What happened

Shares of Chinese electric-vehicle (EV) maker Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI) popped at the market open today, and are up 5% as of 9:45 a.m. EST. The gain is likely related to November Chinese EV sales news that is beginning to come out today. 

So what

Last month, Li announced that its October Li One SUV deliveries showed a "steady increase" over September, and represented more than 40% of third-quarter deliveries. Today, rivals NIO (NYSE:NIO) and XPeng (NYSE:XPEV) announced strong November sales data, and investors are thinking Li will do the same.

 

Li Auto One New Energy SUV driving on road

Li Auto One New Energy SUV. Image source: Li Auto.

NIO reported today that its November auto deliveries more than doubled over the year-ago period. Competitor XPeng said it delivered 4,224 EVs in November -- a 342% year-over-year increase.

Now what

Li Auto delivered 3,692 of its Li One SUVs in October, and based on the announcements from its competition, it seems Li's soon-to-be-reported November deliveries will impress investors, too. 

Li is attempting to claim a unique niche for its product. It markets its vehicle as an "extended-range" EV, as it has the ability to recharge its batteries from a small onboard gasoline engine. This is helpful for a broad geographical region like China where charging stations can be spread far apart. 

New investors in the EV sector should be aware that the stocks have already increased sharply this year. Shares of Li Auto have more than doubled in 2020, even with a recent retrenchment. Good news from the company regarding deliveries is already priced in the stock, but today investors are moving it up anyway.