SHANGHAI: Li Auto Inc reported better-than-expected revenue after delivering more than 105,000 electric vehicles in the third quarter, up from about 26,500 a year earlier.
Total revenue was 34.7 billion yuan (US$4.8 billion) in the three months through September, a 271% increase from a year earlier and 21% higher than the previous quarter, the Chinese automaker said in a statement Thursday.
The revenue figure topped analyst estimates of 33.7 billion yuan. The company had forecast it would deliver 100,000 to 103,000 EVs in the quarter.
Li Auto’s shares jumped 7.2% in pre-market trading in the US. They’ve risen over 140% in the past 12 months.
Net income climbed to 2.81 billion yuan, rebounding from a 1.65 billion net loss in the third quarter of 2022, when Li Auto was recovering from Covid lockdowns and had also been among the companies hardest hit by power cuts in Sichuan.
With a gross margin of 22%, Li Auto is faring better than Chinese rivals Nio Inc and Xpeng Inc, which are still struggling to make money. Nio said last week it would cut 10% of its staff positions in November.
Li Auto aims deliver even more EVs in the fourth quarter, targeting between 125,000 and 128,000, to take its annual total as high as 372,225 units. Revenue is expected to hit as much as 39.4 billion yuan, it said.
“Each of our three Li L series models recorded over 10,000 monthly deliveries for three consecutive months since August, maintaining our position as the sales champion among SUVs and NEVs priced over 300,000 yuan in China,” founder and Chairman Li Xiang said in the statement.
“As we further expand our business scale, we will continue to maintain our profitability at a healthy level, while investing in research and development to propel the long-term growth of our business,” he said.
Founded in 2015, Li Auto has focused mainly on extended-range sport utility vehicles, which carry electric motors powered by gasoline engines. That gives the company an edge over competitors when early EV adopters are still concerned about driving range.
The automaker is benefiting from an expanded lineup with the introduction of its cheaper L7 and L8 SUVs, despite a dilution in average selling prices, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Joanna Chen and Steve Man wrote in a Nov 1 note.
Li Auto plans to launch its Mega multi-purpose vehicle this quarter. The starting price may be more than 500,000 yuan, almost double Tesla Inc’s newly revamped Model Y, which starts at 263,900 yuan.
New-energy vehicle sales in China, including plug-in hybrids, rose 38% in October, data from China’s Passenger Car Association showed Wednesday. EVs accounted for almost 38% of all new car sales, the highest in 12 months.