Chinese Carmakers BYD, NIO Wrap Up 2021, Come After Tesla in the U.S. All Guns Blazing

Chinese carmakers BYD, NIO wrap up 2021, come after Tesla in the U.S. 7 photos
Photo: NIO
Denza XGeely Xingyue SUVTesla Q4 resultsNIO ET5NIO ET5NIO ET5
It’s that time of the year when companies count the beans and so we know Tesla sold almost one million cars in 2021. Things heat up quickly in the electric cars segment and soon Tesla will have to work harder to remain relevant on a market that will soon be flooded with Chinese cars.
Depending on what you want to see, Tesla announcing Q4 results was a great result or another disappointment. It is happening time and again, and we saw this trend in 2020 when Tesla shorts moaned about the company missing their 500,000 cars target by a measly 450 units. It’s the same in 2021, as Tesla counted 936,172 cars delivered to customers, which is almost 64,000 units short of the magical 1 million figure everyone expected.

For good or bad, the key take here is Tesla managed to deliver more than 100,000 cars per month on average in the fourth quarter, and opened the road for an even better 2022. Two new gigafactories will come online this year and, although ramping up production in Texas and Germany will take some time, we expect more than 1.5 million Tesla cars to be delivered this year to customers. Remember, Tesla’s problem is not demand, but production, and if they would be able to produce more cars they will surely find more customers.

This is all nice, but the EV highways will get a lot busier in 2022 too, as Tesla will have to face tougher competition, including in its home market. New electric models coming from GM, Ford, Toyota, and Volkswagen mean there will finally be competition in the market. On the other hand, new contenders from China will come after Tesla all guns blazing.

One of the lesser-known EV carmakers is NIO, a Chinese startup that expanded its lineup and pioneered the battery swapping trend in China. Although hailed as “the Chinese Tesla” in its home market, NIO has some rather modest production figures for now, with 10,489 cars delivered in December and a little more than 90,000 cars produced throughout 2021.

Its plans are big, nevertheless, and include establishing a foothold in the U.S. market, as well as in Europe. The company has recently posted 47 job posts on LinkedIn, all listed in the U.S.A., indicating this move is imminent. NIO makes no secret out of this, as the ET5’s launch at NIO Day was opened with the promise the Chinese startup will expand to 25 world regions by 2025. The job listings in the U.S. are interesting, as the positions suggest at least an American R&D center will be opened, if not a production facility.

NIO is a small company now, but BYD is like the GM of China and they too have plans to come to the U.S. The company sets a target to sell up to 1.2 million new energy vehicles (NEV) in China, half of them being battery-electric cars. Its November production figure of 90,000 plug-in electric cars puts it on a collision course with Tesla in the future, both in China and worldwide.

Another contender coming for Tesla is Geely, the parent company of Lynk & Co., Volvo, and Polestar. Geely might not enter the U.S. market directly, but a deal with Renault will have its cars produced in Korea. Thanks to a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea, these cars can be sold tariff-free in the U.S., so it looks like the worry-free days are over for Tesla.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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