Chinese electric car startups Nio, Li Auto and Xpeng report a rise in shipments

Tesla’s Chinese rivals Nio, Li Auto and Xpeng have reported sharp increases in electric vehicle shipments amid economic recovery from the pandemic. Wall Street analysts predict more sales growth in 2021 in China, given the deferred demand.

Shares in Chinese electric vehicle makers Nio (NIO), Xpeng Motors (XPEV) and Li Auto (LI) jumped on Monday amid reports of strong sales in China’s rapidly recovering auto market.

From January to November 2020, sales of electric vehicles increased 4.4% year-on-year, while total passenger car sales declined 7.6%, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China.

Nio shares, which rose 1296% over the past year, are up 9.75% on Monday. Li Auto is up 109% since its IPO on July 30, 2020, up 12.6% on Monday. Xpeng Motors’ shares are up 106.5% since they went public on August 27 last year and nearly 3% on Monday.


Nio, unlike its rivals Xpeng and Li, went public in 2018, has a higher cap and a lineup of three premium SUVs. Nio is called China’s Tesla (TSLA) and is seen as a future strong rival to the American company.

On Sunday, Nio said it more than doubled December sales (up from last year’s figure) to 7,007 EVs in December and 17,353 units in the fourth quarter. The EC6 crossover, which only went on sale in September, is now Nio’s top seller.

Nio delivered 43,728 electric vehicles for the entire 2020.

In comments to the report, Nio management noted that the company’s new battery-as-a-service program is gaining increasing recognition.

Nio’s success in 2020 has been fueled by nearly $ 1 billion in funding from public investors.

In August, founder William Lee announced that the company plans to renew its international expansion plans in the second half of 2021, starting in Europe.

At the upcoming Nio Day event on January 9, Nio will unveil its first new electric sedan, a Tesla Model 3 rival in China, and share progress in autonomous driving and other core technologies.

At the same time, Tesla maintains a strong position in the Chinese market by ramping up production at its Shanghai plant. Tesla’s Q4 shipments report beat Wall Street’s expectations, and some analysts suggest sales in China have helped a lot.

Tesla ended 2020 with a 36% increase in shipments from 2019: 499,550 electric vehicles, slightly short of the half million target.

On January 1, Tesla said it would soon begin shipping the Model Y, manufactured in a Chinese factory, at a price of 339,900 yuan, 30% less than the original price and less than the price of the Nio EC6.

Li Auto

On Friday, Li Auto reported a spike in sales of its only electric vehicle, Li One, in December by 530% to 6,126 units.

Li’s shipments in the fourth quarter were up 67% from the previous quarter to 14,464 units, higher than the company’s plans. For the entire 2020, Li Auto delivered 32,624 vehicles. The mass production of Li One began in November 2019.

Xpeng Motors

Xpeng Motors, which sells G3 SUVs and P7 sedans, said sales jumped 326% in December to 5,700 electric vehicles.

Xpeng sales increased 303% in the fourth quarter to 12,964 units and more than doubled for the full year of 2020 to 27,041 units. The P7 sedan, which began mass deliveries in late June, accounted for more than half of its annual sales.

While Chinese manufacturers pose a competitive threat to Tesla, the American automaker shipped five times more vehicles worldwide last year than three startups combined.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives thinks the biggest gains come from

Tesla will receive strong demand for electric vehicles in China, with its plant with an annual production capacity of 250,000 vehicles.

Over the weekend, the analyst reiterated his previously expressed view that global demand for electric vehicles “will see a major turnaround” in 2021 and “sales could double over the next few years, given the constrained demand for electric vehicles in all price categories.”

Ives expects that with continued growth in China, Tesla will be able to deliver one million vehicles worldwide by 2022.

For Wall Street predictions for Chinese EV makers NIO, XPeng and Li Auto for 2021, see article “NIO, XPeng, and Li Auto EV Shares Receive High Wall Street Ratings.”

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