finished the first half of the year with more than 130,000 units sold and does not have any ability to sell 400,000 vehicles for the full year, its CEO said.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) CEO denied that the company raised its sales target to 400,000 units this year, after the reports sparked widespread discussion.

"A media report today that our target for this year has been adjusted to 400,000 units is false and unfounded," Li Auto founder, chairman and CEO Li Xiang said on Weibo today.

Li Auto finished the first half of the year with more than 130,000 units sold and does not have any ability to make the full year sales of 400,000 units, he said.

The company's capabilities, including product, sales, capacity and organization, cannot support 400,000 units sold this year, and the gap is huge, Li said.

"The automotive industry's capability chain is built one step at a time, with no particular shortcuts," he added.

In a report yesterday, local media outlet 36kr cited sources familiar with the matter as saying that Li Auto recently raised its full-year sales target to 400,000 units from the original 300,000.

In addition to the overall sales target, Li also set targets for sales of specific models, according to the report.

Li set a goal for the Li L7 to achieve 20,000 deliveries of a single model in October, and to keep deliveries of the more expensive Li L9 and Li L8 above 10,000 units, bringing overall deliveries to 40,000 units/month, the report said.

Earlier today, Li Auto said on Weibo that it had sold 27,300 units this month as of June 25 and was on track to reach its 30,000-unit monthly sales goal.

Assuming Li Auto sells 30,000 vehicles in June, the 400,000-unit full-year sales target means it will need to sell an average of about 44,000 units per month in the second half of the year.

On June 18, Li said on Weibo that most members of Li Auto's management team thought the company should set an annual sales target of 360,000 units at the beginning of the year, but he ultimately decided to set a budget target based on annual sales of 306,000 units.

"This was partly because I didn't think we could be too optimistic about the economic environment this year, and partly because we didn't meet our budget targets for all three years from 2020-2022," he said at the time.

Li said the too-low targets he set led the company to place orders at suppliers at the beginning of the year that were clearly not keeping up with current sales, so several key components would take more than a quarter to reach the right capacity if production ramp-up began now.

Separately, Li said in another Weibo today that the Li L7 is on track to deliver more than 13,000 units this month, although it faces an onslaught of new models in June including IM Motors' LS7, 's new ES6.

Sales of the Li L8 have risen from more than 7,000 last month to more than 9,000 this month, and the Li L9 has improved from slightly more than 6,000 last month to more than 8,000, he said.

In addition to deliveries that can exceed 30,000, Li Auto has seen record order in-takes, Li said, adding that capacity has become the biggest bottleneck in deliveries, not demand.

All three of Li Auto's SUVs currently on sale are extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs), which are essentially plug-in hybrids.

In retweeting Li Auto's Weibo today about last week's sales figures, Li hinted that the company could launch sedan models next.

The focus is generally on the sedan lineup as dealers of luxury brand fuel cars struggle to meet their first-half sales targets this week, so sedan sales for t first-tier luxury brands are very solid, he said.

"So, the question is, shall we launch sedan offerings?" He asked.

China NEV insurance registrations for week ending Jun 25: Tesla 16,700, Li Auto 7,500, Nio 3,200