Nio, XPeng report rising sales as Wall Street awaits U.S. auto sales snapshot

Chinese electric-vehicle makers Nio Inc. and XPeng Inc. on Monday reported breakthrough sales numbers, albeit from low starting posts, as investors expect January car sales to continue to show the industry’s resilience through the pandemic.



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The EV makers’ sales news boosted shares of U.S. car makers, with Tesla Inc. rising 4% and Ford Motor Co. jumping 6%.

Nio said Monday it delivered 7,225 vehicles in January, a new monthly record for the company and a 352% rise from a year ago. It has delivered 82,866 vehicles in total, it said.

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Nio’s American depositary receipts rose on the news but later gave back those gains and traded nearly 3% lower. The stock is up 1,364% in the past 12 months, contrasting with gains of around 17% for the S&P 500 index in the same period.

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XPeng reported a nearly sixfold increase in January deliveries, selling 6,015 vehicles in January, up 470% from the same period a year ago. It was also XPeng’s third straight month of record deliveries. XPeng’s stock has soared nearly 150% over the past three months; the company’s ADRs started trading in August.

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For U.S. car sales, analysts at Deutsche Bank, led by Emmanuel Rosner, said they expect annualized sales around 16.2 million vehicles in January, down slightly from December’s but above November’s, “continuing to demonstrate impressive resilience in light of the high daily rate of infection from (COVID-19) in the US and ongoing restrictions nationwide.”

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Retail sales were seen down about 6% in the month, which had one fewer selling day this year. Fleet sales could see another decline around 30% on ongoing low daily rental activity, even though commercial and government fleet sales have shown signs of improvement, the analysts said.

They forecast 2021 U.S. sales around 15.8 million units, “with upside potential from new government infrastructure spending or EV incentives.”

Among U.S. makers, Ford is expected to report January sales within the next few days while Tesla and General Motors Co. will report first-quarter sales in early April. GM last week surprised markets with the goal of phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles and offering only EVs by 2035.

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Fredrick R. Siegel

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