The Chinese electric-vehicle maker
gave investors unexpected positive news, sending its stock higher.
Thursday morning, Li (ticker: LI) announced an “early launch” for its six-seat SUV, the Li L8. The family vehicle will be priced below 400,000 yuan, or about $57,000. The launch is just days away; Deliveries are slated to begin in early November.
“We decided to move our launch date for Li L8 forward based on overwhelming market response in anticipation of its release,” said Li President Yanan Shen in a news release.
Li stock was 6.3% higher in early trading Thursday. Futures on the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
were both hovering around break even.
Beyond the price, there aren’t a lot of details about the car. Those will come at the launch event, which will begin at 3 am Eastern time on Sept. 30. “We also aim to provide our potential users with greater clarity of our planned model roadmap to better facilitate their purchase decision making,” Shen said in the release.
Some of the lineup plans are already known. Along with the L8, Li has an L9 SUV that made its debut earlier in 2022. That model will run car buyers about $70,000. A five-seat L7 model is planned for early 2023, and the company will eventually offer a L6 five-seat model that will be priced below $43,000.
All the Li vehicles come with gasoline-powered generators that can recharge batteries while the car is driving, if needed. The vehicles are still electric, though. They can be plugged in, and the wheels are driven by electric motors drawing power from batteries, just like any other EV. The generator system is just a way to eliminate anxiety that the vehicles will run out of juice.
Through August, Li had delivered 75,396 vehicles, up about 57% compared with the same span of 2021. Most of those deliveries have been Li’s first model, the Li ONE.
Coming into Thursday trading, Li stock is down about 28% so far this year. Shares of
(XPEV), Li’s Chinese counterparts, have dropped 42% and 72% so far in 2022, respectively.
The three Chinese EV makers’ shares have struggled as tensions between the US and China have risen in recent months. The stocks have also had to deal with rising interest rates, which tend to depress valuations of expensive, high-growth stocks—such as
and Li—more than others. The combined sales of the three are forecast to rise about 68% from 2021, and none of them are consistently profitable at this point.
Write to Al Root at [email protected]