What's happening

Shares of Chinese electric-vehicle maker NIO (NYSE:NIO) were up sharply on Tuesday morning, after the company announced third-quarter deliveries that had exceeded its guidance. 

As of 11:00 a.m. EDT, NIO's American depositary shares were up about 10% from Monday's closing price in trading in New York. 

So what

NIO released its third-quarter sales results before the market opened on Tuesday, and they were pretty good: NIO delivered 4,799 vehicles in the third quarter, up 35% sequentially and ahead of its own guidance for the period.

Of course, that guidance was delivered in late September, when NIO had a pretty good idea of how its quarter would end. But month by month, the trend is going in the right direction: The 2,019 vehicles that NIO delivered in September were 3.9% more than it delivered in August -- and August's deliveries had been up sharply from July's.

A red NIO ES6, a sleek electric crossover SUV.

The new ES6, an upscale five-passenger electric SUV, gave NIO's third-quarter sales a boost. Image source: NIO.

Now what

Despite the good news on sales, NIO still faces grim questions. The company burned more than half of its remaining cash in the second quarter as it expanded its retail presence and worked to get its ES6 SUV into full production. While CEO William Li is slashing costs and working to raise more capital, at least one analyst thinks that NIO could run out of cash within "weeks," even if an announced $200 million raise closes as scheduled.

For investors wondering if NIO's beaten-up shares are a bargain, I'd suggest waiting a little longer to see if Li can raise more cash -- or if the company is headed for a restructuring. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.