China EV deliveries are coming in, with Li Auto (LI) reporting booming, record monthly sales even as massive Covid wave spreads through China, taking its toll on the economy. Nio (NIO), and XPeng (XPEV) also are expected to release December, fourth quarter and 2022 deliveries data on Sunday, Jan. 1. Warren Buffett-backed auto giant BYD (BYDDF) gives its own report also in a few days.
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. With this backdrop, Tesla (TSLA) rivals in China are set to close the book on 2022.
China EV Deliveries: Insurance Registrations Give Hints
Ahead of official delivery reports early in January, BYD reported huge, higher China EV deliveries for the week ending Dec. 25. Last week, registrations for BYD vehicles came in at 51,636, up from 50,462 and 44,817 in the prior two weeks. BYD’s big delivery numbers came even as Tesla and Nio saw week-to-week declines.
BYD recently reported that Covid cases among workers had cut production by 2,000-3,000 vehicles per day. An executive said full-year deliveries of its all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles would likely come in at 1.88 million. That implies December sales of around 247,000.
Tesla China registrations fell to an estimated 8,915 on the week, even with ever-increasing incentives. Tesla registrations for the first three weeks of December were 11,670, 12,977 and 10,254, respectively. Meanwhile, Nio registration estimates slipped to 2,690, from 3,464, for the week ending on Dec. 25.
Fellow China-based EV startup Li Auto saw registrations improve to 5,155, from 4,558 and 3,013 the prior two weeks. XPeng, another company attempting to mount a challenge to Tesla in China, had 2,536 vs. 3,257 in the prior week.
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 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.
China EV Deliveries: BYD
BYD sales have been booming and, including plug-in hybrids, the company has surged past Tesla China sales. It’s closing the gap on BEVs (battery electric vehicles), with sales soaring yet again in November.
Based on registration data, BYD is on pace to deliver around 247,000 total vehicles in December. That would put the auto giant on pace to deliver around 690,000 total vehicles in the last three months.
BYD sold 230,427 all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in November, up 153% vs. a year earlier and 5.8% vs. October. That includes 229,942 personal vehicles and 485 commercial units. Of those personal vehicles, some 113,915 were fully electric, or BEVs, up 147% vs. November 2021. Plug-in hybrids shot up 164% to 116,027.
Exports remain a small share of BYD’s total sales but are rising rapidly, hitting 12,318 in November. However, the company has a big international expansion underway.
On Dec. 9, BYD launched the Frigate, a hybrid SUV. That will add to a slew of new EV launches. The BYD Seal, a Tesla Model 3 rival, launched in late August. BYD’s 90%-owned Denza unit also reported sales for the first time, with 350 Denza D9 minivans sold in October and 3,481 in November. The D9, which comes in BEV and PHEV formats, starts around $50,000. Mercedes-Benz owns 10% of Denza.
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.
Nio has lowered guidance for Q4 deliveries, citing Covid outbreaks. The EV startup expects to deliver 38,500-39,500 vehicles in Q4, well off prior guidance of 43,000-48,000. Last weekend, Nio unveiled its EC7 coupe SUV, which will likely compete against the Tesla Model Y in the high end 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.
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.
On the earnings call, Nio management said it plans to launch five new EV models in the first half of 2023, according to local media reports.
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.
China EV Deliveries: XPeng
On Nov. 30, XPeng forecast Q4 deliveries of 20,000-21,000 EVs, down roughly 50%-52% vs. a year earlier and down significantly from Q3’s 29,570. With October-November deliveries of 10,912 EVs, that implies XPeng deliveries will rebound to 9,000-10,000 in December.
However, some analysts think deliveries may come in below that prediction.
XPeng sold 5,811 EVs in November, down nearly 63% vs. a year earlier, but up 14% from October. The company cited “challenges brought by COVID-related restrictions and disruptions.” As of Dec. 1, XPeng sold 109,465 EVs this year, a 33% increase vs. the year-ago period.
November deliveries included 1,546 units of the flagship new G9 SUVs, its sales release said. XPeng expects December deliveries to “significantly increase” as G9 production ramps up after challenges in November.
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 began in October. XPeng also sells two new electric sedans, as well as two older electric SUVs.
Please follow Kit Norton on Twitter @KitNorton for more coverage.
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