Nio, XPeng Report Huge Sales Growth for March and Q1

China-based electric vehicle (EV) makers Nio Ltd. (NYSE: NIO) and XPeng Inc. (NYSE: XPEV) on Thursday reported vehicle delivery totals for March and for the first quarter of the year. Li Auto Inc. (NASDAQ: LI) is expected to report deliveries soon, and so is Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA). The consensus estimate for Tesla’s first-quarter deliveries has settled around 162,000 units.

Nio stock, which traded at a 52-week high of nearly $67 in January, now trades closer to $40. To say that investor demand for EV makers’ shares has been strong is something of an understatement. Even so, the companies continue to post large percentage increases in deliveries, even if they are based on relatively small numbers.

For the month of March, Nio delivered 7,257 vehicles, a monthly record for the company and 373% higher than the number delivered in March of 2020. For the quarter, Nio delivered a total of 20,060 EVs, a record quarter and up 423% year over year.

XPeng delivered 5,102 EVs in March, 384% higher year over year and up 130% month over month. Deliveries for the first quarter set a new record of 13,340 units, a year-over-year increase of 487%.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Tesla delivered around 181,000 vehicles, and it came within a whisker of delivering 500,000 for the full year. Analysts are expecting the company to deliver around 800,000 vehicles this year, but starting off with about 20% of the expected total in the first quarter is digging a hole that may be hard for Tesla to escape.

Chip shortages have plagued the auto industry in general this year and, according to some reports, the shortage may not work itself out until at least the end of the year. The shortages have led to temporary shutdowns in some Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) and Ford plants in the United States. Tesla halted production of its Model 3 in California for two weeks in late February due to the chip shortage.

Nio said in early March that it would be slowing production from a previously forecast level of 10,000 vehicles per month to 7,500 in the second quarter. That implies an increase of around 12% quarter over quarter. The company halted production at one of its plants for five days beginning on March 29.

Nio shares traded up nearly 8% early Thursday morning but backed off to a gain of around 2.5% in the noon hour. It was trading at around $39.95, in a 52-week range of $2.22 to $66.99. The consensus price target on the stock is $56.14

XPeng stock traded up nearly 7.5% early Thursday but pulled back to a gain of about 2% at $37.25. The stock’s 52-week range is $17.11 to $74.49.

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