Startup Li Auto is beating Tesla China’s EV sales

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Chinese startup Li Auto sold more cars in October than Tesla’s China business did in October, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

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BEIJING – A Chinese startup Li Auto sell more cars than Tesla’s China’s industry did in October, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

The startup sold a record 40,422 cars in October, far more than Tesla did at 28,626, association data showed Thursday.

Li Auto also expected to continue delivering cars at the same level in the fourth quarter: Between 41,700 to 42,600 vehicles per month.

Unlike Tesla’s battery-only models, Li Auto vehicles – all SUVs – come with a fuel tank to charge the battery. That helps reduce user concerns about driving range.

Li Auto plans to start delivering its first battery-only model in February 2024, the MEGA multi-purpose vehicle. The company said it plans to launch three battery-only vehicles in the second half of next year.

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Li Auto cars currently sell for between 319,800 yuan ($43,910) to 459,800 yuan. The Model 3 and Model Y start at lower prices, 259,900 yuan and 263,900 yuan, respectively.

It is not clear whether Li Auto will sell more cars than Tesla in the future. In September, Tesla sold 43,507 cars and Li Auto sold 36,060, data from the China Passenger Car Association showed.

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Li Auto on Thursday reported third-quarter earnings and revenue above FactSet estimates.

Unlike many of its local peers, the company has no immediate overseas expansion plans.

The startup, however, is looking at driver assistant technology as a way to compete in China’s hot electric car market.

The company plans to more than double the size of its research and development team for autonomous driving, from about 900 people to more than 2,500 by the end of 2025, President Donghui Ma said on an earnings call Thursday. , according to a FactSet transcript.

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