Electric car maker Nio is appealing a legal dispute with Audi

Electric car maker Nio is appealing a legal dispute with Audi


Audi has itself January won a naming dispute over two models against Chinese electric car maker Nio. A district court in Munich banned Nio from continuing to advertise models called ES6 and ES8 due to the risk of confusion. The company does not want to tolerate that.

Like Audi, the judges see a strong resemblance to the S6 and S8 model names from the Bavarian automaker. The extra letter “E” in Nio doesn’t make enough difference because it’s almost as ubiquitous as the abbreviation for “Elektro”. So it is expected that most potential customers will only see it as an indicator of the car’s engine type. Consumers may assume the ES6 is an electric version of the S6 and that both vehicles come from the same manufacturer. At least in terms of sound, both brands would be mentally connected, hence the point.

The name ES7 also bothers Audi, but Nio has already taken on a competitor here and is offering a model in Europe under a different name. In principle, however, Nio does not agree to sell its electric cars in this country with a different name. The legal dispute with Audi over model selection is now entering the next phase: the Chinese manufacturer confirmed car weekto appeal against the judgment of the Munich district court.

“We do not agree with the district court’s judgment and we appealed on Monday,” Nios Europe boss Hui Zhang said. One considers the sentence “incorrect”. Anyone who buys a car, informs himself in advance, for example on the Internet, through brochures and by articles in trade magazines. “No one randomly chooses a Nio SUV when they want an Audi S sedan and vice versa. We still do not see any infringement of Audi and Nio’s trademark rights and therefore we want to clarify this question fundamentally,” says Zhang.

Nio has been offering its first sedan ET7 in Germany since the end of 2022. The mid-size sedan ET5 will follow soon. These models are not identical to Audi model names. The situation is different with the SUV ES7, which will also come to Germany soon, which is therefore sold here as the EL7.