What happened

Shares of Chinese electric-vehicle maker NIO (NYSE:NIO) were trading higher on Monday morning, propelled by continuing momentum from the earnings report it delivered last week, which beat Wall Street's estimates.

As of 10:30 a.m. EST, NIO's American depositary shares were up about 4.2% from Friday's closing price.

So what

There was no fresh good news about NIO Monday, but there was plenty last week. NIO reported strong third-quarter results after the U.S. markets closed on Tuesday. Its loss of $0.14 per share was narrower than Wall Street's consensus estimate, as the company's gross margin expanded to 12.9% thanks to positive trends on both its costs and the pricing of its vehicles.

Analysts at both Citi and J.P. Morgan liked what they saw, and released bullish notes following NIO's report. Citi's Jeff Chung said he thinks NIO could deliver 100,000 vehicles next year. That's plausible if demand continues to be strong. NIO executives said during last week's earnings call that the company plans to increase its production from about 5,000 vehicles per month now to 7,500 per month in January. 

A white NIO ET7 prototype, a sleek four-door electric sports sedan.

Coming from NIO next year: Two new upscale electric sedans, including the production version of the ET7 shown earlier in 2020. Image source: NIO.

NIO also revealed that it plans to introduce two new electric sedan models in 2021, filling in white space in its product portfolio in a market in which sedans are still popular.

Now what

Management's guidance for the fourth quarter was also good. CFO Steven Wei Fang said that auto investors should expect NIO to deliver between 16,500 and 17,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, generating revenue of $922 million to $948 million.

Both would be improvements from the third quarter, when the automaker generated revenue of $666.6 million on deliveries of 12,206 vehicles. While NIO's stock isn't exactly cheap isn't current levels, there's good reason to believe that the company is still in the early stages of its long-term growth story.  

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