Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker NIO saw its deliveries fall in May due to a global semiconductor shortage, while rival XPeng’s sales continued to grow at a robust pace as the company managed to prevent the chip crisis from hobbling its business.
The duo released their delivery results for May on Tuesday. NIO delivered 6,711 vehicles last month, an increase of 95.3% year-on-year. However, that was down 5% from 7,102 in April. XPeng said it delivered a total of 5,686 vehicles in May, representing a 483% hike year-on-year, and a 10% increase from the previous month. That was faster than the 285% year-on-year increase and 0.9% month-on-month growth seen in April.
XPeng’s May deliveries consisted of a record high 3,797 units of its P7 sports sedan and 1,889 units of its G3 SUV. As of May 31, the carmaker’s year-to-date total deliveries reached 24,173 units, representing a 427% increase year-on-year.
XPeng said that it expects total second quarter deliveries to fall between 15,500 and 16,000 vehicles.
According to a statement published by NIO, its vehicle delivery last month was “adversely impacted” for a few days by the volatility of semiconductor supply and certain logistical adjustments. However, the automaker is confident that it will be able to accelerate the delivery in June to make up for the May delays, reiterating its delivery target of 21,000 to 22,000 vehicles for the second quarter of 2021.
As of May 31, cumulative deliveries of Nio’s three models — the ES8, ES6 and EC6 — reached 109,514 units.
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Automakers across the globe have been grappling with a shortage of semiconductors, the tiny but critical components of vehicles implemented for a range of purposes including infotainment systems, power steering, cruise control and brakes.
The origin of the supply crisis dates to early last year when the COVID-19 pandemic halted vehicle production and shipment globally. After auto manufacturing was suspended, chip suppliers diverted their products to other sectors like consumer electronics as the stay-at-home trend boosted demand for smartphones and laptops.
But shoppers’ enthusiasm for new cars was still burning during the shutdowns, and the automotive industry recovered at a faster speed than expected. However, after car plants reopened worldwide, chip suppliers were continuing to divert resources away from the automotive industry and attempting to play catch-up with demand from the carmakers.
Research firm IHS Markit forecasts that 672,000 fewer vehicles will be produced in the first quarter of 2021 due to the semiconductor shortage, including 250,000 units in the world’s largest automotive market, China, CNBC reported.
XPeng saw its New York-listed stock jump 7.69% on Tuesday to $34.6 per share. NIO’s shares climbed 9.63% to $42.34 on Tuesday when Citigroup analyst Jeff Chung upgraded the stock to buy from neutral, saying in a note to clients that the company should see sales growth accelerate in the coming months.
NIO and XPeng are seen as primary contenders in a dense field of Chinese EV upstarts trying to take on incumbent Tesla, though they are significantly smaller in terms of delivery numbers. By comparison, Tesla sold 25,845 made-in-China vehicles in April, according to data by the China Passenger Car Association.
The duo’s May numbers come as Tesla endures mounting criticism of its product quality and customer service in China. News of traffic accidents involving Tesla vehicles have gone viral on Chinese social media during the last weeks, after an angry customer created one of the company’s worst public relations storms by climbing atop a Tesla car at the Shanghai Auto Show in April to protest the automaker’s alleged brake failures.
Last year, China delivered 1.17 million new-energy vehicles including pure-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell cars. Research firm Canalys projects that in 2021, EV sales in China may reach 1.9 million units, marking a 51% surge year-on-year and a 9% growth of EVs within the country’s overall automobile market, as consumers embrace greener vehicles and the government provides subsidies to support the industry.