The Shanghai-headquartered EV maker NIO is currently building its first NIO House in Rotterdam, the first one in The Netherlands ahead of its entry into the country later this year. Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu was among the guests at the China EV Ride & Drive event held in Oslo where he also had the opportunity to have a virtual roundtable with the company’s CFO Steven Feng.
Last week, the company posted on LinkedIn the first job vacancies amid the expansion of its showrooms — known as NIO Houses — to the United States. The company is now hiring a Senior Real Estate Manager to be responsible for the “site selection and negotiation of lease terms for new locations” and a Head of Construction to “drive the construction and development strategy of NIO Houses”.
According to the analyst note, Feng confirmed the company is currently building its NIO Houses in Munich (Germany) and Rotterdam (The Netherlands) adding that the EV maker plans “to enter even more countries [in 2023] moving from north to south”.
Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu wrote, “We hosted our first ever China EV Ride & Drive event with investors in Oslo last week. Participants had the opportunity to test drive the NIO ES8 (large SUV), XPeng P7 (flagship mid-size sedan), Zeekr 001 (shooting-brake coupe SUV, not sold in Europe yet), and Aiways U5 (mass market compact SUV). Additionally, we interacted with some management teams, including a virtual session with the NIO CFO following our tour of the Oslo NIO House.”
When commenting on the experience at the first European NIO House located in Oslo, Yu enhanced the “constant stream of visitors” while he was there and the confirmation that the new showrooms in Munich (Germany) and also in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) are currently under construction.
“Along with our test drive, we also took a tour of the NIO House in Oslo, which we found to be impressive, both in terms of design/size and foot traffic (constant stream of visitors for the time we were there on a late summer afternoon), and also visited the local service center.
Management highlighted the customer satisfaction score in Norway is in fact higher than China. Lastly, we hosted a virtual roundtable with CFO Steven Feng and investors. The company is very focused on brand building now rather than maximizing volume (YTD >500 ES8 units delivered, about the same as BMW iX3).
Later this year, NIO will officially enter 4 more markets including Germany, Holland, Denmark, and Sweden with its flagship ET7 sedan, accompanied by battery swap stations and greater local hiring.
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NIO House locations are under construction in Munich and Rotterdam, strategically placed in prime real estate areas. Looking ahead to 2023, NIO plans to enter even more countries, moving from north to south (France and UK?).
While there have been reports about localizing production, the CFO commented that even with a 10% tariff, it is still more profitable to import from China given substantial savings on labor and supply chain. Longer term, it could make sense to localize some production depending on ability to secure battery cell supply,” Yu concluded.
On Wednesday, the company posted two job vacancies on LinkedIn for its Purchasing team in Hungary namely a Senior Buyer and an Indirect Spend Buyer. Both of them will have the responsibility of driving “procurement activities primarily in areas of plant related services as well as production material”.
To support that expansion, the company will need to create the charging infrastructure needed during the upcoming months and has already confirmed a new plant to build battery swap stations in Hungary to export to its several European markets.
Meanwhile, the company is already preparing for the second phase of its European expansion into eight new countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Portugal. During the last NIO day — held in December 2021 — the EV maker confirmed its plan to expand its services to 25 markets by 2025.