Nio (NIO), the former darling of China EV startups, turned into a laggard amid slumping sales. But Nio stock popped Wednesday to extend its hot streak in July as anticipation builds for a stronger second half of 2023 on the back of new and more affordable electric vehicles.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley wrote Wednesday that they expect 15,000 Nio deliveries in July. They cited a production ramp-up of new models including the ES6 SUV and ET5 sedan.
Nio delivered 10,707 vehicles in June, up sharply from 6,155 in May, which was down a bit from 6,658 in April. Nio also joined the China price war in June, slashing prices of all EV models.
After a strong July, Nio should see “a steady uptrend toward September” when the startup is targeting 20,000 EV deliveries, Morgan Stanley analyst Tim Hsiao said in his note to clients.
The all-new, next-gen ES6 debuted in late May and made up more than 40% of June deliveries in its first full month of sales, CnEVPost.com calculates. Nio itself no longer breaks down EV sales by model. The ES6 is traditionally its top-seller.
In fact, most of Nio’s lineup of eight EVs is either new or totally overhauled, after the shift to a second-generation, highly advanced EV platform, which it calls Nio Technology 2.0 (NT2.0).
The company’s banking on that platform switchover to start paying off, after it curbed production and deliveries of certain models earlier this year.
“Nio is still in the early stages of vehicle ramps on its NT2.0 platform and could accelerate into the second half of 2023,” Mizuho analyst Vijay Rakesh wrote in a July 6 note to clients. He reiterated a buy rating on Nio shares and price target of $20.
Still, Rakesh cautioned that “costs and demand remain headwinds” for Nio. And Morgan Stanley’s Hsiao says Nio, once called the Tesla (TSLA) of China, has still to show stronger execution. Previously, analysts tied a slow production ramp of new Nio electric vehicles, like the ET5 and ET7, to delayed deliveries to customers, leading, in turn, to order cancellations.
Nio aims to double EV sales in 2023. Thus far, the overall China EV market shows healthy demand trends but also faces overcapacity issues, analysts say.
In stock market trading Wednesday, Nio stock rose 3.2% to 11.15, rallying for a fourth straight day. It closed above the 200-day moving average Monday for the first time since November 2021.
Nio stock surged nearly 11% in June and is up more than 15% in July so far as the ES6 ramps up.
XPeng stock climbed 1.3% on Wednesday to 15.16. XPEV stock is also up nearly 13% in July amid the launch of its new G6, an electric SUV that undercuts the Model Y in price.
On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs analyst Tina Hou initiated coverage of XPeng with a buy rating and a price target of $18.10. Hou cited the G6 launch and declining battery prices.
Li Auto remains the clear sales leader amid China EV startups this year. Li stock climbed 1.5% to 38.17 Wednesday, marking its best close in nearly a year. Shares are up 9% in July, taking the year-to-date rally to 87%.
Both the Nio ES6 and Xpeng G6 target the high-end, mid-size crossover market in China.
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