Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio (NYSE:NIO) launched its first overseas presence in Norway on Thursday. The firm said during the presentation that it plans to deliver ES8 SUVs as early as September and that it will inaugurate its Nio House showroom in the third quarter.
Nio also said it will build a direct sales and post-sales service network in the country, and expects to bring its first battery swap stations online before the end of this year.
Norway is a reasonable choice for its first overseas stop as recharging facilities are already widespread in the country. EVs account for about half of all vehicle sales in Norway. Nio will only need to build “several” battery swap stations for its customers across the entire nation, said Zhang Xiang, an auto analyst with the North China University of Technology.
In July, BYD launched its Tang electric SUV in Norway, while EV maker Xpeng delivered its first 100 G3 SUVs in the Nordic country in December. Nio might also have other motives. “Nio’s entry is still more a strategic move to justify its market capitalization, being the most valuable EV maker in China that didn’t run an international business, rather than for financial returns from vehicle sales,” Zhang told KrASIA.
“As an NYSE-listed company, Nio needs to tell international stories to investors worldwide,” said Hao Yan, an auto analyst and blogger. Zhang added that it will be hard for Nio to build scale in Norway, when it hasn’t made any profits at home after delivering more than 100,000 vehicles. Toyota and Volkswagen, for instance, expanded overseas only after their domestic business matured.
Zhang also expects Nio to encounter obstacles in Europe as it is still a lesser-known brand on the continent compared to BBA—Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi—which offer hybrid and fully electric vehicles.