Xpeng CEO He Xiaopeng stands next to the company's P7 electric sedan speaking to the media at the 2020 Beijing Auto Show.
Evelyn Cheng | CNBC
BEIJING – Chinese electric car maker Xpeng predicts that it will deliver far fewer cars in the first three months of the year than competing start-up Nio.
Xpeng, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, announced overnight that it is expected to deliver around 12,500 vehicles in the first quarter. That implies deliveries of 4,250 cars for March, based on January's 6,015, down to 2,223 in February.
Even with the weeklong New Year holidays in mid-February, these numbers lag behind Nio's.
Last week, Nio forecast deliveries of 20,000-25,000 vehicles in the first quarter, implying deliveries of at least 7,197 cars in March. The company currently only ships SUVs and sells them in a higher price range than Xpeng's cars.
While Nio plans to deliver a sedan to customers early next year, Xpeng launched its P7 sedan last year, which accounts for a growing proportion of deliveries compared to its G3 SUV. Xpeng plans to bring out another sedan later this year.
Li Auto, another US-listed Chinese electric car company, issued the lowest forecast of the three startups with 10,500 to 11,500 deliveries for the first quarter.
Despite the attention of startups like Nio and Xpeng, older automakers Tesla and BYD are already selling electric cars on a far larger scale in China. In January alone, Tesla sold more than 14,500 China-made Model 3s and BYD more than 7,200 of its Han model, according to the China Passenger Car Association released on Tuesday.
After rising in 2020, the stocks of US-listed electric car companies have fallen in the past two months due to the volatile start of the year in the US stock market.
Xpeng's shares fell nearly 4% overnight and fell more than 35% for the year to date. Noio fell 7.6% overnight and more than 25% year-to-date. Li Auto's shares fell 5% earlier in the week and are down a previous 26% for the year to date. Tesla stock fell more than 5% on Monday and has fallen 20% year-to-date.
Autonomous driving software
As Nio, Tesla, and other automakers race to develop self-driving technologies, Xpeng began rolling out its autonomous driving software to some premium P7 sedan customers this year. With this technology, users can automate tasks such as changing lanes and entering and exiting highways.
Around a fifth of the more than 20,100 P7 sedans that were delivered from February onwards have activated the latest self-driving software, the management announced in a call for profits.
Xpeng reported that total revenue increased 43% from the third quarter to 2.85 billion yuan ($ 437 million) in the fourth quarter. The company expects first quarter sales to decrease slightly to 2.6 billion yuan.
Net losses decreased from 1.15 billion yuan in the previous quarter to 787.4 million yuan in the last three months of the year.