Chinese electric vehicle (EV) startup Nio hasn’t officially confirmed it plans to sell cars in Australia just yet, but it’s already facing a hurdle.

    Nio lodged a range of trademark applications with IP Australia that have been opposed by Audi. These names include the ES6, ES7, and ES8.

    The German carmaker has opposed Nio trademarking these under various grounds in the Australian Trade Marks Act 1995.

    Audi claims “use of [the] trade mark is contrary to law”, the “trade mark is likely to deceive or cause confusion”, it is “substantially identical or deceptively similar trade marks”, and the “trade mark is similar to a trade mark which has acquired a reputation in Australia”.

    “Audi, like many successful companies, is always intent on protecting its trademark rights comprehensively,” said a spokesperson for the German brand.

    “Many of our models have been sold for more than 20 years and have an iconic character – for us and for our customers. This also and especially applies to our sporty S models.

    “The company mentioned has chosen model designations for the Australian market that we believe infringe Audi’s trademark rights.

    “Since the legal clarification has not yet been formally concluded, we ask for your understanding, that we do not comment further on this.”

    Audi first filed its opposition to the set of trademarks back in December 2022, and the latest set in this process will be a hearing.

    At this stage a decision and outcome on whether Nio can actually legally trademark the names ES6, ES7, and ES8 in Australia hasn’t happened yet.

    If the trademarks are denied it’s unclear how Nio will proceed if it still plans to offer the vehicles locally.

    The Nio ES6 is an electric SUV that competes against the likes of the Tesla Model Y and is powered by a dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain producing 360kW of power and 700Nm of torque. It’s available with 75kWh and 100kWh battery packs, with the latter offering 625km of range according to lenient CLTC testing.

    The Nio ES7 on the hand is a larger electric SUV that rivals the likes of the BMW iX and is powered by a dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain producing 480kW and 850Nm. It’s available with a choice of 75kWh, 100kWh and 150kWh batteries, with claimed range figures under the lenient CLTC cycle of 485km, 620km and 930km, respectively.

    Lastly, the Nio ES8 is a flagship three-row electric SUV that will rivals the likes of the Volvo EX90 and is powered by a dual-motor setup producing 480kW and 850Nm. It’s available with the same battery packs as the smaller ES7.

    In addition to having a presence in its home country of China, Nio has also been branching out into a number of European markets. There’s also speculation it could enter the local market by 2025.

    MORE: Brand overview: Nio

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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