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Tesla Challenger NIO Inc Reports its Highest-Ever Monthly Sales in June

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【Summary】Electric automaker NIO Inc is selling more vehicles than ever before as China’s auto industry rebounds from the pandemic and subsequent production shutdowns in 2022. NIO reported record sales for the month of June, which was the highest monthly total since the automaker delivered its first vehicle, the ES8 SUV, in 2018.

Eric Walz    Jul 01, 2022 10:00 AM PT
Tesla Challenger NIO Inc Reports its Highest-Ever Monthly Sales in June
The NIO ET5 electric sedan is poised to compete with the Tesla Model 3 in China when deliveries begin later this year. (Photo: NIO)

Electric automaker NIO Inc is selling more vehicles than ever before as China's auto industry rebounds from the pandemic and subsequent production shutdowns in 2022.  

NIO reported record sales for the month of June, which was the highest monthly total since the automaker began deliveries of its first vehicle, the ES8 SUV, in 2018. NIO's June sales were the first month that deliveries topped 10,000 vehicles since Dec 2021.

NIO reported deliveries of 12,961 vehicles in June, representing a 60% jump from a year ago. In May, NIO delivered 7,024 vehicles. 

NIO's best selling vehicle its now its mid-size ES6 SUV. The deliveries included a total of 8,612 SUVs,  5,100 ES6s, 1,684 ES8 SUVs, and 1,828 EC6s, as well as 4,349 units of NIO's flagship ET7 sedan.

The company's fifth vehicle, the ET5 sedan, was unveiled in Dec 2021 at the company's annual "NIO Day" event. The mid-size ET5 is poised to compete with the likes of the Tesla Model 3 and other similar electric sedans in China. 

Deliveries of the new ET5 are expected to start in September. 

As of June 30, NIO's total vehicle deliveries in 2022 were 50,827 units. Cumulative deliveries since 2018 reached 217,897 vehicles.

Like most of the world's automakers, NIO and its domestic rival XPeng Inc have been dealing with supply chain issues due to covid 19 lockdowns in China, as well semiconductor shortages. In the second quarter of 2022, NIO delivered a total of 25,059 EVs, which was a rising 14.4% YoY jump. However NIO's Q2 sales were down 2.8% compared to Q1.

On June 15, NIO officially launched its new NIO ES7, a fully-electric SUV that will compete with the Tesla Model Y and BMW's X5L SUV in China. Deliveries are scheduled to start on August 28.

With rising sales, NIO is becoming a bigger competitor to Tesla in China. The company also plans to launch a new EV brand offering even more affordable vehicles to better compete against the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y in the China market, said CEO and chairman William Bin Li, last week. The sub-brand will have an annual capacity of 500,000 electric vehicles a year.

The new brand's models would be priced between 200,000 yuan ($29,840) and 300,000 yuan ($44,750), which is around 10% cheaper than Tesla's Model 3 in China. The vehicles will also have swappable battery packs, according to Li.

For comparison, Tesla's Model 3 sedan starts at 279,900 yuan ($41,672) in China.

NIO's electric vehicles are uniquely designed, as the batteries can easily be removed in a highly automated process of one of the company's hundreds of battery swapping stations in China. The new ET7 SUV will also feature a swappable battery pack.

In April, the Financial Times reported that NIO was in talks to license its electric vehicle battery swapping technology to other automakers.

According to the Financial Times, NIO is currently in talks with both Chinese and international auto groups to open up its network of battery swap stations. NIO wants to sell the technology and infrastructure to other automakers in order to expand its use outside of China.

The battery swap stations are called "NIO Power". The entire swap process takes about 10 minutes. It offers a faster alternative of plugging in and waiting for the battery to charge, but also helps address the lack of convenient EV charging infrastructure.

NIO also offers a first-of its kind battery subscription plan for its electric vehicles. The automaker launched its "Battery-as-a-Service" (BaaS) monthly subscription plan in August 2020. It allows owners to pay a monthly fee for the battery that's separate from the vehicle's purchase price. The BaaS plan is designed to lower the upfront purchase price of the vehicle, so its more affordable. 

The subscription service helps to offset the cost of the battery pack, which is the most expensive component of any electric vehicle and adds thousands of dollars to the sticker price. It also gives NIO a price advantage over Tesla in China.

NIO received approval to sell its fully-electric ES8 SUV in Europe in June 2021, beginning with Norway, its first overseas market. The country has the highest EV adoption rate in the world, with approximately 75% of all new cars being fully-electric or hybrid vehicles.

NIO is also reportedly looking to build an EV factory in the U.S. based on job listings posted in China by the company, news outlet Gasgoo reported in May.

According to the job ads, the positions NIO is recruiting for include "overseas manufacturing park planning specialists", "car body process specialists for overseas projects", "overseas planning and infrastructure specialists" and "overseas logistics project managers".

The job description shows that candidates for overseas manufacturing park planning specialists are required to have experience in managing two or more complete master plan projects, at least one of which should be in the U.S.

The NIO job posting further requests that candidates should have sufficient knowledge of the U.S. state policies, design codes, and planning submission procedures, and be familiar with the process and master plan principles of the U.S., which shed some insight into NIO's plans.

NIO is also a U.S. listed company. The automaker launched its U.S. IPO in Sept 2018. The company's shares trade on the NYSE under the symbol "NIO".

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