Briefs | Chinese electric vehicle maker NIO comes out with big plans despite declining domestic car market

Chinese car sales were down for the first time since 1992 but new energy vehicles did surprisingly well.

Screenshot from Nio website.

Tencent-backed Chinese EV pioneer, NIO, announced the launch of its second production model, the ES6 SUV, which comes at a starting price of US$53,627.

The newer model is a smaller and lower-cost alternative to the ES8 which as a starting price of US$64,927. It has a host of improvements including a higher-capacity battery pack.

Nio’s ES8 only costs about half of Tesla’s Model X in China (US$126,470) and outshone Tesla in China with more than 2,059 units sold in October. Tesla only sold 211 units in the country in the same period.

NIO has sold a total of 9,726 of ES8 as of 15 Dec but the firm says there are almost 10,000 pending orders yet to be fulfilled. The release of the new ES6 model, however, might affect ES8 sales due to the significant decrease in price. According to NIO’s reports, it saw about 1,900 canceled orders between September and October.

Overall, there seem to be decent prospects for the EV market in China. The Chinese automotive industry this year saw the first annual decline in car sales since 1992. However, new energy vehicle sales were up 75.6% from the same period in 2017. Tesla is now building a factory in Shanghai with a production capacity of 500,000 units a year to cut tariffs and be able to offer a more competitive pricing.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad