NIO Means Tesla Monopoly Ends

By Dmitriy Gurkovskiy, Chief Analyst at RoboMarkets

On Sep 12, NIO made its IPO on the NYSE, which is a very important event for all automotive investors. Founded in 2014 by William Lee, NIO is one of the first companies to compete with Tesla in the premium electric car segment. NIO is based in Shanghai, China, and it already got investment support from such renowned companies as Baidu, Lenovo, Temasek, Tencent, Sequoia, and others.

There are currently over 4,000 employees at NIO.

In June 2018, the company started selling NIO ES8; currently, 481 electric cars have been sold and 17,000 more have been pre-ordered. This is Tesla Model X’s direct competition, while its price is twice as low thanks to some good support from the Chinese government, which is interested in promoting electric cars.

NIO ES8 starts from $67,000 (basic configuration). It has two engines of 635 horsepowers and can ride 355 km before charging. A good difference from Tesla is an option to use replaceable batteries; the monthly subscription is $193, and it takes just around 3 minutes to replace a battery. Tesla planned to offer this option, too, but did not implement it.

The underwriters of NIO at NYSE were BofA Merrill Lynch, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, and UBS. The initial price per share was $6.26. During the first day, 160M of shares were sold, which allowed NIO to get around $1B and get a place in top US IPO’s rating in 2018.

During the first day, the share price increased to $7, while the next day it jumped above $13, allowing investors to make over 100% profit. This shows investors are very much interested in the company, perhaps because of the good pre-IPO promotion. Before buying NIO shares now, though, one should wait first for the volatility to calm down.

Comparing Tesla and NIO is not the best job now, as Tesla already has over 14-year experience; however, this comparison may well become valid in a year or two, when more data arrive. While NIO is just starting out, its management may make accidental mistakes.

The lockup period (the period during which investors are not allowed to sell their shares) is 180d, which may additionally support the price, while after that the Q2 results will come out. Among NIO’s advantages, one may name government support as one of the biggest. While the trade war between the US and China is here to stay, the demand is high, and company may cater to Chinese customers first. When it starts conquering the US market, though, the conflict may have already come to an end. The company also admits that the customs duties may indirectly influence the car prices.

The issues NIO might face are already known, and the most obvious one is that of meeting the demand. Over the first 6 months of 2018, NIO had a loss of $502M, while the profit earned afterwards is currently just $7M.

Another risk is in the news that Tesla has come to an agreement with Shanghai authorities to build a car factory in the city, which means high competition for NIO. Still, NIO is likely to win thanks to the price, as the parts for Tesla are produced in the US only, and they are subject to customs duties.

NIO management also announced they had had no mass electric car production experience before, and this may have negative influence on the company growth – an issue already overcome by Tesla. Finally, for ES8, there are around 1,700 used coming from 160 vendors; with so many suppliers, delays in shipments may become quite a common thing.

Many things depend on how NIO is going to rise its production volume and how true the declarations of the management are. Previously, we’ve seen how Elon Musk’s words were sometimes very different from what happened in fact.

One of the key topics here is financing, as the development will require a lot of money. Even Tesla has failed to book net profits so far, its losses and debts still growing.

NIO shares are likely to rise in the short term, as investors will be playing on the fact the company is quite promising at first sight. Other conclusions may be only made after there are at least some financial data at hand.

Technically, there are two support levels for NIO: one at $7 and another at $9.


Any predictions contained herein are based on the authors’ particular opinion. This analysis shall not be treated as trading advice. RoboForex shall not be held liable for the results of the trades arising from relying upon trading recommendations and reviews contained herein.

Having majored in both Social Psychology and Economics, I went on to continue my education in post graduate. Later I worked as a team lead of a tech and fundamental analysis lab in the Applied System Analysis Research Institute. This helped me to acquire all necessary skills and experience to become a successful trader and analyst, as well as a portfolio manager in an investment company. I'm a pro in the financial field and the author of articles for various international media. I also hold the position of Chief Analyst at RoboMarkets.