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四年亏损50亿美元,蔚来正在为生存而战

彭博社 2019年10月10日

成本超支、销售乏力以及大规模召回,造成蔚来股价跌幅超八成。

亏损50亿美元,特斯拉大概用了15年,而有中国特斯拉之称的蔚来汽车仅用了四年。

亏损仍在继续。此前两位分析师的平均预期显示,总部设在上海的蔚来于9月下旬披露的第二季度业绩将再次出现亏损,具体数字为26亿元(3.69亿美元),日均亏损在400万美元左右。蔚来得到了科技巨头腾讯的支持。加上第二季度的亏损,李斌2014年创立蔚来至今,该公司已经累计亏损约57亿美元。

成本超支、销售乏力以及大规模召回,蔚来的市值已经从大约一年前119亿美元的历史最高点大幅下挫74%。更广泛的说,蔚来的状况急转直下说明了为什么人们担心中国制造出了即将破裂的电动汽车泡沫。

彭博新能源的一名财经分析师Siyi Mi说:“今年和明年这些电动汽车初创企业将大规模洗牌。风投资本以前追捧它们,但这种情况已经一去不复返了。”

中国电动汽车销量占全球半壁江山,今年7月,受政府补贴退坡影响,中国电动汽车销量首次下滑。8月的电动汽车交货量再次减少,这让人们担心整个中国汽车市场的最后支柱之一已经开始动摇。在过去15个月里,中国汽车市场有14个月处于下行态势。

中国从2017年开始逐步削减新能源汽车补贴,包括纯电动、燃料电池和插电式混合动力汽车,目的是帮助这个行业自立并避免泡沫。此举影响了新能源汽车行业的增长,比亚迪等中国顶尖电动汽车厂商最近也因此警告称利润将下滑。

在蔚来,继续融资的压力不断增大。该公司打算在9月底前裁员14%,将员工人数降至7500人。电池着火或冒烟等事故迫使蔚来召回了大约4800辆汽车,占其全部汽车销量的20%以上。该公司第二季度的交货量也低于第一季度。

政府决定为特斯拉提供资金支持后,蔚来放弃了在上海建厂的计划,转而将ES6和ES8的制造业务外包给了江淮汽车。

上海汽车咨询公司Automobility的创始人及首席执行官比尔·鲁索说,尽管腾讯和李斌在9月分别为蔚来融资1亿美元,但汽车行业的资本密集性意味着“这笔钱支撑不了多久”。

李斌一直在淡化蔚来的问题。他在6月的一次采访中表示蔚来股价暴跌“不是什么大事”,而且投资者需要明白造新车很烧钱。

但蔚来资金不足,目前该公司寄希望于从北京市政府支持的一家投资公司获得高达100亿元的资金。

蔚来眼前的另一个问题是特斯拉,后者计划今年年底在中国投产,从而降低特斯拉汽车在中国的售价。

上海预致汽车咨询有限公司的创始人及首席执行官张豫说:“蔚来没有把自己放在合适的位置上,我不看好它的长期前景。”

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

It took Tesla Inc. about 15 years to rack up $5 billion in losses. The company known as China’s Tesla did it in four.

The bleeding continues. Shanghai-based NIO Inc. is poised to report at late September that it lost another 2.6 billion yuan ($369 million) — around $4 million a day — during the second quarter, according to the average of two analyst estimates. That would bring accumulated losses at the company, which is backed by technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., to about $5.7 billion since William Li founded the carmaker in 2014.

Cost overruns, weak sales, and major recalls have led NIO to plunge 74% since its market value hit a record $11.9 billion about a year ago. More broadly, the company’s reversal of fortune illustrates why concerns are mounting that China created an electric-vehicle bubble that may be about to burst.

“This year and the next, there’s going to be a lot of card-shuffling for these EV startups,” said Siyi Mi, an analyst at BloombergNEF. “Before, venture capital chased after them, but it’s not the case any more.”

Total EV sales in China, where half of the world’s electric cars are sold, fell for the first time in July after the government scaled back subsidies. Deliveries dropped again in August, raising doubts that one of the final pillars of strength in China’s broader auto market, which has fallen 14 out of the past 15 months, is wavering.

China has gradually scaled back subsidies for new-energy vehicles — all-electric, fuel-celled autos and plugin hybrids — since 2017 to help the industry stand on its own two feet and avoid a bubble. That’s undermined growth, prompting the likes of top Chinese electric-carmaker BYD Co. to warn recently that earnings will wane.

At NIO, pressure is building for it to raise more funds. The carmaker is seeking to reduce its workforce by 14% to 7,500 by the end of September, according to the company. Incidents involving batteries catching fire or spewing smoke forced NIO to recall about 4,800 vehicles -- more than 20% of all the cars it’s ever sold. Second-quarter deliveries dropped from the preceding three-month period.

The company also scrapped plans for a manufacturing plant in Shanghai after the government opted to provide financial support to Tesla. Instead, NIO farms out production of its ES6 and ES8 cars to Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Co.

And even though Tencent and Li each plowed $100 million into NIO this month, the capital-intensive nature of the automobile industry means that “this much money won’t last long,” said Bill Russo, founder and CEO at Automobility Ltd., a Shanghai-based auto advisory firm.

Li has played down his company’s challenges, saying in an interview in June that NIO’s stock rout was “no big deal” and that investors needed to understand that making new cars costs money.

But money is in short supply for the carmaker, which is now counting on receiving as much as 10 billion yuan in funding from an investment firm backed by the Beijing city government.

Another looming challenge for NIO is Tesla, which plans to start production in China later this year, allowing the U.S. company to cut prices of its vehicles sold in the country.

“NIO didn’t position itself in the right place,” said Yale Zhang, founder and CEO of AutoForesight. “I’m not optimistic about its future in the long run.”

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