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Chinese EV Maker NIO Wants to Be More Customer-Focused Than Tesla


“I believe NIO will make a car that is not only good in terms of performance but also in software. But [sales] quantity will not be the driving force behind the electric vehicle industry, it’s the user experience.

No matter the product hardware, nor the software, the user experience must be the focus.” This is the business concept of Izzy Zhu, the vice president of NIO, a three-year-old Chinese electric car manufacturer previously known as NextEv.

Zhu explained that the conventional sales model in the automotive industry focuses rather on the distributor itself as the automakers have lesser or no direct relationship with its customers.

Years of working with BMW, Lexus, and Amazon, he was able to understand the business model that these traditional automakers follow and how they operate. Defying the traditional approach, NIO took the lead in almost all functions of a distributor – encompassing sales and long-term maintenance of the vehicles.

NIO’s user-experience focused strategy allows its staffs to be not just salespeople, but your companions or “fellows.” The company operates worldwide with its headquarters located in Shanghai, product design team comes from Munich, Germany, and its autonomous driving research and development staffs come from San Jose, United States. “It’s definitely capital intensive. But we think that is a worthwhile investment,” Zhu admitted during an interview on stage with Wang Ping of TechNode.

Receiving large funds from Tencent, Baidu, and IDG, accruing more than $2 billion as venture capital, NIO does have a lot of money to consume. However, this huge investment only has NIO’s racing arm as the outcome, as the company participates in the Federacion Internationale de l’Autmobile or FIA Formula E, which is the international championship for electric vehicles.

NIO boasts of its sleek, high-performance silver car, EP9 (shown in the above photo), which known as the fastest electric vehicle in the world. Although EP9 is an exciting product of NIO, its significance can’t be found in customers’ everyday lives. NIO thus targets to include in their market electric cars for practical use with their ES8, its first electric SUV model to be mass produced. Offering a lower price, ES8 is intended to be sold to the same customers of Tesla’s Model X.

[via FlipBoard]

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