Monday, May 16

Chinese EV makers post weaker April sales on COVID-related disruptions

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SHANGHAI — Three of China’s most prominent electric-car makers posted a steep drop in April sales after strict measures to combat COVID-19 disrupted production and deliveries, dampening one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for the vehicles.

Xpeng Inc, NIO Inc and Li Auto Inc plunged by 41.6%, 49% and 62% respectively in April versus March, data released by the companies this week showed.

Li Auto said its manufacturing took a major hit in April because 80% of its part suppliers are in Shanghai and surrounding areas, where the resurgence of COVID-19 disrupted the supply chain, logistics and production.

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NIO said it had paused production at its factory in Hefei on April 9 because of supply chain disruptions.

Xpeng fared better than its rivals because its factory is in China’s southern province of Guangdong, where the COVID situation has been stable and restrictions lighter than in Shanghai and Jilin.

But Xpeng Chief Executive He Xiaopeng warned last month that automakers across the country might have to suspend production if suppliers in Shanghai and surrounding areas were not able to resume work.

The Chinese government has said it is trying to solve transportation bottlenecks. Shanghai authorities have drafted a list of nearly 2,000 firms, including Tesla Inc and SAIC Motor Corp Inc , that have priority to resume production under so-called “closed-loop” management where workers are housed at the factory sites.

However, the output from firms on the Shanghai list remains low because of a lack of workers, said Chen Yudong, the president of auto supplier Bosch China.

Toyota Motor Corp is due to release its April sales data from China on Monday, while Tesla’s China sales are set to be disclosed next week through industry association data. (Reporting by Zhang Yan and Brenda Goh. Editing by Jamie Freed)

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