Chinese electric car maker Nio has denied that it is in talks with Mercedes-Benz about exchanging technology for financial support as the company reportedly faces financial difficulties.
According to reports from ReutersNio founder and CEO William Li met with Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kallenius earlier this year to discuss a “collaboration” between the companies.
The news outlet contacted Nio to confirm the rumors at the time, to which the electric car maker simply responded “untrue” without further explanation.
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The Reuters report followed a statement from Nio that clarified that “the company is not currently conducting any reportable capital raising activities, with the exception of the recent convertible note offering, which closed on September 25, 2023.”
Mercedes-Benz issued a response to Reuters, confirming: “Ola Kaellenius is in ongoing regular dialogue with various industry leaders and colleagues, including William Li.”
Nio reportedly approached Mercedes-Benz with a “collaboration proposal,” but the discussions never outlined details of the technology to be transferred or the final financial investment.
Reuters reports that Mercedes-Benz has discussed the matter internally but claims it is “most likely not to proceed with the investment.”
According to the report, Mercedes-Benz’s research, development and strategy teams were “widely opposed to the proposals” because they feared they could “weaken Mercedes’ brand image.”
Concerns have been raised that the Nio partnership could cause resentment and “disrupt shareholder harmony” with other Chinese shareholders in Mercedes-Benz.
This latest round of reporting from Reuters follows reporting from Car news China in August, the company claimed that Nio and Mercedes had reached a cooperation agreement in early 2023 under which Nio would share its battery swapping technology with Mercedes-Benz to launch a new profit model.
Nio reported losses of US$837 million (AU$1.302 billion) in the second quarter of 2023, so the company was reportedly looking for investors to stay afloat.
Most Western car manufacturers have partners in the Chinese market, not least thanks to the Chinese government’s recently relaxed manufacturing rules.
Mercedes-Benz has a joint venture with Geely for its Smart brandwhich was reborn to only sell electric cars and move production to China.
In 2010, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company entered into an equal partnership with BYD to become co-owner of Denza largely withdrew from the partnership at the end of 2021 to focus on Smart.
Yesterday, Nio announced its third quarter shipment results, which showed a 43.8 percent year-over-year increase in September and a promising rolling result for the quarter, with third quarter sales increasing 75.4 percent year-on-year .
According to Reuters, Nio ranks ninth among electric and hybrid manufacturers in China. The company has increased its investments in homegrown technologies for key electric vehicle components such as chips and battery technology.
Nio has began expanding into Europe, but nothing has been officially announced yet as to when it will come to Australia. There are speculations that it could hit the local market by 2025.
MORE: Brand overview: Nio