Shanghai-based electric car maker Nio said it is cooperating with police in an investigation of the deaths of two people when one of its vehicles fell from the third floor of its headquarters.
One member of Nio’s staff and a person from a partner company were in the vehicle at the time, Nio said.
The third-floor area in the building has been variously described as a car park, showroom or testing facility.
“Our company has collaborated with public security department to launch the investigation and analysis of the cause of the accident,” Nio said in a statement.
“Based on the analysis of the situation at the scene, we can initially confirm that this was an accident (not caused by the vehicle).
“We feel very sad about this accident and would like to express our deepest condolences to our colleague and partner employee who lost their lives. A team has been set up to help the families,” the company added.
Nio’s initial statement last week reportedly attracted 1,000 comments within half an hour before being taken down.
Many of the comments were angrily critical of the concluding sentence of the original statement, which said that the incident was “not related to the vehicle itself”.
A typical comment read that the remark “shows the cold blood of capitalism”, the BBC reported, while another called the remark “indifferent” and a third said that “It should be public security bureau to confirm if it’s an accident or not.”
The company updated the statement to put “not caused by the vehicle” in brackets, apparently to de-emphasise it. The comments of the new post now all read “RIP”.
China’s breakneck economic growth over the past decade, particularly in the tech sector, has led to criticism from many and over the past year has spurred a harsh regulatory crackdown on the biggest tech companies.
Nio is one of China’s biggest domestic electric vehicle makers, competing directly with Tesla, which operates a plant in Shanghai and said in February it planned to construct a second factory there.
The company listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018.
Tesla was the biggest seller of pure electric vehicles in China until April, when Covid-19 lockdowns affected sales and supply chains.
Shenzhen-based BYD, backed by Warren Buffett, overtook Tesla that month.
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