Some auto bloggers on Weibo said NIO is gearing up for deliveries of the new ES6, which could start even as soon as the launch event is over.
NIO (NYSE: NIO) is counting down to the launch of the new ES6, with the model that will be key to reversing its weak sales trend less than eight hours away from its official launch.
Visitors to NIO's website can see the countdown, and as of press time, the launch event for the new ES6 is 7 hours, 30 minutes, and 30 seconds away.
The launch event of the new ES6 will begin at 7:00 pm Beijing time on May 24 (7:00 am US Eastern time on May 24), and viewers will be able to watch a live video stream on channels including the NIO App, NIO.com, and NIO Weibo.
NIO announced on May 16 that test drives of the new ES6 will be available starting on launch day and deliveries will begin on May 25.
This will be NIO's fastest model from official launch to delivery, as its local peers, including Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI), have proven that efficient delivery is critical to success in the highly competitive Chinese EV market.
Some auto bloggers on Weibo said that NIO is already preparing for deliveries of the new ES6, which could start even at the end of the launch event.
NIO originally said deliveries of the new ES6 would start on May 25, but because buyers want to get their hands on the new car as soon as possible, deliveries could start tonight, according to Wu Ying, an auto blogger with 970,000 followers on Weibo.
"What I know so far is that there are already a few cars in Shenzhen that are being readied and will be available for delivery at the end of the launch tonight," he said.
(Image credit: Wu Ying on Weibo)
Notably, NIO has not yet announced the price of the new ES6, which is expected to be below RMB 400,000 yuan ($56,700).
NIO gave the new ES6 its debut on the first day of the Shanghai auto show on April 18, when it began allowing consumers to pay an RMB 5,000 deposit to reserve the model.
On May 11, a large number of NIO App users received a push message from NIO containing a questionnaire asking them to vote on what they thought was a reasonable price for the new ES6.
NIO offered six options in that questionnaire: below RMB 368,000, RMB 368,000, RMB 378,000, RMB 338,000, RMB 398,000, and RMB 398,000 or more.
On May 20, NIO announced that the new ES6 show cars were available at nearly 300 NIO stores in 92 cities.
On May 22, it said the model was available in more than 330 NIO stores in 100 cities.
NIO's showrooms include the flagship NIO Houses as well as the smaller NIO Spaces, and they numbered 110 and 270 in China, respectively, as of April 30, according to data it released on May 1.
NIO released its first-generation ES6 in December 2018 and began delivering the model in China in June 2019.
Available data for 2022 show that from January to August, 32,877 ES6 units were delivered, contributing 46 percent of NIO's total deliveries of 71,556 units for the period.
The wait for the new ES6 by potential consumers may have depressed NIO's deliveries.
In the first three weeks of May, insurance registrations for NIO vehicles were 3,700, according to data from earlier this month.
($1 = RMB 7.0554)
China NEV insurance registrations for week ending May 21: Li Auto 7,100, XPeng 1,500, NIO 1,400