Tesla Investors Beware: Bad NIO, Li, XPeng April Deliveries Hit by Covid.

April Deliveries for Chinese Auto Makers Hit by Covid

A Covid outbreak in China, which forced production shutdowns, is weighing on April’s output numbers for electric vehicle makers.


Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

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Chinese electric vehicle makers


NIO
,


XPeng

and


Li Auto

reported April deliveries on Sunday morning. The numbers aren’t very good. That gives


Tesla

investors something else to worry about.

NIO (ticker: NIO) delivered 5,074 vehicles in April, down from about 10,000 delivered in March and down from about 7,100 delivered in April of 2021.

Looking ahead, Wall Street expects NIO to deliver about 31,000 vehicles in the second quarter, up from about 26,000 delivered in the first quarter of 2022. This isn’t a good start.

Covid appears to be the reason. “In late March and April 2022, the Company’s vehicle production and delivery have been impacted by the supply chain volatilities and other constraints caused by a new wave of the COVID-19 outbreaks in certain regions in China,” reads NIO’s news release.

That isn’t a surprise. Investors have known about Covid-related production problems in China for weeks. Covid lockdowns in Shanghai, for instance, shut Tesla’s plant in the area for weeks, costing Tesla (TSLA) perhaps 15,000 vehicle deliveries in the first quarter of 2022. Tesla ended up delivering about 310,000 vehicles, just up from the 309,000 delivered in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Li Auto (LI) delivered 4,167 vehicles in April, down from about 11,000 delivered in March and down from about 5,500 delivered in April 2021.

Looking ahead, Wall Street expects Li sales to grow to about $1.9 billion in the second quarter, up from about $1.5 billion projected for the first quarter. Li delivered almost 32,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2022.

Li talked about Covid in its news release, too: “The COVID-19 resurgence in the Yangtze Delta region continues to cause severe industry-wide disruptions in supply chain, logistics and production since late March.” Li makes cars in Changzhou, in the center of the region, and gets most of the parts for its cars locally.

XPeng (XPEV) results look a little better than Li or NIO numbers. XPeng delivered 9,002 vehicles in April, down from about 15,000 vehicles delivered in March, but up from about 5,000 delivered in April 2021.

Looking ahead, Wall Street expects XPeng sales to grow to about $1.3 billion in the second quarter, up from about $1.1 billion projected for the first quarter of 2022. XPeng delivered almost 35,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2021.

XPeng referenced Covid in its news release as well.

Combined, the three delivered about 18,000 vehicles in April. That’s the worst monthly result since May 2021 and below the roughly 21,000 combined vehicles delivered in February 2022—when the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday impacted results. But the silver lining is year-to-date, deliveries are up 73% year over year, driven by gains from Li and XPeng.

Li Auto stock has fallen 0.6% in premarket trading Monday, while XPeng has risen 1.1%, and Nio has slipped 0.4%.

Shares of the three companies have already been badly beaten up. Coming into Monday trading, NIO, XPeng and Li shares are down more than 40% year to date on average, far worse than the 13% and 21% comparable, respective declines of the


S&P 500

and


Nasdaq Composite Index.

The delivery results could also spill over into Tesla trading. Tesla’s Shanghai plant is its most productive. Wall Street’s second-quarter delivery expectations for Tesla, however, don’t look as aggressive as those for the other three. Analysts project Tesla will deliver about 305,000 vehicles in the second quarter, down from the 310,000 figure from the first quarter.

Tesla stock is also beaten up, dropping 19% in April, partly because of the market—the Nasdaq was off 13%—and partly as investors weighed the impact of CEO Elon Musk’s surprise plan to purchase


Twitter

(TWTR) on his car company. That, perhaps, explains why Tesla stock has advanced 0.4% Monday morning.

There’s a lot of bad news already in the stock.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

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