NIO Founder Points Out Eight Problems Faced Last Year

2022 was a turbulent year for the Chinese electric vehicle industry. William Li, Chairman and CEO of NIO, sent a letter to all employees on the first day of the new year, listing eight problems that need to be settled, 36Kr reported on January 5.

Looking back at 2022, NIO indeed made several achievements, including an annual delivery of 122,486 units, arrival of three new models – the ET7, ES7 and ET5 – construction of the NIO House, battery swapping stations, service centers and other infrastructures, team-building in five European countries, NT3 R&D, and listings in Hong Kong and Singapore.

However, William Li still conveyed a sense of crisis to NIO‘s tens of thousands of employees. “The impact of the pandemic and emergencies in 2022 exceeded expectations and disrupted the original rhythm and plan.” NIO experienced at least two pandemic-induced factory shutdowns in 2022, and disrupted supply chains hindered any increase in factory capacity.

Li listed all the eight places in which the team needs to put in more effort. “NIO‘s growth rate of delivery lags behind the overall growth rate of the Chinese smart electric vehicle market. In response to supply fluctuations, many manufacturers respond more quickly and efficiently than us. The adjustment for demand fluctuations is poor. The quality problems of software and hardware before and after the launch of new cars have affected our reputation. The test car accident and data theft incident exposed the need to strengthen internal management. The speed of solving problems is still far from the expectations of users. The communication efficiency within the organization needs to be improved urgently. Digital management systems can’t support the new requirements of business well,” Li concluded.

Some problems have existed for a long time, such as the recent theft of internal data. A source familiar with the matter told 36Kr that this information was public before, and many insiders had the right to access it. Some problems arise with the growth of team size. Qin Lihong, the president of NIO, sends a welcome letter to new employees every week, with an average of 200-300 employees per week, sometimes as many as 400 employees. At present, the total number of employees of NIO has exceeded 30,000.

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Regarding the matter, Li sent a signal to reduce expenses and streamline the team, “The tasks in 2023 will increase a lot. We must tap the potential and optimize inefficient organizations, teams, processes and inefficient projects. It needs to be comprehensively combed and optimized.”

2023 will be a crucial year for car makers. Li said in the letter that five new NT2 models will be delivered in the first half of the year, the R&D of NT3 will be fully launched, all innovative businesses will usher in key nodes, and delivery in the European market will be accelerated.