Approximately one month before XPeng announced that it had reached 200,000 cumulative EV deliveries across the life of the company, NIO hit the same milestone. It’s a significant milestone that many expected the company would never reach — after all, how many EV startups can survive and thrive? Just as many very serous industry analysts said for years that Tesla would crash and burn, going bankrupt under the weight of its dreams, auto industry experts also predicted NIO would die a young death after failing to scale up production. Not so fast.
— NIO (@NIOGlobal) June 1, 2022
NIO launched its first vehicle years before XPeng launched its first, but the history is actually a little more complicated than commonly understood. NIO launched the EP9 in 2016, but the EP9 is clearly not a mass market vehicle (it’s a high-end sports car). NIO launched its first somewhat-mass-market vehicle, the ES8 SUV, in mid-2018. XPeng launched its G3 crossover in December 2018, just half a year later.[embedded content]
So, NIO’s ramp-up to 200,000 cumulative sales is actually very similar to XPeng’s ramp-up. However, as one person responding to the news pointed out, NIO has not seen nearly the growth in sales recently that some of its Chinese competitors have seen, including XPeng.
Wider picture: pic.twitter.com/PktwIuQFjf
— Kapitán Macheath (@MacheathK) June 1, 2022
One month does not tell the full story, though. NIO is based in Shanghai, which was recently hit quite hard by Covid-19 lockdowns. We’ll take a closer look at the companies’ growth over time in coming pieces, but keep in mind that not all is always as it seems on the surface — context is key. More context: the NIO ET5 is about to arrive, and as has always been the case in the auto industry, a hot new vehicle or even just an update to a vehicle model can dampen sales of other options from the company. Let’s check back in on NIO’s sales in the coming months.
Secondly, the big take-home point is that Chinese EV startups (or “smart electric vehicle” startups, as some of them prefer to call themselves) are shining bright and growing strong. They have indeed survived, and they’re even expanding into Western automotive markets at this point — starting with Europe. How much will NIO and XPeng grow in the coming years? Who will find more buyers in Europe and the United States? We shall see.
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