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Nio to cut more jobs as electric vehicle startup continues to struggle

By Cao Yingying | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-26 14:34
Nio plans to further reduce its workforce considering this year's low vehicle deliveries and cumulative net loss in the past three years. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Electric carmaker Nio Inc is to slash jobs to control expenses and improve operational efficiency, as the Chinese startup feels the pinch from a lackluster performance and the overall slowdown in the country.

Nio founder William Li said in an internal email on Thursday that they will reduce the workforce by 1,200 staff members to a total of around 7,500 by the end of September.

"Over the last six months, the internal and external environment of the company has changed a lot. To ensure the survival and development of the company, we have to adjust the plans and focus on the development of the core businesses," said Li.

The layoff plan will have little impact on core operations such as R&D and user services because it is concerned more with those working in human resources, legal affairs, finance and other operational support departments, according to the company.

It's the second layoff plan for Nio with the company cutting more than 1,000 jobs since March.

This year has been tough for Nio. The company posted low vehicle deliveries for July, totaling 837, and carried out battery recalls on nearly 5,000 Nio ES8s earlier this month.

In the first seven months of 2019, the company delivered 8,379 vehicles, accounting for 20.9 percent of this year's minimum sales target of 40,000 vehicles.

Nio has the ES8 and ES6 on sale in the market currently and has cumulatively delivered almost 20,000 units for customers across 276 cities nationwide, ranking top in the high-end intelligent electric SUV market in China.

The company posted a net loss of 2.62 billion yuan ($370 million) for the first quarter of this year, 71.36 percent more than the same period in 2018.

Revenue totaled 1.63 billion yuan, declining 54 percent compared with the same period last year.

The startup has suffered cumulative net losses of 20 billion yuan in the past three years.

Last September, the company priced its shares at $6.26 on the New York Stock Exchange with them declining to less than $3 per share at the lowest point.

The total value of the company has shrunk by more than $9 billion from its peak.

The company has also been embroiled in fire accidents and system crashes this year, which may have influenced customers' purchases.

Li said: "Running a startup is never easy and the intelligent electric car business is even more difficult. We should be prepared to meet more difficult challenges and more setbacks."

With China cutting subsidies for new energy vehicles in late June, the new energy vehicle sector has shown signs of a slowdown.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, sales of new energy vehicles in China fell for the first time in 30 months, sliding 4.7 percent in July from a year earlier.

The association sliced the whole-year sales estimate from 1.6 million to 1.5 million for the new energy vehicle sector.

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