Investors in the Chinese electric vehicle (EV) group Nio (NYSE:NIO) stock have been scratching their heads amidst the year-long decline. On Feb. 10, 2021, NIO stock hit a peak of $64.60 — a price that is now in the rearview mirror.
Then, Nio shares saw a 52-week low of $27.52 in late December and closed at $29.12 on Jan. 20, down 48% in the last 12 months and 4.5% year-to-date (YTD). By comparison, the S&P Kensho Electric Vehicles Index has dropped 21.6% in the past 52 weeks and 6.8% YTD.
Despite the decline in shares of many EV names, the industry is growing. For instance, new-energy vehicles (NEV) sales in China, the largest EV market in the world, is expected to exceed 5 million units in 2022. And EV sales should comprise over 30% of the nation’s auto market, reaching at least 7 million units, by 2025.
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities are reducing EV subsidies for 2022 and will withdraw them completely in 2023. Moreover, the government has recently removed a long-standing mandate and now allows for “full foreign ownership of passenger car manufacturing” in China.
Puzzled by the extended downtrend, investors of NIO stock wonder what could be in store for the company in 2022. Despite the positive industry outlook, fierce competition and stringent regulations could create further headwinds for NIO. Thus, investors might want to wait on the sidelines for the short-term.
Nio’s Q3 Performance
Management issued Q3 financial results in early November. Revenue soared 116.6% year-over-year (YoY) to 9,805.3 million RMB, or $1.5 billion. Total EV deliveries reached 24,439 vehicles, up 100.2% compared to year-ago quarter.
Net loss attributable to NIO’s ordinary shareholders came in at 2.86 billion RMB (or $443.7 million). It went up by over 140%, mainly due to the increase in operating expenses. Cash and equivalents were 47 billion RMB, or $7.3 billion at quarter end.
On these metrics, CEO William Bin Li said, “Despite the continued supply chain volatilities, our teams and partners are working closely together to secure the supply and production for the fourth quarter of 2021.”
Meanwhile, recent delivery figures point to a record delivery of 25,034 vehicles in Q4, up 44.3% YOY. Total deliveries ended 2021 with 91,429 vehicles, up 109.1% YOY. Nio is expected to report Q4 earnings in late February.
Adding NIO Stock to Portfolios
Among 26 analysts polled, NIO stock has a consensus buy rating. Also, the consensus of 25 analysts for a 12-month median price target stands around $58.43, implying an upside potential of 95% from current levels. The 12-month price estimates for the stock range between $37.74 and $87.64.
Put another way, despite the recent decline, NIO shares still look frothy by traditional valuation metrics. The same holds true for TSLA stock as well.
Yet the company gets significant attention due to its growth potential. Thus, despite the ongoing negative market sentiment, investors might want to keep the stock on their radars with a view to buy around $29, or even below.
Meanwhile, interested readers could also consider investing in an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that also holds NIO stock. Examples include the First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (NASDAQ:QCLN), the Invesco PureBeta FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (BATS:PBEE), the KraneShares MSCI China Clean Technology ETF (NYSEARCA:KGRN) or the VanEck Vectors Low Carbon Energy ETF (NYSEARCA:SMOG).
Bottom Line on NIO Stock
Currently, NIO is one of the top-selling EV manufacturers in China. It sells a number of car models including a coupe sports car and three SUV models. Since last September, Nio has been selling its ES8 model in Norway as well. The company plans to expand into five more countries in Europe in 2022 and more than 25 countries worldwide by 2025.
Also, this year management is launching two new models. The luxury sedan ET7, will be available for orders as of Jan. 20. Deliveries are expected to start by late-March. The other new model, the ET5, is a midsize premium smart electric sedan. Deliveries are anticipated to commence in September 2022.
As part of these expansion plans, a second manufacturing plant is being built at NeoPark in Hefei. The facility, which will help meet the growing demand, is expected to become operational around September 2022.
In summary, Nio has a solid product line and offers tangible growth strategies. However, NIO shares could continue to come under pressure in 2022, in part due to tougher competition, higher operational costs and regulatory risks. Given the upcoming tightening moves by the Federal Reserve, investors are also taking money off the table. Therefore, NIO stock could easily continue to slip further below $30. Long-term investors might still need to be patient.
On the date of publication, Tezcan Gecgil did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Tezcan Gecgil has worked in investment management for over two decades in the U.S. and U.K. In addition to formal higher education in the field, she has also completed all 3 levels of the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) examination. Her passion is for options trading based on technical analysis of fundamentally strong companies. She especially enjoys setting up weekly covered calls for income generation.