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Chinese EV manufacturers report falling November sales as demand slows

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A Li Auto showroom in Beijing. Credit: TechNode/David Cohen

Chinese electric vehicle makers reported slower growth in deliveries in November and some even saw decreases as the market continues to be hit by a macroeconomic downturn. Nio and Li Auto posted record deliveries, but Xpeng continued its delivery slump. For other automakers, Aion, Hozon, and Huawei-backed Aito reported a monthly decline in vehicle deliveries in the month while Zeekr and Leapmotor started to show signs of slowing growth.  

Why it matters: The latest figures reflect a slowdown of China’s electric vehicle market as consumer confidence is hit by fears of a potential recession while an ongoing rebound of Covid cases in the country impacts vehicle production.

Sales recovery: 

  • Li Auto and Nio saw significant sales recovery in November following a slump linked to growing competition and supply chain disruptions. The pair reported new record deliveries of 15,034 and 14,178 units, an increase of 50% and 41% from a month earlier, respectively.
  • Nio expanded its product portfolio from three to six models on sale this year. It began deliveries of its first sedan model, ET7, in March, followed by the medium-size ES7 crossover in August and the long-awaited ET5 sedan a month later.
  • Li Auto adopted a similar strategy, as delivery of its second large-size crossover the L9 started on Aug. 30 and that of the L8, a smaller version of the L9, came in October.

Xpeng’s slump:

  • Xpeng Motors has continued to report lackluster sales, saying November deliveries totaled 5,811 vehicles, a 14% increase from a month earlier but still far from the historic high of 15,414 units in March.  
  • The Alibaba-backed EV maker, once touted as a “Tesla killer” in China, is facing a number of challenges amid economic headwinds and fierce competition. Speaking to analysts on Thursday, chief executive He Xiaopeng said he expected its second crossover the G9 to drive deliveries back up to the threshold of 10,000 units in December.

Monthly declines: 

  • Aion on Thursday reported (in Chinese) sales of 28,765 units in November, 4% lower than last month, though it still represented a 91% growth from the same period last year. Vehicle deliveries totaled 241,149 units from January to November for the EV unit of state-owned automaker GAC, which represents a near doubling of last year’s total of 123,660 units.
  • Hozon, backed by Chinese battery giant CATL, followed a similar trajectory as deliveries increased 51% year-on-year but fell 16% from October to 15,072 vehicles last month. Year-to-date deliveries reached 144,278 units, with three entry-level crossovers and one mainstream sedan on sale from the brand.
  • Aito’s sales in November represented the firm’s first monthly decline since delivery began in March, down 31.3% month-on-month to 8,260 vehicles. The Huawei-backed EV brand provides two plug-in hybrid crossovers, the M7 and M5, which compete against Li Auto’s L9, a successor model based on the latter’s popular Li One SUV.

Slowing growth: 

  • Geely’s premium EV brand Zeekr said it delivered 11,011 vehicles in November, a nearly 9% month-on-month rise, compared with a 22.3% increase a month earlier. And yet year-to-date deliveries reached 66,611 units as of last month, inching closer to its annual goal of 70,000 vehicles.
  • Meanwhile, Hong Kong-listed Leapmotor reported a 14.4% month-on-month sales rally of 8,047 vehicles. However, vehicle delivery fell for a third straight month as of October after the Zhejiang-based automaker sold a milestone 12,525 cars in August.
  • Nevertheless, Zeekr and Leapmotor have emerged as strong competitors in the Chinese EV market. 
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Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen
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