China EV Sales Tumble As Covid Lockdowns Hit Production

Nio stock reported a big decline in April EV deliveries on Sunday after Nio (NIO) briefly halted production during the month due to Covid lockdowns in China.


Xpeng (XPEV) and Li Auto (LI) also reported weak China EV sales on Sunday, after both signaled production and delivery concerns last month. Chinese EV giant BYD (BYDDF), seemingly less affected, will likely follow a couple days later.

Chinese EV makers are emerging rivals to Tesla (TSLA). China EV sales boomed in 2021 and stayed hot in the first quarter of 2022. That changed in April.

Nio EV Sales

Nio delivered 5,074 vehicles in April, off 49% from 9,985 in March and down 29% vs. a year earlier. Production was shut down for part of the month as Covid shutdowns hit suppliers’ output and shipments. Output resumed, but it’s unclear at what pace.

April’s tally included 683 ET7s, the first full month of deliveries for Nio’s first EV sedan. Nio also has there electric SUVs, with a fourth coming in a few months.

Nio fell 2.8% last week to 16.70.

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Xpeng EV Sales

Xpeng delivered 9,002 vehicles in April, down 42% vs. 15,414 from the prior month. That was up 75% vs. a year earlier.

In mid April, Xpeng CEO He Xiaopeng warned that automakers might have to suspend production in May if lockdowns do not ease, Reuters reported. Soon after that, Shanghai did allow manufacturers, including Tesla, to resume operations with staff living on site in a “closed loop.”

Xpeng stock rose 3.1% last week to 24.61, but is still below a fast-falling 50-day line.

Li Auto EV Sales

Li Auto delivered 4,167 Li One hybrid SUVs, down 62% vs. March’s 11,034 and 25% below a year earlier. Many suppliers are shut down, severely affecting Li’s production. Li President Yanan Shen previously warned of this during the month, apologizing for delivery delays.

Li Auto delayed the April 16 unveiling of its second EV model, the L9 SUV.

Li Auto stock edged up 0.45% to 22.43, but is below key moving averages.

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BYD EV Sales

EV and battery giant BYD will report April sales in early May, possibly Tuesday.

BYD, which makes its own chips and batteries, could be more insulated from supply snarls.

In March, BYD sold a record 104,878 electric and hybrid vehicles, up 333% vs. a year earlier and up 20% from February. Fully electric sales jumped 229% and plug-in hybrid sales vaulted 615%.

In April, Warren Buffett-backed BYD shifted to producing only hybrid and electric vehicles, ditching pure gas and diesel cars. Notably, BYD’s Q1 hybrid and EV sales nearly equaled Tesla’s all-electric sales. They will almost certainly be No. 1 in Q2, with Tesla Shanghai shut down for much of April and still operating below normal levels.

BYD is due to release several new EVs and hybrids in the coming months. The BYD Seal is expected to be a big Tesla Model 3 rival, but with longer range, faster acceleration — and for $10,000 less.

BYD stock dipped 0.85% last week to 29.02, but rebounded to close back above its 50-day moving average.

Tesla does not report monthly sales, but industry trade data will reveal the EV giant’s China sales later in May. There are indications that Tesla was among the hardest hit in China, given its sole plant in Shanghai. But it has the Fremont, California, plant, with the Berlin and Austin facilities slowly picking up output.

Tesla stock plunged 13.4% to 870.76 last week, diving below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages.


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