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Nio (NIO) more than doubled March sales sequentially as production recovered from a coronavirus hit the prior month. The so-called Tesla (TSLA) of China also topped its own guidance for the first quarter, as Tesla gears to debut a long-range Model 3 for the Chinese market. Nio stock leaped early Tuesday.
Nio delivered 1,533 premium electric SUVs, up 116.8% from 707 vehicles in February. Production gradually recovered in March, the Shanghai-based company said. Nio’s February sales were down 56% month over month and down 12.8% year over year.
Nio delivered 1,373 vehicles in March 2019. At the time Nio only sold the seven-seater ES8. It has since expanded its lineup to include the five-seater ES6, which made up 96% of Nio’s sales last month.
In Q1, Nio delivered 3,838 vehicles, or 9.7% higher than the midpoint of its delivery guidance for the quarter.
Order backlogs also have increased since February, Nio said.
The coronavirus outbreak “is largely brought under control in China at this stage,” Nio CFO Steven Feng said in a statement. The China EV startup is “working closely with our supply chain partners to resume normal productions,” he added.
Nio’s Q1 deliveries fell nearly 4% from 3,989 vehicles in the year-ago quarter.
Shares of Nio jumped 11% to 2.74 in early trade on the stock market today. The relative strength line of Nio stock is lackluster in the coronavirus stock market correction, within a longer-term decline. The RS line is the blue line in the chart shown.
Cash-strapped Nio is among dozens of Chinese electric carmakers seeking to challenge Tesla. But China’s electric car industry has spluttered as the government reduces incentives, while Tesla sales continue to outshine in the troubled market.
Sources told Bloomberg Tuesday that Tesla plans to expand its lineup in China by offering a locally built Model 3 sedan with a longer driving range as early as this week. The price tag on the longer-range China-made Model 3 reportedly will be just 8% more than the locally made standard-range Model 3, a much-smaller premium than in the U.S.
Tesla stock rose 4.4% early Tuesday.