Three leading China EV startups – Li Auto, Nio and XPeng – saw April deliveries plunge as the impact of Shanghai’s protracted Covid lockdown hammered output.
Shanghai’s efforts to contain China’s worst Covid outbreak since it first erupted in Wuhan more than two years ago has crippled China’s auto sector supply chain. More than 20,000 suppliers in and around the megacity have ceased production or are unable to ship parts to downstream automakers scattered across the nation.
Li Auto reported the worst fall of the three, with deliveries down 62.2% from March to 4,167. Nio’s deliveries plunged 49.2% to 5,074 in April from the previous month and were down 24.4% from a year earlier.
The company that was least affected by the lockdown – Xpeng – is based in Guangzhou, in southern China. It’s Covid curbs and some mass testing began later and have not been as severe as in Shanghai. XPeng shipped 9,002 EVs in April, down 41.6% from March, but up 74.9% on a year earlier.
China EV Sales May Grind to a Halt
XPeng founder He Xiaopeng warned on Weibo last month that China’s auto production may grind to a halt if Shanghai cannot get its factories back to normal by May.
Nio’s plant is in Hefei, almost 300 miles west of Shanghai, while Li Auto’s factory is in Changzhou in Jiangsu province about 100 miles west of Shanghai. Li Auto says 80% of its EV parts were sourced from Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta.
Shanghai has loosened strict anti-Covid rules and allowed some traffic and production to repair the supply chain since the end of April. Tesla’s plant in the city and the state-owned Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) have restarted production, albeit at limited capacity.
The China Passenger Car Association warned that China’s total vehicle sales in April may plunge 31.9% from a year earlier to 1.1 million.
• By Frank Chen
Also on AF: