Li Auto revenue crushes views. Chinese EV stocks are soaring higher.

Li Auto (LI) reported strong fourth-quarter earnings early Monday. The Chinese EV maker traded slightly lower in the first quarter, but LI shares moved higher.




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Li Auto revenue

Li Auto earned 60 cents per ad, compared to 4 cents a year earlier. Revenue rose 130% to $5.88 billion. Analysts expected Li Auto earnings per ADS of 44 cents on revenue of $5.5 billion.

Li Auto announced on January 1 that it has delivered a record number of 131,805 vehicles, of which the cheapest EV, the L7, accounts for 52,552, or 40%.

Li Auto Outlook

The EV maker forecasts first-quarter revenue of $4.4 billion to $4.53 billion, up 66%-71% from a year earlier in local currency terms, but that’s lower than expectations analysts. Deliveries are expected to be between 100,000 and 103,000, up 90% to 96% from a year earlier, but down from the record 131,805 in the fourth quarter. That also falls under Wall Street’s objectives.

Li delivered 31,365 electric vehicles in January, up 106% from a year earlier but down 38% from December. That implies a turnover in February-March of 68,635-71,635.

Car sales in China are generally weak in the January-February period. Sales typically peak at the end of the year, while the extended Chinese New Year holiday has a major impact on production and sales.

Li Auto will report February sales on Friday, March 1 XPeng (XPEV), Nio (NIO) and several other Chinese EV manufacturers. EV and battery giant BYD (BYDDF) will report on March 1 or 2.

Tesla does not disclose Chinese sales. Industry data and insurance filings indicate that the US EV giant’s Chinese deliveries have also been weak.

Li Auto upcoming models

Li Auto currently sells three premium SUVs, the L7, L8 and L9. They are all extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs), essentially a form of plug-in hybrid.

On March 1, Li Auto will formally launch the Mega MPV or minivan, its first all-battery electric vehicle (BEV). That had already been postponed at the beginning of this year. The electric MPV or minivan segment is becoming increasingly crowded, with the Li Mega joining the cheaper but still premium XPeng X9 and BYD’s Denza D9.

Li will also unveil the 2024 versions of the L7, L8 and L9 on March 1.

In April, Li will unveil the L6, the first model under RMB 300,000.

The automaker also plans to launch three more BEV models in the second half of 2024.

Li Auto Stock

Li Auto shares rose 14% to 39.81 during market trading early Monday. Shares are down 7% in 2024 on February 23, but have recovered strongly since hitting a seven-month low of 26.43 on January 22. We are currently working on a double bottom base of 44% with a buy point of 42.35.

Aggressive investors could use a strong post-earnings rise above the 200-day line as an entry point for a position. A trendline entry around 37.50 is another option.

Li Auto stock is outperforming other EV stocks, which isn’t saying much.

Nio, XPeng, and BYD stocks are all trading near multi-month lows, along with Tesla stock. Rivaans (RIVN) crashed to a post-IPO low last week.

Nio shares gained almost 4% early Monday. XPeng rose almost 7%. Tesla shares rose 1%. Rivian moved higher.

BYD shares, which trade over-the-counter in the U.S., rose 2%.

BYD formally launched its Yangwang U9 supercar on Sunday, with a price tag of $236,000. It announced strong orders for the new, cheaper Honor variant of its entry-level Qin+ sedan after a week.

Follow Ed Carson on Threads at @edcarson1971, X/Twitter at @IBD_ECarson and Bluesky at @edcarson.bsky.social for stock updates and more.

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