Nio's headquarters in the Shanghai International Automobile City industrial zone:
The Shanghai government was very keen to build this as an auto city. They started out with a Formula 1 track. There's a lot of manufacturers and suppliers based here. Shanghai Volkswagen is just about 1 kilometer away.
There's also kind of an Mcity, [the proving ground in Ann Arbor, Mich.,] here for autonomous driving. There's also [German suppliers] Schaeffler and Thyssenkrupp because of Volkswagen's presence.
But they really wanted to build an auto city with the new generation of initiatives, including EVs. So this compound, when we started three years ago, was built by the government. We house about 4,000 people. The enterprise was set up to focus on a vital field: r&d.
The design of the ES8 and hiring BMW designers in Munich:
You may say the design of the car is very BMW, but it doesn't matter. It's how we want the car to be — we want it to be a traditional SUV, but then we will inject a lot of software humanity into the vehicle. We will be able to service the user-enterprise purpose.
The reasons for selling a seven- seat SUV:
Because nobody's there, and you're half the price of an imported Tesla, and you got all the good user experience and the best specifications, fully loaded, selling at $70,000 before incentives. Nobody can hit it and still make money. That's the key.
The ES8 buyers' color choices:
I thought the Chinese would be conservative with black and white, but now 40 percent go to sky blue.