Plodding Chinese EV Stocks Signal Speed Bumps Ahead

Selloff reflects worries that breakneck growth could soon slow just as competition is heating up

An Xpeng vehicle on display at the 2022 Central China International Auto Show in July. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

China’s electric-vehicle market is booming. But that might not be obvious from a casual glance at how the country’s EV stocks are faring.

Sales of new-energy vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, in China more than doubled from a year earlier in the first nine months of 2022. More than one in four cars sold in the country were EVs in September. Chinese cities where there are license plate restrictions for conventional gasoline-powered vehicles have done the best. According to Morgan Stanley, new-energy vehicle penetration in such cities was 37% in the first nine months of 2022. And more than 40% of cars sold in cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen were EVs in recent months.

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