While Chinese manufacturers including NIO Limited (NIO), Li Auto Inc (LI), and XPeng Inc (XPEV) have been posing a competitive threat to Tesla, the U.S. automaker delivered five times as many cars worldwide last year as the three startups combined.
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives believes that the biggest gain from the high demand for electric cars in China will get Tesla, with its plant with an annual production capacity of 250,000 cars.
Over the weekend, the analyst reiterated his earlier view that global demand for electric vehicles “will see a major turnaround” in 2021 and “sales could double over the next few years, given pent – up demand for electric vehicles across all price categories.”
Ives expects that with further growth in China, Tesla will be able to deliver one million vehicles worldwide by 2022.
But in the presence of all these facts, business developments in Li Auto and Xpeng Motors for being smaller rivals could not be ignored as these are moving ahead at a faster pace.
Last Friday, Li Auto reported a sharp jump in sales of its only electric vehicle, the Li-One, in December by 530% to 6,126 units. Li shipments in the fourth quarter rose 67% from the previous quarter to 14,464 units, higher than the company’s plans. For the whole of 2020, Li Auto delivered 32,624 vehicles. Mass production of the Li-One began in November 2019.
Sales of Xpeng Motors, which sells G3 SUVs and P7 sedans, also jumped 326% to 5,700 electric vehicles in December. Xpeng sales increased 303% in the fourth quarter to 12,964 units and more than doubled for the full year 2020 to 27,041 units. The P7 sedan, which began mass deliveries at the end of June last year, accounted for more than half of annual sales.
Li Auto’s shares have increased by 97 percent since the IPO on 30 July 2020 and by 10.48 percent on Thursday. The shares of Xpeng Motors have increased by 123 percent since they were issued on August 27 last year and by almost 9.12 percent on Thursday.
Analysts at Bank of America initiated their recommendation for the LI’s stock with “Buy”, setting a price target of $42. This implies a mid-term prospect of 20% for the stock from the current levels of $35.
On the other hand, the target price of $58 set by the Deutsche Bank with a “Buy” recommendation hints at a mid-term growth prospect of 29% while the average target price of $49 could also be an addition of about 9%.