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Nio’s Growth Stagnates as Foreign Adversaries Expand in China

By Dave Yin / Dec 06, 2019 03:21 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Embattled Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio Inc. reported a slight uptick in deliveries in November from October as the company struggles with a cash crunch, a cooling electric car market, and a crop of foreign entrants.

Nio delivered 2,528 cars in November, consisting of 2,067 ES6s and 461 ES8s, the company said Thursday. The total represents the fourth consecutive month that sales have risen, but November deliveries were only two cars higher than in October, marking a dramatic deceleration from previous months. In October, Nio’s sales grew 25% month-on-month.

Once considered a domestic challenger to American electric vehicle (EV) giant Tesla, Nio has struggled to secure funding after burning through $5 billion in four years while delivering fewer than 30,000 cars. It also recalled almost 5,000 vehicles earlier this year over battery safety concerns.

In response to low sales, the carmaker cut its workforce by more than a tenth as of the end of the third quarter compared with the start of the year. Last month, the company hired an analyst as its chief financial officer after the previous one resigned, Bloomberg reported.

In an effort to counter a months-long slump in the industry following steep subsidy cuts, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) raised sales targets for new-energy vehicles including EVs to a quarter of all car sales by 2025 from a previously planned 20%.

As of November, electric car sales fell for at least four months, while China’s overall auto market has sustained a general decline for nearly a year and a half.

Meanwhile, foreign automakers are moving to capitalize on positive signals from regulators. Last month, Tesla said its long-awaited China-produced Model 3 was going on sale; BMW AG’s plan to produce EVs in China received regulatory approval; and General Motors’ Chinese joint venture disclosed plans to invest $4.3 billion in EVs over the next five years.

Contact reporter Dave Yin (davidyin@caixin.com)

Related: China Raises 2025 New-Energy Vehicle Sales Target to 25% of All Cars


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