NIO has recently become the center of attention again due to complaints from a car owner.
An NIO ES8 owner claimed that his vehicle only had a cracked wheel and a broken tire, but after repairing, he found out that it cost up to RMB 140,000 yuan ($20,800).
His complaint was reported by the Chinese media, which brought the NIO under fire.
In August 2018, Mr. Zheng from Zhengzhou in Central China's Henan province spent more than RMB 500,000 to buy an NIO ES8 and at that time also purchased a premium NIO service which includes offers such as free repairs.
On September 3, 2019, he accidentally drove the vehicle into a roadside ravine, causing the ES8's left front wheel hub to crack and a broken tire.
According to media reports, he did not choose to call the police at the time, or contact his insurance company, as he believed the vehicle was suffering only a flat tire and the small repair cost could result in higher insurance premiums the following year.
He then took the vehicle to NIO for repairs, but when he picked it up a few days later, he found a list of dozens of repairs costing RMB 146,000 yuan.
His insurance company refused to pay because they were not notified at the first time, so he had to bear the cost himself. He therefore questioned the NIO after-sales center's excessive maintenance of his vehicle.
NIO was immediately criticized by many internet users after the recent media reports on this.
What is the truth?
Following the criticism, NIO's response on October 27 brought the truth of the matter to light.
Qin Lihong, co-founder and president of NIO, said the dispute stemmed from the car owner's failure to report the accident in a timely manner, and a compromise has been reached with a solution offered to Mr. Zheng.
Qin Lihong said in an email that the repair cost of over RMB 140,000 was real, but that the owner's previous claims of a flat tire and wheel damage alone were not true.
The email stated that the vehicle suffered serious damage to the vehicle's chassis and suspension system in addition to the wheel rims, so the RMB 140,000 repair cost is reasonable.
The car owner's insurance company said he did not report the accident because he was concerned that the vehicle only had a flat tire, and to avoid affecting his commercial insurance premium for the next year, he later reported the damage to the police when he found out the vehicle was seriously damaged, according to the email.
His insurance company refused to pay for the repairs, and NIO bore the full cost, with the car owner paying a small fee, the email shows.