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Chinese EV Companies’ Vehicle Sales Vs Tesla

NIO ES6. Source: Flickr Image.

This article keeps track of battery electric vehicle deliveries for Nio, Xpeng, Li Auto and Tesla on a quarterly and TTM basis.

Nio is the biggest Chinese EV startup by market cap. The company is founded in November 2014 in China and is traded on the NYSE with a ticker NIO.

However, NIO’s stock is an ADS or American Depository Shares and 1 ADS is equivalent to 1 common stock but shareholders of ADS cannot vote.

Nio designs, and develops, and jointly manufactures what it calls smart electric vehicles.

It’s having the same business model as Tesla in which the company sells its vehicles on a retail basis.

The major difference between Nio and Tesla is that Nio’s vehicles are designed to have swappable batteries whereas Tesla isn’t.

Some of Nio’s flagship vehicles include the ES8, a 7-seater flagship premium smart electric SUV launched in Dec 2017, and is a direct competition to Tesla’s Model Y.

Aside from the ES8, Nio also has launched several other newer SUV models such as the ES6, a 5-seater high-performance premium smart electric SUV and the EC6, a 5-seater premium smart electric coupe SUV.

Nio also has the ET7, a flagship premium smart electric sedan.

Launched in Jan 2021, the ET7 is a direct competition to Tesla’s Model 3.

Similarly, Xpeng is another battery electric vehicle startup from China and is traded on the NYSE with a ticker XPEV.

XPEV is also a form of ADS but each ADS represents 2 Class-A ordinary shares.

All told, let’s look at the delivery figures of Tesla, Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto.

Electric Vehicle Deliveries (Quarterly And With Tesla)

Vehicle delivery with Tesla (quarterly)

Vehicle delivery with Tesla (quarterly)

* Vehicle delivery numbers are obtained from the respective companies’ press releases.
* All companies’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

On a quarterly basis, Tesla delivered 240,000 vehicles in fiscal 3Q 2021 and is on track to reach 900,000 vehicles by the end of 2021.

On the other hand, Nio delivered only 24,000 vehicles in fiscal 3Q 2021, only 1/10th of what Tesla achieved in the same quarter.

Xpeng’s vehicle deliveries surpassed that of Nio in fiscal 3Q 2021 at 26,000 units while Li Auto’s vehicle deliveries clocked in at 25,000 units, also slightly ahead of Nio.

Nio’s quarterly vehicle delivery in 3Q 2021 was driven predominantly by strong sales of the ES8, ES6 and EC6 models.

In Nio’s case, SUVs have so far dominated its vehicle deliveries as its ET7, a newly launched sedan has only debuted in Jan 2021.

On the flipped side, XPeng’s vehicle sales consisted primarily of the delivery of P7, its super-long range smart sedan.

Similarly, Li Auto has only 1 model to deliver as of fiscal 3Q 2021 and that is the Li ONE which contributed 100% to the entire vehicle delivery reported in the 3rd quarter.

In short, Tesla is still the dominant player in the electric vehicle space as of 3Q 2021 despite the emergence of strong Chinese players.

Electric Vehicle Deliveries (Quarterly And Without Tesla)

Vehicle delivery without Tesla (quarterly)

Vehicle delivery without Tesla (quarterly)

* Vehicle delivery numbers are obtained from the respective companies’ press releases.
* All companies’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

Without Tesla in the chart, we can see a much clearer picture of Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto’s vehicle deliveries.

Accordingly, both Xpeng and Li Auto’s vehicle deliveries were surging in fiscal 3Q 2021 and even surpassed that of Nio.

In fiscal 3Q 2021, Xpeng and Li Auto delivered 25,666 and 25,116 vehicles, respectively, while Nio’s delivery came in at only 24,439 units.

Nio used to beat Xpeng and Li Auto in terms of the delivery figure by a large margin.

While Nio’s delivery figure may have lagged slightly behind its peers, its 2021 growth rate was still extremely impressive, notably at more than 100% in fiscal 3Q 2021.

Over the last 3 years, all Chinese EV companies, including Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto have experienced tremendous growth in terms of electric vehicle deliveries.

The vehicle sales growth has been the most significant since fiscal 2020 for the Chinese players.

Since 2020, Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto have been racing to ramp up their productions and building new factories.

For example, Xpeng is currently building a new manufacturing base in Wuhan, China which will have an annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles.

Similarly, Nio also has kicked off the planning and building of a new plant in Xinqiao Industrial Park in Hefei, China.

In short, electric vehicles are becoming mainstream not only in China but also globally.

Electric Vehicle Deliveries (TTM And With Tesla)

Vehicle delivery with Tesla (TTM)

Vehicle delivery with Tesla (TTM)

* Vehicle delivery numbers are obtained from the respective companies’ press releases.
* TTM figures are calculated based on the sum of the quarterly data on a trailing 12-month or 4-quarter basis.
* All companies’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

The quarterly plot may not clearly show the growth rates of Nio, Xpeng, Li Auto and Tesla’s vehicle deliveries.

Therefore, a TTM or trailing 12-month plot is created above to smooth out the quarterly plot and provide readers with a much clearer picture of Nio, Xpeng and Tesla’s car sales.

As shown in the chart, Tesla is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to delivering battery electric vehicles.

As of 3Q 2021, Tesla’s TTM car sales have already totaled more than 800,000 units, a far higher figure compared to Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto.

On the other hand, Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto’s TTM car deliveries have yet to reach the 100,000 units milestone.

Again, Tesla is leading the EV race and most Chinese EV players are still significantly behind Tesla when it comes to car sales volume.

Electric Vehicle Deliveries (TTM And Without Tesla)

Vehicle delivery without Tesla (TTM)

Vehicle delivery without Tesla (TTM)

* Vehicle delivery numbers are obtained from the respective companies’ press releases.
* TTM figures are calculated based on the sum of the quarterly data on a trailing 12-month or 4-quarter basis.
* All companies’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

Without Tesla in the chart, we can see a much clearer picture of Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto’s TTM car deliveries.

As of 3Q 2021, Nio’s TTM car sales have reached 84,000 units whereas Xpeng, as well as Li Auto’s TTM figures, were slightly lower at 69,000 and 70,000 units, respectively, during the same period.

However, the TTM plot of Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto has shown that their vehicle delivery growth has been on a tear.

For example, Nio’s TTM vehicle delivery growth rate was 140% while Xpeng’s vehicle delivery growth rate was much higher at more than 300% in fiscal 3Q 2021 on a year-on-year basis.

Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto have been fast catching up in the EV race, especially in the Chinese market, despite the COVID-19 headwind and microchip crisis.

The growth of the Chinese EV makers has been reflected in the explosive growth of their market capitalization after their respective IPO.

At the time this article was updated, Nio’s market cap has actually exceeded that of Ford at nearly $60 billion USD while Xpeng and Li Auto are closing in fast.

Average Sales Price Per Vehicle

Average sales price per vehicle

Average sales price per vehicle

* Sales price per vehicle is calculated by the author and is based on the ratio of TTM automotive revenue to TTM vehicle deliveries.
* Tesla’s sales price per vehicle is excluding those that come from energy sector and carbon credits while Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto may include leasing revenue if there is any.
* TTM figures are calculated based on the sum of the quarterly data on a trailing 12-month or 4-quarter basis.
* All companies’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

The sales price per vehicle chart above is a quick way to figure out which electric vehicle maker has the lowest sales price per vehicle.

The automaker with the lowest sales price will most likely dominate the electric vehicle space going forward and go on to win the EV race.

Keep in mind that the comparison is valid to some extends given the same business model and the same accounting standard that these companies are adopting.

According to the chart, Nio’s average sales price per vehicle was at the highest at $55,000 USD per vehicle reported in fiscal 2Q 2021.

Tesla ranks 2nd at slightly below $50,000 USD per vehicle as of fiscal 2Q 2021.

Xpeng has the lowest average sales price per vehicle at slightly above $30,000 USD per vehicle.

Li Auto’s average sales price per vehicle hovers around $43,000 USD as of 2Q 2021, which is considerably lower than that of Nio and Tesla.

While Nio’s sales price per vehicle has been on a decline since 2019, it went up again starting in fiscal 2020 and was the highest in the latest quarter of 2Q 2021 at $55,000.

In contrast, Tesla’s sales price per vehicle has continued to drop over the last 3 years and was the lowest as of 2021 Q2 at $49,000 per car sold.

Similarly, Li Auto’s average sales price per vehicle also has been on a decline after the debut of its Li ONE flagship vehicle.

Xpeng’s sales price per vehicle has remained flat in the last several quarters but has slightly ticked higher over the years and was the highest at $32,000 as of 2Q 2021.

Of all EV makers, Xpeng seems to have a lower average sales price per vehicle compared to other EV makers, including those from China.

As a result, that probably explains the lower margin for Xpeng according to this article: Xpeng’s gross margin compared to Nio, Li Auto And Tesla.

Market Valuation Per Vehicle

NIO Xpeng Li Auto Tesla
Market Cap As Of Oct 2021 ($ Millions) $55,000 $30,000 $28,000 $780,000
TTM Vehicles Deliveries As Of 3Q 2021 83,748 69,368 69,734 807,920
Market Cap Per TTM Vehicle Deliveries ($ Millions) $0.66 $0.57 $0.40 $0.97

* Market valuation per vehicle is calculated by the author and is based on the ratio of market capitalization to TTM vehicle deliveries.
* TTM figures are calculated based on the sum of the quarterly data on a trailing 12-month or 4-quarter basis.
* All companies’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

I am often baffled by the high market valuation of electric vehicle makers such as Tesla, Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto compared to conventional vehicle makers such as Ford, GM, Toyota, Volkswagen, etc.

For example, Nio’s market cap is closing in fast on that of GM despite having its IPO completed only in Sept 2018 while GM has existed for decades.

Similarly, both Xpeng and Li Auto’s market cap is fast closing in on that of Ford despite having its IPO completed only in August 2020.

On a TTM basis, Tesla commands the highest valuation at nearly $1 million market cap per vehicle sold and Li Auto seems to be at the lowest end at only $0.40 million market cap per vehicle sold as shown in the table above.

Both Nio and Xpeng’s valuations are about the same at $0.66 million and $0.57 million per vehicle sold.

In short, Tesla’s vehicle delivers nearly $1 million of market cap per car to the company and is the highest among all EV makers.

The reason for the sky-high valuation, in the case of Tesla, Nio and Xpeng, is most likely due to the fact that these companies are not treated as automotive makers.

Instead, they are viewed as more of a tech company, such as a software maker by Wall Street, thereby the premium valuation.

Additionally, Wall Street is expecting that EV makers such as Nio, Xpeng and Tesla to have a subscription-based business model going into the future and this further boosted their valuations.

For example, features such as swappable batteries, self-driving software, charging services, etc could someday become a cash cow for these companies.

As a result, investors are betting big on Nio, Xpeng, and Tesla, and possibly Li Auto.

While Li Auto may have the lowest valuation now compared to its peers, it will catch up to them pretty soon.

Conclusion

Tesla is still dominating the electric vehicle space and has the highest delivery number when compared to Chinese EV companies, including Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto.

On a TTM basis, Nio, the biggest EV company by market cap in China, delivered only 84,000 vehicles as of fiscal 3Q 2021 and this represents only 1/10th of what Tesla has achieved in the same period.

Xpeng and Li Auto’s figures were even less at only a fraction of what Tesla has delivered in the last 12 months at 69,000 and 70,000 vehicles, respectively.

Despite the relatively low car sales figure compared to Tesla, Nio and Xpeng’s growth rates have been on a tear, with TTM delivery figures growing at more than 140% and 300% year-over-year in fiscal 3Q 2021.

In terms of the average sales price per vehicle, both Xpeng and Li Auto have the lowest number at only $32,000 USD and $43,000 USD per vehicle, respectively, compared to $49,000 USD and $55,000 per vehicle for Tesla and Nio.

All electric-vehicle makers such as Tesla, Nio and Xpeng are commanding sky-high valuation due to the potential of a subscription-based business model that investors are seeking from these companies.

At the same time, Li Auto has the lowest valuation at only $0.40 million of market cap per car sold.

References and Credits

1. Financial figures for all companies discussed above were obtained and referenced from their respective financial statements which can be obtained from the following links:

a) TeslaInvestor Relations
b) NIO Investor Relations
c) Xpeng Investor Relations
d) Li Auto Investors Overview

2. Featured images are used under Creative Common Licenses and obtained from NIO ES6 and NIO ES8 interior.

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Disclosure

The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is neither a recommendation nor a piece of financial advice to purchase a stock.

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