China EV Sales: Nio Takes Q3 Crown But Startup Rival Li Auto Beats Guidance, LI Stock Rallies

James G. Cole

Nio (NIO) outsold XPeng (XPEV) and Li Auto (LI) in the third quarter of 2022, benefiting from production improvements and new electric vehicles. But Li Auto beat its lowered quarterly forecast. LI stock rallied Monday while Nio stock fell.


The trio reported September and Q3 deliveries over the weekend. Nio took the Q3 sales crown among Chinese EV startups. But Chinese EV and battery giant BYD (BYDDF) remains far ahead overall, nearly tripling Q3 sales.


Nio EV Sales

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.

Nio’s Q3 results benefited from both improved production and new EVs.

The September total included 1,895 ES7’s in that electric SUV’s first full month of sales. It also included 221 ET5’s, a Model 3 rival, after deliveries of the electric sedan model began Sept. 30. In addition, Nio’s sales improved in August and September vs. July. The startup had previously said that production challenges seen in July, tied to the supply of casting parts, would ease in the rest of the quarter.

Nio also sells three older SUVs and the relatively new ET7 sedan. With three new models based on its next-gen EV platform and a Europe expansion, Nio expects record deliveries in every month of Q4.

On Oct. 7, Nio will hold a launch event in Europe, the company confirmed in Saturday’s sales release. Nio’s likely to take its new 2022 models to the Continent, including the ET7, ES7 and ET5.

Nio had trailed Xpeng and Li the prior quarter, especially hard hit by supply disruptions due to China’s Covid shutdowns.

Nio stock lost 1.8% to 15.49 in Monday’s stock market action. Shares of Nio plunged 10.6% last week. They remain more than 64% below the 52-week high.

XPeng EV Sales

In Q3, XPeng Motors sold 29,570 EVs, up 15.2% vs. a year earlier but down 14.1% vs. Q2. The Q3 result was just above the low end of Xpeng’s EV sales guidance. Xpeng sold 11,524 EVs in July, 9,578 in August and 8,468 in September.

The September deliveries included 184 units of the new G9 in roughly 10 days of sales. The G9, Xpeng’s flagship electric SUV, launched Sept. 21. Mass deliveries of the model will begin in October. Xpeng also sells two new electric sedans, as well as two older electric SUVs.

XPEV stock fell 1.8% to 11.73 Monday. Shares sank 12.8% last week. XPeng stock continues more than 79% off below its 52-week high.

Li Auto EV Sales

In Q3, Li Auto sold 26,524 hybrid electric vehicles, rising 5.6% year over year but down 7.5% from 28,687 in Q2. Li sold 10,422 EVs in July, 4,571 in August and 11,531 in September. The startup beat its lowered Q3 delivery guidance for 25,000, on the back of the rebound in September vs. August.

The September total was dominated by the new Li L9 SUV. Li Auto sold 10,123 L9s in its first full month of deliveries. Li will discontinue the One, its original model, in October after demand fell off.

Li also is moving up launches for the L7 and L8 models as it loses Li One customers.

Shares rallied 2% to 23.46 Monday after tumbling last week. Li Auto stock sits 43% below the 52-week high.

BYD EV Sales

BYD sold a record 201,259 new energy vehicles in September, after selling 174,915 in August and 162,530 in July. For Q3, BYD sold 538,704 NEVs, up 194% vs. a year earlier and surging 52% from Q2.

New energy vehicles include all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

As BYD ramps up new models like the Seal, which launched in late August, it should easily top 1.5 million deliveries in 2022, perhaps nearing 1.9 million. It’s targeting 4 million in 2023.

BYD also is expanding globally. At a European launch event on Wednesday, BYD showed off three new all-electric models for the Continent, with deliveries starting across the region in Q4. It so far sells the Tang SUV in pilot market Norway. In the past several weeks, BYD also began deliveries in Australia, New Zealand and India, adding several other Asian markets in the next few months.

In April, BYD shifted to producing only hybrid and electric vehicles, ditching cars that run only on gas or diesel. In addition, BYD plans to supply Tesla with EV batteries.

Shares of BYD, which trade over the counter, rallied 1.8% Monday. BYDDF stock slid last week and is 43% off highs.

China EV Sales

In China, sales of new energy vehicles doubled in August, continuing a hot run so far in 2022. Still, Nio and its peers have periodically struggled, including Li Auto in August due to the stale Li One model.

Last Monday, China officially announced that the exemption on NEV purchase tax, a kind of subsidy, will be extended until the end of 2023. It was set to expire this year, though an extension was long rumored.

The same day, Li Auto lowered its EV delivery outlook for the third quarter, citing supply constraints though it’s also facing demand issues.

For Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto, new electric vehicles are expected to boost EV sales after recent headwinds, on both the demand and supply side.

On Sunday, U.S. archrival Tesla (TSLA) disclosed record global deliveries that hit a record but fell well short of views. Tesla stock plunged 8.6% on Monday.


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China EV Sales: Nio Takes Q3 Crown But Startup Rival Li Auto Beats Guidance, LI Stock Rallies

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