China EV Sales: Nio, Xpeng, Li Auto Eye Big March Rebound But Delisting Fears Hit Nio Stock

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Nio (NIO), Xpeng Motors (XPEV) and Li Auto (LI) eye a big rebound in China EV sales for March. But Nio stock and its peers tumbled Thursday as delisting and Covid-19 fears reared up again.




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China EV giant BYD (BYDDF) is also on deck to report March and first-quarter sales, in the next few days. Warren Buffett-backed BYD has ramped up its challenge to Tesla (TSLA) in China, with booming EV sales.

Tesla is expected to report Q1 deliveries in the next few days, possibly as early Friday, though it does not break down sales by geography.

Q1 China EV Sales

The first quarter of the year is traditionally slower for China EV sales, amid the Lunar New Year holiday. Nio and Xpeng also had production downtimes ahead of new EV launches. China’s cutting EV subsidies too.

In January and February, Nio and its peers grew EV deliveries at a robust year-over-year pace, but saw month-over-month declines. They’re likely to see a significant rebound in March vs. February sales, based on stated targets. Their sales reports are likely to come Friday.

Nio has forecast 25,000-26,000 EV deliveries in Q1. That suggests March sales will come in at roughly 9,200-10,200 EVs. Nio delivered 9,652 vehicles in January and 6,131 vehicles in February.

Xpeng is targeting Q1 deliveries of 33,500-34,000 EVs. That implies March deliveries of around 14,600. Xpeng delivered 12,922 in January and 6,225 EVs in February.

Li Auto is aiming for 30,000-32,000 deliveries in Q1. That suggests March sales of about 9,300-11,300 EVs. Li Auto delivered 12,268 Li One hybrid SUVs in January and 8,414 in February.

The Chinese EV startups are emerging rivals to Tesla in China, the world’s largest market for electric cars. They sell mostly on home turf but are starting to expand in Europe.

BYD hasn’t given a March sales estimate, but could top 100,000 EV and plug-in hybrids for the first time. The EV and battery giant has signaled it’ll hit 1.5 million new-energy vehicles in 2022.

Delisting Fears Hit China EV Stocks, Nio Stock

Shares of Nio plunged just over 5% in Thursday’s stock market trading. Li Auto sank 4.9% while Xpeng lost 3% BYD retreated 2.4%. Tesla stock eased 1.5%. The China EV stocks remain well off highs after tanking in the past year.

Delisting fears are hitting China EV stocks again. Reports Thursday said that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) placed more Chinese companies on a provisional list of potential delistings, including Baidu (BIDU).

In addition, reports said Tesla is extending a production shutdown at Gigafactory Shanghai due to a Covid -19 resurgence.

Despite Thursday’s dive, Nio stock is holding to a 5% gain for the week. It rallied after news that Ark Investment’s Cathie Wood, a big Tesla holder, bought Nio shares for the first time. Ark Invest also owns some XPEV stock and BYD shares.

Nio’s new ET7, a rival to the Tesla Model S, won’t contribute much to the March sales report. Nio only started delivering that highly autonomous, long-range electric car on March 28.

In 2022, Nio plans to launch two more EVs, doubling its lineup. Xpeng and Li Auto also have new EVs due, while BYD has a slew of new EVs on tap this year.

Baidu stock dropped 8% Thursday.

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