The pink Nezha V and black Nezha U Pro electric car models are displayed at a store in Shanghai on November 7, 2021.
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BEIJING – Another budget electric car brand is selling compact SUVs, this time in China.
Named after a cheerful Chinese mythological character, Nezha says its car shipments will more than double to more than 152,000 vehicles in 2022. Most of the supplies were for the Nezha V, a compact SUV with a post-subsidy price starting at 83,900 yuan ($12,000).
On the other hand, NioLarger SUVs – with longer ranges and many other features – start at around 400,000 yuan.
However, Nio has delivered more than 122,000 electric vehicles in 2022, a slight 34% increase from the previous year. This includes the company’s premium sedans.
Nio emphasized that it is focusing more on the niche and high-end segment, but hinted at plans to create a mass-market brand.
On an earnings call in early November, CEO William Lee said the company met with its mass-market team on that day, expecting each model in the segment to sell more than 50,000 units per month, according to a FactSet transcript.
That’s potentially 600,000 cars per year per model.
The Hongguang Mini economy electric car has become the best-selling new energy passenger car in China in the category that includes hybrids. Sales exceeded 370,000 vehicles through November, according to the China Passenger Car Association.
However, the Hongguang Mini is a small car compared to Nezhan’s SUVs and sedans.
Nezha also said that in 2022, he exported about 3500 cars. Since the end of 2021, the company has expanded to Southeast Asia, starting with a partnership in Thailand. Nezha, also known as Neta, has an English-language website that says she is looking for partners in the Philippines and Cambodia.
The company is a brand of Hozon Auto startup. In July 2022, Nezha said it had raised about 10 billion yuan for its series D, or fourth round of financing after the initial investment.
China’s EV market shakes off economic recession
The Chinese government has supported the development of the domestic electric vehicle industry. Cities have incentive policies to encourage people to switch to electric cars.
In 2022, despite the drag of Covid controls on retail sales in China, electric car sales remained a pocket of growth.
More than a quarter of passenger cars sold in 2022 by the end of November were new energy vehicles, according to the China Passenger Car Association. The association’s monthly figures are usually released in the middle of the month.
However, competition is fierce. Chinese battery and car manufacturer BYD It remained huge with more than 911,000 electric vehicle sales in 2022, nearly 180% more than a year ago.
The company offers a wide range of models. A detailed presentation of BYD’s new luxury brand Yangwang is expected on Thursday.
Electric car brand Aion, part of state-owned GAC Motor, said sales will more than double to a record 271,000 vehicles in 2022.
Huawei’s new co-developed Aito brand said cumulative deliveries by the end of the year have exceeded 75,000 vehicles since deliveries began in March 2022.
Li Auto delivers more than Nio
Nion’s growth in 2022 was also lower than that Li-Auto, another US-listed Chinese electric car company whose SUVs are in a similar price range. However, the company’s vehicles are equipped with a fuel tank to extend battery life.
Li Auto said its shipments rose 47% year-over-year to more than 133,000 vehicles.
Xpeng, also listed in the United States, reached more than 120,000 vehicles with slower growth of 23% year-over-year. The company’s newest car, the G9 SUV, marks the brand’s attempt to break out of the lower price range.
Tesla said its worldwide deliveries will increase 40% to 1.31 million vehicles in 2022. The company did not include the crisis for China, the main market for the automaker.
— CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.