Audi Sues NIO on Trademark Infringement as the Chinese EV Manufacturer Moves Ahead With Its “Product Supercycle”

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NIO won a much-needed respite yesterday from a near-constant selling pressure in the stock market when it unveiled its newest electric SUV – the ES7. However, in a sign that European automakers are now feeling increasingly threatened by the onslaught of new competition from the Chinese EV manufacturers, Audi is reportedly suing NIO on trademark infringement.

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As per the reporting by Germany's Handelsblatt, Audi believes that some of NIO's model designations for the European market infringe on Audi's trademarks. In other words, the iconic German automaker feels that some of NIO's soon-to-be-launched EV models bear names that are too similar to those used by Audi for its own models.

Readers should note that NIO's geographical expansion strategy entails sizable costs owing to its unique ecosystem of battery swap stations.

Bear in mind that NIO is gearing up to launch its ET7 sedan in Germany in Q4 2022. Just yesterday, the company unveiled its newest ES7 electric SUV:

"NIO ES7 inherits the second-generation high-efficiency e-drive platform with the SiC power module. It reaches 0 to 100km/h acceleration within 3.9 seconds. Brembo 4-piston front calipers are standard. The 100 to 0km/h braking distance is within 33.9 meters. Air suspension is also standard across the range. The drag coefficient of ES7 can be as low as 0.263. With that, the ES7 has a CLTC range of 485 km with the 75 kWh Standard Range Battery, 620 km with the 100 kWh Long Range Battery, and over 930 km with the 150 kWh Ultralong Range Battery. The combination of Power Home, supercharger and nationwide network of close to 1,000 Power Swap stations will relieve range anxiety for ES7 users."

Deliveries of the ES7 SUV are expected to commence in August 2022, with NIO pricing the EV at around $70,000 for the base version.

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NIO now boasts of a rich product portfolio consisting of four electric SUVs – the ES8, ES6, EC6, and ES7 – along with the ET7 and the ET5 sedans. It is for this reason that Deutsche Bank believes that NIO is embarking on its most significant "product supercycle".

NIO is currently ramping up the maximum production capacity of its Heifei plant to 300,000 units. Additionally, the company's NeoPark facility, which will have the capacity to produce another 300,000 units per annum, is also expected to come online in H2 2022.

Nonetheless, due to supply chain bottlenecks and lost production due to COVID-mandated lockdowns, Deutsche Bank now expects NIO to deliver 160,000 units in 2022 (down from the previous forecast of 170,000 units) and 320,000 units in 2023. The company's monthly production cadence is expected to increase from 7,000 units in May to 25,000 units by the end of 2022.