November 29, 2023


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China EV Deliveries: Nio, Li Auto, XPeng, BYD Report Strong December Sales Despite Covid Wave

4 min read

China EV deliveries are in, with Li Auto (LI), Nio (NIO) and Warren Buffett-backed auto giant BYD (BYDDF) reporting record  December sales while XPeng (XPEV) deliveries rebounded.


China has eased Covid restrictions, which had throttled the economy. But now there are widespread outbreaks of the coronavirus throughout the country. Tesla China and other China-based automakers have now warned deliveries and production could possibly fall due to Covid disruptions.

Analysts are also ringing warning bells on the auto industry broadly, and specifically on the EV segment in 2023. China EV subsidies ended Dec. 31.

With this backdrop, Tesla (TSLA) rivals in China are set to close the book on 2022.

China EV Deliveries: BYD

BYD sales hit a new record in December for the fourth straight month, but came in below recently lowered expectations amid Covid-related issues.

BYD sold 235,197 all-battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) in December, up 150% vs. a year earlier but just 2% vs. November.

Among its 234,598 passenger vehicles, December BEV sales were 111,939, up 132% from December 2021 but dipping from 113,915 in November. PHEV sales soared 176% to 122,659 vs. a year earlier, topping November’s 116,027.

BYD sold 683,440 vehicles in Q4, up 157% vs. a year earlier and 27% from Q3. For 2022, sales spiked 209% to 1,863,494 BEV and PHEVs.

The EV and battery giant on Dec. 22 stated that Covid infections among workers was reducing production by 2,000-3,000 vehicles per day. An exec stated that full-year deliveries of BEVs and PHEVSs would be around 1.88 million, implying December deliveries around 247,00.

The actual results suggest that Covid had an even-bigger impact on output than BYD anticipated.

BYD sales have been booming and, including plug-in hybrids, the company has surged past Tesla China sales. It’s been narrowing closing the gap vs. Tesla among BEVs.

Exports remain a small share of BYD’s total sales but are trending higher rapidly, hitting 11,320 in December. However, the company has a big international expansion underway.

There’s concern that Covid waves, which will likely continue beyond the Lunar New Year in late January, will hinder production, supply chains and demand in China broadly. BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu has set a 2023 delivery goal of 4 million.

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China EV Deliveries: Li Auto

Li Auto (LI) reported on Jan. 1 that December deliveries jumped to 21,233 vehicles, with its L8 and L9 hybrid SUVs both topping 10,000. That was up 50% vs. a year earlier and soaring 41% vs. the previous record of 15,034 in November.

Li Auto on Friday said December deliveries of its hybrid SUVs would top 20,000.

In Q4, Li delivered 46,319 vehicles, up 31.5% vs. a year earlier and nearly 75% vs. Q3, as a model changeover was underway. Li Auto deliveries hit 133,246 vehicles for the full year, up 47% from 2021.

Nio Deliveries

Nio delivered 15,815 vehicles in December, up 51% vs. a year earlier and nearly 12% vs. the prior record of 14,178 set in November. Q4 sales jumped 60% vs. a year earlier to 40,052, topping Q3’s record 31,607. For 2022, deliveries climbed 34% to 122,486.

Nio recently lowered its Q4 delivery guidance, 38,500-39,500 vehicles in Q4, well off prior targets of 43,000-48,000, citing Covid-related issues. The revised goal implied December deliveries of 14,263-15,263 EVs.

December sales included 7,594 ET5 sedans and 4,154 ES7 SUVs, as Nio’s two newest models ramped up. The ET5 is a Tesla Model 3 competitor.

On Dec. 24, Nio unveiled its EC7 coupe SUV, which will likely compete against the Tesla Model Y in the premium market. EC7 deliveries will start in May 2023. Nio also unveiled a revamped ES8 SUV, now on the NT 2.0 platform like its all-new models. Deliveries begin in June.

These are two of the five new or revamped EV models that Nio has said it will launch in the first half of 2023.

In November, Nio posted a far worse-than-expected Q3 loss. But the Chinese luxury EV startup had predicted record deliveries and revenue acceleration in Q4 despite Covid-related disruptions.

In Q3, Nio sold a record 31,607 vehicles, up 29.3% vs. a year earlier and up 26.1% vs. Q2. The Q3 result was near the lower end of its guidance for quarterly EV sales. Nio sold 10,052 EVs in July, 10,677 in August and 10,878 in September.

China EV Deliveries: XPeng

XPeng (XPEV) deliveries jumped to 11,292 in December, up 94% vs. November, back above 10,000 for the first time since July. That included 4,020 G9 SUVs, up 160% vs. November for the relatively new crossover model.

Q4 deliveries came in at 22,204, down from 29,570 in Q3, but beating XPeng’s forecast of 20,000-21,000.

Some analyst thought December and Q4 might come in below that prediction.

Full-year sales climbed 23% to 120,757.

Please follow Kit Norton on Twitter @KitNorton for more coverage.


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