NIO's gross margin rises in Q1, warns of chip shortage effect on deliveries
NIO's cars are shown in 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, Shanghai, China, April 27, 2021. /CFP

NIO's cars are shown in 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, Shanghai, China, April 27, 2021. /CFP

Tesla's Chinese rival NIO saw its gross margin rise in the first quarter of 2021 but warns of delivery constraints in the near future due to global chip shortage.

On Friday, the EV maker reported a 19.5-percent gross margin in the first three months of the year, a positive result compared to minus 12.2 percent registered in the same period of 2020.

In the first quarter, NIO's revenue jumped 481.8 percent year on year to 7.98 billion yuan ($1.23 billion), driven by strong deliveries.

The Shanghai-based company has seen its vehicle deliveries improve since the second quarter last year after China went through the outbreak of the coronavirus. It delivered 20,060 vehicles in the first quarter of this year, a 423-percent year-on-year increase.

Still, the start-up didn't break even yet, with net loss narrowing from 1.39 billion yuan in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 451 million yuan.

"NIO is only six years old after all, and it's less than three years since we started delivering our products," said the company's founder and CEO William Li in an earlier interview with CGTN. "We're still in the investment phase, which includes our infrastructure such as charging stations."

For the second quarter, Li has adopted a cautious stance, alerting in the earnings press conference to possible delivery constraints due to chip shortage, since the supply chain is facing "significant challenges."

Li is expecting car deliveries to range between 21,000 to 22,000 vehicles in the second quarter, a 5 to 10 percent increase from the first quarter.

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