Li Auto posts first full-year profit

Chinese automaker still sees challenges ahead in 'fiercely competitive' NEV market

Li Auto posts first full-year profit
Li Auto is a specialist maker of EREVs

Chinese automaker Li Auto has beaten revenue and earnings expectations, recording its first full year of profit in 2023 with a bottom line of $1.66bn.

Record-high vehicle deliveries fuelled the fourth-quarter revenue to a year-on-year increase of 136.4pc, while full-year revenue surged by 173.5pc year-on-year to over $17.2bn.

The company's gross margin also reached 23.5pc in the fourth quarter with improved scale and the optimisation of production, supply and sales, according to Tie Li, CFO of Li Auto.

Compared to other Chinese firms, this level of growth puts Li Auto in a commanding position. Fellow Chinese OEM Nio recorded a year-on-year sales increase of 31pc to 160,000, while Guangzhou-based Xpeng’s growth was 17pc to slightly over 140,000.

"Undeterred by the fiercely competitive NEV market in 2023, Li Auto achieved an outstanding performance with its three Li L series models. Full-year deliveries grew by 182.2pc reaching 376,030 vehicles, making us the best-selling brand among NEVs priced above RMB300,000 (c. $42,000) in China," says Li Auto CEO Xiang Li.
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Li Auto ended 2023 by opening a number of retail stores to beef up its distribution infrastructure.

At present, the firm only produces extended range EVs (EREVs) – a type of light hybrid where an ICE can be used to replenish the battery.

Among its current strategic priorities is an emphasis on vehicle software. In December 2023 Li Auto released the OTA version 5.0 upgrade for its autonomous driving and smart space.

The company says that the software now "provides full scenario autonomous driving (Navigation on ADAS) and assisted driving (lane centering control) functions."

Looking to 2024, the company now expects to deliver between 100,000 and 103,000 vehicles, which would amount to an increase of over 90pc from the first quarter of 2023.

Total revenues to be between $4.4bn and $4.5bn, representing an increase of 66.3pc to 71.3pc from the first quarter of 2023.

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