(Bloomberg) -- Nio Inc. plans to boost its European profile and woo consumers skeptical of a newer Chinese electric-car brand with monthly subscription and leasing options.
Following a year of modest sales in Norway, Nio will offer three models in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, showcasing the move with an event in Berlin Friday. The company, part of a wave of new EV entrants whose valuations have plummeted since the start of the year, will market vehicles via urban stores with subscriptions offers ranging from one to 60 months. It also signed a strategic agreement with Dutch firm LeasePlan last month to supply its vehicles to corporate fleets.
Buying a car “is a big decision, so leasing or subscription would lower the barrier to make that decision,” Lihong Qin Nio’s co-founder and President told reporters at their new NIO House store in Berlin. “People need more flexible ways to own a car.”
Nio is one of a handful of Chinese EV makers trying to make inroads into the competitive European market. While previous attempts have fallen flat, EV sales taking off are a new potential entry point with Chinese EV brands already leaving global competitors trailing at home. BYD Co., China’s biggest electric-car maker as well as Great Wall Motor Co. and Seres Group Co. are part of a large contingent of Chinese brands presenting models at the Paris car show this month.
Norway’s support for battery cars has made it the European country of choice for Chinese carmakers to test consumer appetite, where Nio delivered roughly 900 vehicles over the last 12 months. Meanwhile, SAIC Motor Corp.’s iconic British brand MG Motor sold some 40,000 EVs in Europe last year.
Chinese carmakers “are not well-received here, especially not in the premium segment, and that’s a challenge for us,” Qin said. “We know we can make a difference, but we need to prove that.”
Nio is betting that working with LeasePlan, which manages 1.8 million vehicles including after-sale maintenance services, will help build awareness of its brand. On an individual subscription basis, the flagship ET7 sedan will be available for 1,295 euros ($1,267) a month, based on a year-long deal.
The company plans to enter five more European countries next year before expanding to 25 countries, including the US, by 2025. In the long run, China, Europe and the US are expected to make up 90% of the sales, according to Chief Executive Officer William Li.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.