Business is booming.

Tesla and other EV makers report record sales, sending stocks to new highs


Tesla Inc. shares are on their way to their first record of the year as the Silicon Valley electric-car maker and several Chinese electric-car makers closed 2020 with eye-popping sales.

Tesla
TSLA,
+2.56%

said Saturday that it produced more than half a million vehicles in 2020, delivering 499,550 of these in the year. The deliveries, Tesla’s proxy for sales, included the delivery of 442,511 Model 3 sedans and Model Y compact SUVs. Fourth-quarter deliveries came in ahead of consensus.

See also: Tesla has a $20 billion ‘war chest’ for 2021 and beyond

The company in early 2020 guided for the delivery of more than 500,000 vehicles in the year. Sales expectations for 2021 hover around 800,000 vehicles, with Tesla likely to provide official guidance in the coming weeks.

“When we evaluated the impact of a COVID-induced recession on demand … hitting 500k in deliveries appeared to be out of reach,” analyst Ben Kallo at Baird said in a note Monday.

Tesla is benefiting from the fact that EV penetration “continues to outpace expectations with electrification momentum accelerating during the pandemic from both a regulatory and consumer sentiment perspective,” he said.

Tesla shares traded as high as $744.49, a new intraday record. Monday’s performance also stretches the stock’s winning streak to seven sessions, up more than 14% over this period. Tesla stock has gained 711% in the past 12 months.

Tesla’s recent sales numbers will do little to move bulls and bears on the stock and analyst Jeffrey Osborne at Cowen said he expects “a fierce debate on the stock to continue.”

“All eyes will be on margins,” he said. Tesla recently started making the Model Y in China at a price that was below expectations, and “China has some of the fiercest competition for EVs globally.”

American depositary receipts of several Chinese-based EV makers also gained on Monday, with ADRs of Nio Inc.
NIO,
+7.57%

up more than 10% and looking poised to close at their highest level since Nov. 27.

Nio on Sunday said it delivered 43,728 vehicles in 2020, up 112.6% year-over-year. The company delivered 17,353 vehicles in the three months ended in December, an increase of 111% on the year and ahead of expectations.

Nio said its battery-as-service program has been popular with buyers, with more than 40% of December orders opting for the battery-swap service. Nio promised to unveil a new model and update the market on its driverless-car technologies on Jan. 9, its fourth “Nio Day.”

Nio’s ADRs last month got an upgrade to hold from analysts at Goldman Sachs mostly on the strength of the battery-as-service program.

With most households in China lacking the conditions needed to install private chargers, especially outside of main cities, and public charging stalls often busy, the service, in which users buy a Nio car without a battery and go on to swap batteries as needed, expands Nio’s market share.

XPeng Inc.
XPEV,
+5.83%

and Li Auto Inc.
LI,
+9.82%

ADRs also gained on Monday, up 9% and 13%. Both ADRs traded at their best level since Dec. 21.

XPeng on Sunday said it delivered 27,041 vehicles in 2020, a 112% increase year-over-year. Li Auto on Friday said it had delivered 32,624 Li ONE vehicles, its first vehicle. Li Auto started Li One deliveries in December 2019.



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