Is This As Good As It Gets for Nio Stock?


  • Nio (NIO) stock changed gears in April, pulling out a surprise sales increase after warning of slowing growth.
  • Just the month before management had warned investors to rein in expectations as it cut its Q1 delivery forecast.
  • Investors should take a wait-and-see because this could be a one-off event.
Nio stock - Is This As Good As It Gets for Nio Stock?

Source: Michael Vi /

Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio (NYSE:NIO) stock exploded higher last week, rising 25% on a surprisingly strong monthly delivery update. The EV maker said it had delivered 15,620 vehicles during April, a massive 134% increase over the year-ago figure. That brought its cumulative deliveries since starting to almost half a million EVs.

However, investors should still use caution. This unexpected good fortune of the leading Chinese EV company just might be as good as it gets.

A Surprising U-Turn for Nio Stock

This is quite a turnaround. While Nio had been mostly increasing deliveries each month by double-digit rates year-over-year (except in February, when they plunged 33%), the EV maker was expecting slower growth for the months ahead.

Even after introducing its new 2024 models at the beginning of March, Nio said it was “prudently” revising its deliveries estimate for the second quarter downward. It cut its outlook from a range of 31,000 to 33,000 vehicles back to 30,000 deliveries.

The move suggested the market was continuing to slow down and the new models were not gaining any traction yet with buyers.

But Nio stock suddenly hit the accelerator in April. It delivered more than half of the entire expected total for the coming quarter in just one month. Either May and June will be horrible months for sales or management completely misjudged demand, and not by just a little.

Despite this amazing uptake by consumers, management hasn’t updated its outlook for the quarter yet. That would be the prudent thing to do.

Cheaper Luxury

Nio has eight models of cars now split between SUVs (the ES8, ES7, ES6, EC7 and EC6) and sedans (the ET7, ET5 and ET5 Touring).

It announced in January it would begin delivering the 2024 models starting in March, and in February began accepting customer orders on everything except the ET7, which it would take orders on beginning in April. A new model, the ET9, will launch in the first quarter of 2025.

While it is selling more SUVs versus sedans in 2024 — 26,626 to 19,047 — the percentage of sedans sold is starting to creep higher. In January, 37% of the vehicles sold were sedans; in April, they totaled 43.5%. So even though it has more SUV models available, consumers are increasingly choosing the sedans.

The two platforms could eventually reach parity, which in theory could cut into Nio’s profit margins as they carry lower price tags.

An EV Outlier

Nio’s results confound what everyone else in the market is experiencing. BYD (OTCMKTS:BYDDY) saw a 49% increase in new-energy vehicles, with battery-electrics rising 29% and plug-in hybrids jumping 69%.

Li Auto (NYSE:LI) saw deliveries creep barely higher, rising 0.4% year-over-year while Xpeng (NYSE:XPEV) did better with a 33% gain.

It is definitely odd that a month after Nio management was hunkering down with an outlook for slower sales, consumers dramatically reversed course and embraced its higher priced cars more so than anyone else.

Nio and BYD are premium EV makers compared to the more affordable models for Li, Xpeng or even Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).

Moreover, the South China Morning Post notes that a price war has broken out amongst EV manufacturers, who not only have cut the prices on their cars but are offering additional discounts as well.

Nio, on the other hand, stands alone in keeping the prices of its cars unchanged.

I’m not saying Nio is lying about its numbers, but this could be a one-off event for the month, or maybe for even a quarter. The thing is, investors shouldn’t get too excited about this bit of good luck so soon after everything was looking so gloomy.

On the date of publication, Rich Duprey did not hold (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 Publishing Guidelines.

Rich Duprey has written about stocks and investing for the past 20 years. His articles have appeared on, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance, and he has been referenced by U.S. and international publications, including MarketWatch, Financial Times, Forbes, Fast Company, USA Today, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cheddar News, The Boston Globe, L’Express, and numerous other news outlets.

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