President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan should provide some much-needed relief. Recently, though, InvestorPlace’s Sarah Smith wrote an excellent piece on 21 companies that will especially benefit from the bill. Electric vehicle stocks were among the initiative’s biggest net beneficiaries.
Unlike several other industries, electric vehicles (EVs) did not necessarily need a massive boost. Yes, we did have a market selloff that led to several risky EV plays losing some steam. But that was a temporary blip, one that withdrew to the background once Biden announced his plan.
On Mar. 26, UBS Group released a research note reaffirming this view. The Swiss multinational investment bank outlined three reasons why the “EV market still has room to run.”
First, while auto sales declined in 2020, global electric vehicle sales still increased by 43%. Secondly, governments around the world are enforcing tighter regulations to help EV sales increase. And finally, technological advances and a change in consumer preferences also serve as important tailwinds for the industry.
That said, though, the real wild card in the equation is China. It’s now the world’s biggest EV market and has fared quite well despite the pandemic. And unsurprisingly, some of the biggest electric vehicle stocks are from there. That’s why this list has some of the biggest names in the EV space which are betting big on that market.
So, without further ado, here are seven EV stocks that are focusing on China:
- Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)
- Nio (NYSE:NIO)
- Xpeng (NYSE:XPEV)
- Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI)
- General Motors (NYSE:GM)
- BYD Company (OCTMKTS:BYDDF)
- Ford (NYSE:F)
Electric Vehicle Stocks Focusing on China: Tesla (TSLA)
Tesla has become the poster child of the equity bull market. Nevertheless, TSLA stock remains the preeminent name among electric vehicle stocks.
Last year, the American electric-vehicle and clean-energy company delivered 499,550 vehicles, slightly missing its guidance of 500,000 vehicles. Still, that’s an excellent figure which stands head and shoulders above its peers.
China was a major driver for Tesla’s growth, with sales more than doubling to $6.66 billion, representing almost one-fifth of Tesla’s overall sales volume.
In 2019, Chinese sales represented just 12% of the overall sales pie for Tesla, so it’s certainly moving in the right direction. It also helps that Tesla has a local factory in Shanghai and that Elon Musk has enjoyed an excellent relationship with Chinese state authorities thus far.
Moving forward, Tesla’s main area of concern will be making sure it maintains its top position in the Chinese market. As we will get to later in this list, there are several competitors chomping at the bit to get a slice of the overall pie.
Our next entry on this list of electric vehicle stocks is NIO stock, the closest competition Tesla has in China. Unlike Elon Musk’s billion-dollar baby, Nio is extremely well entrenched in the Chinese market and enjoys a strategic relationship with the government that even Musk probably envies.
At the height of the pandemic, the Chinese EV maker inked a $1 billion bailout with the city of Hefei, the capital of the Anhui province. In exchange for the cash injection, it agreed to build a new subsidiary under the name Nio China. Additionally, Nio agreed to build a facility in Hefei to serve as headquarters for the subsidiary. A steeper price, however, was that the Hefei investor group now owns 24% of Nio China.
But focusing on the positives, the company does have excellent delivery numbers. For example, there were 7,257 vehicle deliveries in March, bringing total deliveries for the quarter to 20,060, a new record. This marks a continuation of the company’s excellent performance since. All in all, Nio has delivered stellar quarterly results for quite some time now.
Next up on this list of electric vehicle stocks is XPEV stock.
Although Nio had a great quarter, Xpeng stole a majority of the headlines. In the first quarter of 2021, the company delivered 13,340 vehicles, beating its guidance of 12,500 for the period. Moreover, there were 5,102 deliveries split almost evenly between the company’s P7 sedan and G3 SUV in March.
Much like its other Chinese counterparts, Xpeng is having a ball of a time. Its sales numbers remain steady while loss declines on the road to profitability. In Q4, the net loss came in at 787.4 million yuan ($120.7 million) versus a 1.15 billion yuan deficit in the third quarter and a 997.1 million yuan loss in Q4 2019.
With Xpeng’s performance continuing in this explosive manner, it’s only a matter of time before we see positive earnings per share (EPS) numbers. What’s more, much like Nio, the company has a strong connection with the Chinese government. It recently received $76.9 million from the Guangdong provincial government.
Much like the other provinces in the country, Guangdong wants to accelerate the shift towards electric cars. What better way to do that than partnering up with a leading firm like Xpeng.
Li Auto (LI)
Another Chinese EV maker that has its shares listed on a U.S. exchange is Li Auto. This company has also been an excellent performer. Somehow, though, LI stock does not get the same kind of love we see with Nio and Xpeng. Regardless, this pick of the electric vehicle stocks is a solid investment — one that is currently trading at almost half of its 52-week high.
Based in Beijing with manufacturing facilities in Changzhou, Li Auto reported a 238.6 % year-over-year (YOY) increase for its Li ONE deliveries in March. That brought total deliveries for the first quarter to 12,579, a YOY gain of 334.4%. Expect this momentum to continue for the company.
But that’s not the only good thing behind Li; the Chinese EV manufacturer also has an edge because the Li-One is a hybrid vehicle.
Yes, China is aggressively building out its EV capacity. However, charging stations are still somewhat sparse in China. So, in some ways Li Auto’s vehicle is a more attractive and convenient option for the middle-class consumers of the country.
General Motors (GM)
Perhaps it seems strange that we have gotten this far without talking about any of the major U.S. companies making waves in China, apart from Tesla. Well, that’s the state of the market, unfortunately. In China, foreign companies often have a tough time making inroads.
However, there are a few electric vehicle stocks that have made some progress. GM is one of those names. The iconic American carmaker actually delivered 2.9 million vehicles in the country last year, down 6.2% YOY but still an excellent return.
Another bright spot for GM stock is that the company’s sales recovered at a double-digit clip in the second half of last year. Chinese sales jumped 12% between July and September and 14% in the final three months of 2020.
General Motors has had a long-time presence in the region, too, having joint ventures with firms like state-owned SAIC Motor Corp, for instance.
But let’s talk specifically about the EV part of the business. In China, GM has a joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp and another partner, SGMW. The latter makes the Hongguang Mini EV, a popular two-door micro electric vehicle. It is the most sold EV model in China. So, with a foothold in this subsegment of the market, GM has all the incentive to move forward and expand further.
Our next entry on this list of electric vehicle stocks is a conglomerate in every sense of the word. It has its fingers in everything from energy storage to battery-powered bicycles to buses, batteries and most recently face masks.
Also, unlike some of its peers on this list, the company is profitable. So, there are no surprises why Warren Buffet likes this company. Currently, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A, NYSE:BRK-B) holds an 8.2% stake in BYD.
In 2020, BYD’s net income rose at 4.2 billion yuan ($644 million), surging 162%, with operating revenue rising to 153.5 billion yuan ($23.5 billion). Looking ahead, the Chinese electric-vehicle maker also forecasts net income of 200 million yuan to 300 million yuan ($30.6 million to $45.9 million) in the first quarter, up from 112.6 million yuan ($17.2 million) in the prior-year period.
But that’s not all. In March, BYD also managed to beat out both Nio and Xpeng in sales. Nio reported delivery of 7,257 units and Xpeng sold 5,102 units last month. Meanwhile, BYD delivered over 23,000 units for the same period, raising Q1 deliveries to 53,380 vehicles. Moreover, last year, BYD unveiled several new offerings, including its Han and Tang models.
Overall, there are plenty of positive catalysts for BYD stock. They make this one of the best electric vehicle stocks out there.
Let’s face it: Ford has been in trouble for a while. The company’s shares of all of its key markets have decreased over the last five years. However, there are silver linings that should help push this American automaker forward.
Firstly, CEO Jim Farley has laid out an aggressive strategy of revitalizing the brand. Farley is an insider with extensive experience at the company. Plus, before his time with Ford, he worked at Toyota (NYSE:TM) and was one of the leading figures behind the company’s Scion product launch.
Farley’s approach is paying dividends thus far. According to CNBC, the company beat Wall Street consensus earnings estimates three times in the last four quarters. Additionally, honing in on Chinese sales in 2020, the company and its joint ventures delivered 602,627 vehicles, representing 6.1% YOY growth.
In Q1 2021, Ford also sold 153,822 new vehicles in China, a 73% jump from the year-ago period and the “fourth consecutive quarter of growth in the region.” Additionally, the automaker is planning to build its Mustang Mach-E in China for the first time this year.
For the longest time, Mustang sports cars have been imported to the Chinese market. This new move will help the automaker exploit all the momentum it has managed to generate in the Chinese market lately — just another reason why F stock is becoming a competitive entry among electric vehicle stocks.
On the date of publication, Faizan Farooque did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Faizan Farooque is a contributing author for InvestorPlace.com and numerous other financial sites. Faizan has several years of experience in analyzing the stock market and was a former data journalist at S&P Global Market Intelligence. His passion is to help the average investor make more informed decisions regarding their portfolio.