Li Auto Predicts 15% Sales Rise In China, As U.S. Competitor Tesla “Runs Foul” Overseas

With Tesla falling out of favor in China, one domestic EV maker, Li Auto, is predicting a tailwind.

The Chinese Tesla rival, which produces the Li One SUV, predicts that its sales will rise at least 15% in from April to June as a result of Tesla running “foul of angry Chinese customers,” SCMP reported on Wednesday. 

The company’s Li One SUV competes with Tesla’s Model Y. It is an extended-range sport-utility vehicle (SUV) that is priced at 328,000 yuan (US$51,316), according to the report. 

Li Auto said on Wednesday that Q2 deliveries would come in between 14,500 units and 15,500 units, up from estimates of 12,579 in the first three months of the year. Li reported a 13% decline in shipment volume in Q1 from 14,464 units the year prior. Now, it believes it is poised to increase its market share due to Tesla’s ongoing rocky relationship with the CCP and Chinese regulators. 

Eric Han, a senior manager with Shanghai-based business advisory firm Suolei, commented: “Some Chinese drivers who want to own a premium smart EV are looking at the indigenous brands amid a series of news reports about Tesla’s quality and safety. NIO and Xpeng are also expected to gain a bigger market share.”

Shares of Li Auto are down 30.7% in the U.S. so far after rising more than 150% in 2020. 

Recall, about a week ago, we continued to note how Tesla had fallen out of favor in China, with some Chinese government compounds banning the vehicles. Staff at some Chinese government officers were told earlier this month not to park their Tesla cars inside of government compounds “because of security concerns over cameras installed on the vehicles.”

“At least two government agencies” in Beijing and Shanghai had been told the same.

Recall, before making somewhat of an about face on their recent attitude on Tesla (after Musk’s rebuke of bitcoin), Chinese state media had been anything but friendly to the U.S. auto manufacturer. 

We have been documenting the ongoing spat between Tesla and the Chinese Communist Party over the last month, apparently (at least publicly) catalyzed by a protestor at the Shanghai Auto Show alleging faulty breaks on Tesla vehicles. This led to intense shaming by Chinese media, who called Tesla’s handling of the situation a “blunder” and suggested it could “inflict serious damage” on Tesla with the Chinese market. 

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