The spread of COVID-19 will undoubtedly slow NIO's efforts to gain solid footing.

Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer NIO has reported its 4th quarter and full-year 2019 financials with mixed results. 

While the automaker did lose $406 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, that figure was actually an improvement over its $509.5 million loss in the same period a year ago. NIO did increase deliveries by 3.1% over Q4 2018, to a total of 8,224 cars in Q4 2019, which is promising.

NIO EC6
NIO's new SUV the EC6 was on schedule to launch in early summer

NIO's Financial Highlights for the Fourth Quarter of 2019:

  • Vehicle sales were RMB2,683.9 million (US$385.5 million) in the fourth quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 54.8% from the third quarter of 2019 and a decrease of 20.6% from the same quarter of 2018.
  • Vehicle margin was negative 6.0%, compared with negative 6.8% in the third quarter of 2019 and 3.7% in the same quarter of 2018.
  • Total revenues were RMB2,848.3 million (US$409.1 million) in the fourth quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 55.1% from the third quarter of 2019 and a decrease of 17.1% from the same quarter of 2018.
  • Gross margin was negative 8.9%, compared with negative 12.1% in the third quarter of 2019 and 0.4% in the same quarter of 2018.
  • Loss from operations was RMB2,826.2 million (US$406.0 million) in the fourth quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 17.3% from the third quarter of 2019 and a decrease of 18.0% from the same quarter of 2018. Excluding share-based compensation expenses, adjusted loss from operations (non-GAAP) was RMB2,774.9 million (US$398.6 million) in the fourth quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 18.6% from the third quarter of 2019 and a decrease of 16.0% from the same quarter of 2018.
  • Net loss was RMB2,864.6 million (US$411.5 million) in the fourth quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 13.6% from the third quarter of 2019 and a decrease of 18.2% from the same quarter of 2018. Excluding share-based compensation expenses, adjusted net loss (non-GAAP) was RMB 2,813.4 million (US$404.1 million) in the fourth quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 14.8% from the third quarter of 2019 and a decrease of 16.3% from the same quarter of 2018.
  • Net loss attributable to NIO’s ordinary shareholders was RMB2,893.8 million (US$415.7 million) in the fourth quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 13.3% from the third quarter of 2019 and a decrease of 17.7% from the same quarter of 2018. Excluding share-based compensation expenses and accretion on redeemable non-controlling interests to redemption value, adjusted net loss attributable to NIO’s ordinary shareholders (non-GAAP) was RMB2,810.7 million (US$403.7 million).
  • Basic and diluted net loss per American Depositary Share (ADS) were both RMB2.81 (US$0.40) in the fourth quarter of 2019. Excluding share-based compensation expenses and accretion on redeemable non-controlling interests to redemption value, adjusted basic and diluted net loss per ADS (non-GAAP) were both RMB2.73 (US$0.39).
  • Cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investment were RMB1,056.3 million (US$151.7 million) as of December 31, 2019.

As for 2020, NIO, as well as every automaker in China, has seen a significant decline in sales due to the spread of COVID-19. In January 2020, NIO delivered 1,594 vehicles and in February, that number dwindled down to a paltry 707 units. We're pretty sure March isn't going to be any better, although China seems to have the spread of the virus under control, and life there is beginning to return to normalcy. 

“We delivered, on a combined basis, 8,224 ES8 and ES6 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2019, representing a 71.4% sequential increase from the prior quarter. Cumulative deliveries of ES8 and ES6 reached 20,565 in 2019, representing an 81.2% increase from 2018,” said William Bin Li, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of NIO. “As a leading premium smart EV brand from China, we are proudly serving over 34,218 NIO users across 296 cities in China as of the end of February 2020. Our ES6 ranked No.1 in electric SUV sales in China for the fifth consecutive month since October 2019"

2020 was supposed to be a big year for the automaker, as they are releasing two new vehicles in the first half of the year, as well as a new 100 kWh battery pack option for all of their vehicles.

The redesigned ES8 SUV is due to arrive first, followed by the all-new EC6 crossover. However, we're not sure if, or for how long, the manufacturing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak will delay the launch of those new vehicles. Regardless, NIO is definitely facing headwinds in 2020, as will many companies across the globe this year.