Chinese car maker Nio has come under fire on social media for clumsy communication after an accident that left two people dead. In the message, the ‘Chinese counterpart of Tesla’ immediately denied that the accident was caused by the electric car in which the victims were sitting. ‘This shows the cold blood of capitalism’, is one of the many reactions.
The accident in Shanghai has a bizarre circumstances. Nio’s electric car drove through the wall on the third floor of the manufacturer’s headquarters for an unknown reason on Wednesday. The vehicle with two occupants thundered down meters and landed with a huge crash on the asphalt. The victims, an employee of Nio and a technician from a sister company, did not survive the blow.
The cause of the accident is not yet known. The third floor of the head office includes a showroom, a test facility or a parking lot. Presumably the victims took a test drive with the electric car, but further investigation has to prove that. “Our company is working with the public safety department to determine the cause of the accident,” Nio said in a statement.
The Chinese car manufacturer says on the basis of an initial analysis that there is an accident that was ‘not caused by the vehicle involved’. This statement has been met with a torrent of criticism. “That last sentence is so indifferent. They came to test the vehicle, but you say the accident has nothing to do with the vehicle?” “It should be a public security agency to confirm whether it is an accident or not,” wrote another.
Nio’s statement has been taken offline as a result of the criticism. “We are very saddened by this accident and would like to express our sincere condolences to our colleague and associate who lost their life. A team has been set up to help the families.”
NIO is one of a group of Chinese electric car makers looking to expand rapidly. They want to compete with traditional automakers and western makers of electric vehicles such as Tesla. Last year, the manufacturer unveiled its new sedan, which should become a direct rival to cars from its American counterpart, as well as other international players.
Nio mainly counts BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi among his rivals. According to experts, the Chinese market still offers sufficient room for further growth. Car ownership in China is lagging behind other emerging markets. On average, 173 of the 1,000 Chinese own a car.
Nio is currently only available on the Chinese market. The automaker has plans to enter the European market soon.
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