMB 460,000 price tag in Norway.
NIO said the vlogger improperly compared the ES8's prices in China including the battery to the model's prices in Norway without the battery, and deliberately ignored the fact that Norway exempts EVs from import duties and value-added tax.
These actions mislead the public into thinking that NIO is discriminating against Chinese consumers in terms of prices, NIO said.
The video received more than 330,000 likes, which NIO believes has had a serious negative impact on the company's brand reputation.
NIO believes that the vlogger deliberately made the inappropriate comparison knowing that NIO's models have prices that include batteries, as well as prices based on the Baas (battery as a service) business model, which is not a work error.
The vlogger was well aware of the differences between the two NIO purchase options and prices, and this evidence suggests that his actions to degrade NIO's brand image were intentional, the company said.
NIO said the base prices of its models are essentially the same worldwide, with the difference being that it takes into account factors including shipping costs, local taxes and operating costs in different regions.
It is the latest move by NIO to assert its brand image, which the company has rarely been tough about before.
Last month, another vlogger on the Douyin platform, Laotan Shuoche, was ordered to apologize and pay damages to NIO for spreading false information.
The blogger was found guilty of violating NIO's reputation rights and was required to publish an apology on his channel and pay financial damages of RMB 80,000.
($1= RMB 6.9121)