Jefferies initiates coverage on NIO with Hold rating and $60 price target
Jefferies analyst Alexious Lee initiated coverage on Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker NIO (NYSE: NIO) with a Hold rating and a price target of $60, representing an upside potential of 6.6 percent from NIO’s latest closing price.
Lee called NIO "China's icon for luxury BEVs," saying investors' expectations are high given the company's new model and better introduction during NIO Day earlier this month.
Lee noted his revenue forecasts for NIO for 2021 and 2022 are 10% behind consensus.
NIO launched its first sedan, NIO ET7, with a maximum range of over 1,000 km at the NIO Day 2020 on January 9. Several banks have subsequently raised their price targets for the company.
China's top investment bank CICC says NIO's NAD (Nio Autonomous Driving) opens a new hardware race and raises its price target by 42% to $85. CICC maintains an Outperform rating on NIO.
According to CICC analysts, the launch of ET7 further expands NIO's product line and continues its strategy of positioning products at the high end.
CICC believes that NIO's leading "smart driving + smart hardware" will lead to a positive cycle of iterations and volume releases on both the hardware and software sides of the company.
Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu raised his price target on NIO from $50 to $70, saying NIO provided customers and investors alike with a bold roadmap for the next two years including an impressive high-end flagship sedan, new 150 kWh solid-state battery pack, and very ambitious vision for autonomous driving ("NAD') that will shift to a software subscription model.
Yu believes NIO is targeting the large premium sedan segment with the ET7, a market currently dominated by the German luxury OEMs (Audi, BMW, MB), which should then pave the way for a lower price + higher volume mid-size sedan at next year's NIO Day.
However, Citi analyst Jeff Chung sounds more cautious by downgrading NIO from Buy to Neutral, but the bank raised the price target by 47 percent to $68.3 from $46.4.
Chung said the ET7 is good, but not enough to make any significant changes to the challenges brought by Tesla.
He estimated that incremental sales of the ET7 will be limited to about 3,000 to 4,000 units per month, starting in the first quarter of 2022.
NIO shares went up by more than 3 percent to trade at around $58 during the pre-market trading session on Tuesday.
Jefferies also gave XPeng Motors a Hold rating and a $54.4 price target. It gave Li Auto a Buy rating and a $44.5 price target.