On August 14, U.S electric mobility major Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) announced a fresh round of price cuts for Model Y and Model 3 in China. This move was soon followed by further price cuts on August 16, in which Model S and Model X prices were reduced by $7,400 and $8,500, respectively.
These moves aimed to boost sales and gain market share by undercutting intense competition from domestic automakers, to whom the auto major lost ground even as it is ramping up production in its Shanghai Gigafactory.
Contrary to this being an isolated incident, carmakers in the U.S. and Europe are once again under siege after ceding ground to Japanese automakers with superior energy efficiency rendered desirable in the aftermath of the oil embargo between 1970 and 1990.
However, this time around, the war is on climate change, the goal is rapid decarbonization and energy transition, the battleground is smart, connected, and electric mobility solutions, and the invaders are from the other side of the Pacific, beyond the Sea of Japan.
Recently, after BYD Company Limited (BYDDY) delivered its five millionth electric vehicle, its founder Wang Chuanfu declared the “time has come for Chinese brands.” And he has good reason to be optimistic. Chinese automakers have access to its vast domestic market, abundant supplies of resources, such as rare earths, which are critical for energy transition, and a government keen on seeing its domestic brands compete globally.
China’s dominance in rare earth and other clean energy metals is back in the limelight after the recent export restriction on germanium and gallium. With the trade war between the U.S. and China intensifying amid restrictions on exports of semiconductor chips and investments in other cutting-edge technology by the former, the latter is expected to keep upping the ante.
This could hurt the prospects of Western car manufacturers as they might be compelled to deal with increased input costs on top of exchange-rate headwinds and credit crunch due to the Federal Reserve ratcheting up the benchmark borrowing cost to 5.25%-5.50% from nearly 0% in a span of 16 months.
While carbon border tax and other protective measures could provide temporary shelter for besieged Western automakers, the beneficiaries stand to lose more if the Chinese government cuts off their access to the massive domestic market on which the Chinese automakers could always fall back upon encountering turbulence overseas.
In such a circumstance, former Aston Martin chief executive Andy Palmer might be justified in his statement that manufacturers in Europe and the US face a “real and present danger.”
As the adage goes, “If you can't beat them, join them,” here are five stocks that could be worthy of consideration in case the Western defenses do get breached:
In addition to being a manufacturer and seller of transport vehicles, Chinese automaker BYDDY is also engaged in the manufacture and sales of electronic parts and components and electronic devices for daily use, such as rechargeable batteries and photovoltaic products, mobile phone parts and assembly, and related products.
Over the last three years, BYDDY’s revenue and net income have grown at a 59.8% CAGR, while its EBITDA has grown at a 48.2% CAGR. During the same time horizon, the company’s net income and total assets have grown at 173.3% and 41.9% CAGRs, respectively.
Last year, BYDDY overtook Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) as the world’s top electric car maker, including plug-in hybrids. With its five millionth new energy vehicle (NEV), a DENZA N7, rolling off on August 9, the Chinese auto major is aiming to outpace TSLA on purely battery-powered cars this year.
Here’s the legendary investor Charlie Munger summing up the rivalry between BYDDY and TSLA by commenting, “This carmaker is so ahead of Tesla in China, it's ridiculous.”
On July 14, it was revealed that BYDDY submitted a $1 billion investment proposal to build electric cars and batteries in India in partnership with privately held Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructures.
On July 4, BYDDY confirmed an investment of R$3 billion ($602.97 million) to start operations in three factories simultaneously in the Camaçari complex, 50km from Salvador, Brazil. The company believes that Domestic production will allow for more competitive prices and the possibility for a car-loving population to own an electric vehicle in the garage.
Analysts expect BYD’s revenue and EPS for the fiscal year 2023 to increase by 41.1% and 44.7% year-over-year to $87 billion and $2.40, respectively. Revenue and EPS are expected to increase by 23% and 30.1% year-over-year to $107.20 billion and $3.13, respectively.
Headquartered in Beijing, LI designs, develops, manufactures, and sells smart new energy passenger vehicles (NEVs). The company also sells peripheral products and offers related services, such as charging stalls, vehicle Internet connection services, and extended lifetime warranties.
Over the last three years, LI’s revenue has grown at 263.4% CAGR, while its total assets have grown at 115.8% CAGR.
For the fiscal 2023 second quarter that ended June 30, LI’s total vehicle deliveries increased by 201.6% year-over-year to come in at 86,533 units. As a result, vehicle sales and total revenues for the same period increased by 229.7% and 228.1% year-over-year to RMB 27.97 billion ($3.85 billion) and RMB 28.65 billion ($3.94 billion).
LI’s non-GAAP net income was RMB2.73 billion ($375.38 million) in the second quarter of 2023, compared with RMB183.4 million ($25.22 million) non-GAAP net loss in the previous-year quarter.
For the fiscal year 2023, LI’s revenue is expected to increase by 146.3% year-over-year to $16.07 billion, while its EPS is expected to come in at $1.03 compared to $0.01 during the previous fiscal. Revenue and EPS are expected to increase by 53.7% and 50.5% year-over-year to $24.70 and $1.55, respectively.
Headquartered in Shanghai, NIO designs, develops, manufactures, and sells high-end smart electric vehicles. The company also offers energy and service packages; design and technology development activities; manufacture of e-powertrains, battery packs, and components; and sales and after-sales management activities.
Over the last three years, NIO’s revenue has grown at an 87.7% CAGR, while its total assets have grown at a 79.9% CAGR.
On August 1, NIO announced the delivery of 20,462 vehicles in July 2023, representing an increase of 103.6% year-over-year. The deliveries consisted of 14,066 premium smart electric SUVs and 6,396 premium smart electric sedans. With this, the cumulative deliveries of NIO vehicles reached 364,579 as of July 31, 2023.
On July 12, NIO announced the closure of a $738.5 million strategic equity investment from CYVN Investments RSC Ltd, an affiliate of CYVN Holdings L.L.C., an investment vehicle majority owned by the Abu Dhabi Government with a strategic focus on advanced and smart mobility.
Going forward, both entities will work jointly to pursue strategic collaborations in international business and technology cooperation.
In addition to ever-narrowing losses, NIO’s revenues for fiscal 2023 and 2024 are expected to increase by 22.9% and 51.6% year-over-year, to come in at $8.82 billion and $13.36 billion, respectively.
Guangzhou-based XPEV is involved in designing, developing, producing, and selling smart electric vehicles (Smart EVs) that are primarily targeted toward the mid-to-high-end of the passenger vehicle market. Other offerings include supercharging, maintenance, ride-hailing, and vehicle leasing services.
Over the last three years, XPEV’s revenue has grown at a 122.8% CAGR, while its total assets have grown at a 97.7% CAGR.
On August 1, XPEV announced that it had recorded deliveries of 11,008 Smart EVs in July 2023, which indicates a sequential increase of 28% and marks its sixth consecutive month of delivery growth.
On July 26, XPEV announced its strategic partnership with Volkswagen AG (VWAGY). The framework agreement involves strategic technical collaboration and a share purchase agreement for strategic minority investment by the latter for 4.99% of XPEG at $15 per ADS, for a total consideration of approximately $700 million.
With the collaboration, both companies seek to leverage each other’s complementary strengths and forge a long-term win-win partnership.
In addition to ever-narrowing losses, XPEV’s revenues for fiscal 2023 and 2024 are expected to increase by 15.2% and 66.4% year-over-year, to come in at $4.49 billion and $7.47 billion, respectively.
Beijing-based NIU designs, manufactures, and sells smart electric two-wheeled vehicles. The company is mainly engaged in the design, manufacture, and sales of high-performance motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, and kick-scooters.
Over the last three years, NIU’s revenue has grown at a 13.3% CAGR, while its total assets have grown at a 12.2% CAGR.
On July 4, NIU updated that in the fiscal 2023 second quarter, the company sold 211,996 units, including e-motorcycles, e-mopeds, e-bicycles, kick-scooters, and e-bikes, indicating an increase of 1.5% year-over-year. The number of units sold in China market and international markets were 178,567 and 33,429, respectively.
Consequently, NIU’s quarterly revenue increased by 0.1% year-over-year to RMB 828.8 million ($113.68 million). The company’s gross margin was 23.1%, compared to 20.3% during the previous year's quarter. As a result, its adjusted net income came in at RMB 14.4 million ($1.98 million).
Analysts expect NIU’s revenue for the fiscal year 2023 to increase by 10.2% year-over-year to $507.55 million, while its EPS is expected to increase astronomically to $0.22. Both revenue and EPS are expected to increase by 29.4% and 108.7% year-over-year to $656.55 million and $0.47, respectively.