Hui Zhang

Simply Auto: 2021 was one other memorable 12 months for everybody and for all kinds of causes. We had a bumpy restoration from the worst of the Covid pandemic, however the automotive business was additionally hammered by a scarcity of semiconductor components. In what you are promoting, what stand out as the most important challenges you confronted this 12 months?

Hui Zhang: Clearly, latest occasions have had important influence throughout the business. NIO has been capable of climate the storm and get well nicely. Our online-to-offline (O2O) retail technique throughout the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic stemmed falling automotive gross sales that hit different manufacturers exhausting – NIO automotive orders dropped by simply 12 per cent in comparison with the market falling by 70 per cent. The semiconductor scarcity meant a brief halt to manufacturing in one in all our factories early this 12 months, however this was brief time period.

For NIO, the most important problem of 2021 has been pushing on with our gross sales technique and launching our model in Europe regardless of the problems affecting corporations worldwide. China has been an important marketplace for a model equivalent to NIO to develop, however our ambition is to be a really world firm. After saying our intention to enter the Norwegian market in Might 2021, we opened the doorways to NIO Home Oslo in September and commenced promoting the NIO ES8. Norway is our first market entry outdoors of China.

Whereas NIO has change into famend in China, as we enter new territories we face the problem of creating the model and attracting the very best expertise to proceed constructing the enterprise. NIO was based as a worldwide start-up with world values, so we’re nicely ready to help our rapidly-expanding groups in new markets. We now have a really worldwide really feel to the corporate with greater than 14,000 staff from round 50 totally different international locations. We’ve constructed a small however various European crew, with many attracted by NIO’s user-centric philosophy and know-how ideas. Our most up-to-date additions embrace studio administrators Joaquin Garcia and Alister Whelan: Joaquin joins us from SEAT and CUPRA, whereas Alister has over 20 years of expertise from Jaguar Land Rover.

JA: Any excessive spots or explicit successes you’d prefer to share?

HZ: Delivering NIO fashions to our first clients in Norway has been the spotlight of 2021 for the model in Europe. The primary batch of NIO vehicles left the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Port this summer season and arrived with clients in September. As an organization that has celebrated nice achievements in China, we really feel very proud to develop abroad and enter Europe.

Moreover, we’re excited to see the good reception NIO has acquired to date. An actual sense of group has already began to construct with NIO’s early adopters in Norway. Enjoying a key position in that is the NIO Consumer Advisory Board. Greater than 650 Norwegians utilized to change into members, with 200 chosen to help NIO’s integration into the market. They had been the primary to expertise the NIO ES8 and provided recommendation and strategies that helped form our service, providing and operations throughout the market.

JA: How are you feeling about 2022 – each when it comes to enterprise prospects and extra typically?

HZ: As we close to the top of 2021, we’re feeling very constructive about 2022: we’ve got tons within the planning. We’re excited to develop our presence in Europe; to introduce our model to new clients in new markets and empower a group of customers to share pleasure and develop collectively. Germany is a key territory for NIO, and we’re excited to share extra information on our European technique within the coming months.

Important to our model enlargement is our product and know-how providing, and we’re assured in each. In 2022 we count on to ship the NIO ET7 to clients – our first autonomous driving mannequin and good electrical flagship sedan. It’s a product we intention to carry to Europe within the close to future, too, beginning with Germany.

An necessary a part of the proprietor expertise for NIO is the holistic charging and battery swapping options. We’ve acquired approval from authorities in Norway to have our first Energy Swap station in Lier, which is about 30 kilometres south of Oslo and is ready to open imminently. We plan to have one other 20 in Norway by the top of 2022, positioned in main cities and alongside busy transport routes.

Moreover, in November we introduced a brand new partnership with Shell that can result in additional enhancements to battery charging and swapping amenities for NIO customers, each in China and Europe. As a part of the plans, pilot stations can be constructed and operated in Europe from 2022, with 100 battery swapping stations to be put in in China by 2025. We need to be sure that it’s as straightforward as doable to drive NIO vehicles and enhancing the infrastructure is a serious a part of this.

JA: Is something rising as a specific concern when it comes to the outlook?

HZ: Managing NIO’s speedy progress can be a major problem that we have to deal with fastidiously, making certain we set up a superb and robust foothold and ship to our new NIO adopters in these markets.

JA: Do you’ve gotten a message for Simply Auto’s readers?

HZ: We thank all people who have supported and welcomed NIO to Europe. Taking a model into new markets on new continents is a major problem and one we didn’t underestimate. To ship our first European buyer orders and see NIO fashions driving on European roads has been a monumental milestone in NIO’s brief however extremely fast-moving historical past.