According to German media, Audi has filed a lawsuit against the Chinese EV manufacturer NIO in a Munich court for alleged trademark infringement.
Despite being electric SUVs, the ES6 and ES8 models are the ones in question. According to the German daily, Audi claims that the models could be confused with its sporty sedans, the S6 and S8, which are performance versions of the A6 and A8 sedans.
NIO is currently expanding across Europe, beginning in Norway and expected to reach Germany by the fourth quarter of 2022. The first model it will bring to Audi’s home market will be the ET7 sedan, which will compete with the Audi A6.
However, the Chinese automaker has been displaying the ES6 and ES8 at various European auto shows and intends to launch them in Germany as well.
As a result, the German automaker is irritated with NIO for selecting these model names for the European market. According to an Audi representative: “Audi, like many successful companies, is also always concerned with comprehensively protecting its trademark rights. The ES6 and ES8 names we believe infringe on Audi trademarks.”
However, not everyone believes this will be a successful strategy. According to Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a professor at the Center for Automotive Research in Duisberg, “the risk of confusion between an SUV and a sedan is pretty low.” Others argue that the suit is unnecessary and that it will be poorly received in China, where Audi sells heavily.
Meanwhile, NIO will most likely want to put this case behind it because it is in the midst of a costly expansion effort.
Unlike most EVs on the market, Nio’s products support quick-swappable batteries as well as the ability for owners to plug them in.
The company has a deal with Shell to build battery-changing stations throughout Europe. According to the company, the replacement only takes about three minutes.
To read our blog on “In Karachi, Audi and Siemens open an EV charging station,” click here