BYD may hand back top EV seller title to Tesla after sales fall

BYD may hand back top EV seller title to Tesla after Q1 sales fall

/ 03:14 PM April 02, 2024

BYD may hand back top EV seller title to Tesla after Q1 sales fall

The BYD EV cars are displayed at the 45th Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand, March 25, 2024. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa/File photo

BEIJING — BYD, China’s biggest electric vehicle (EV) maker, reported first quarter 2024 sales fell 43 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2023, which may mean it will hand back the title of world’s biggest EV seller to Tesla after winning it last year.

BYD sold 300,114 EVs in the first quarter of this year, it said in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange late on Monday, down 43 percent from a record quarterly high of 526,409 units sold in the previous three-month period, when it surpassed Tesla. First-quarter sales were up 13.4 percent from a year ago.


But, the quarterly drop may mean Tesla will take back the sales title, based on forecasts for record sales of 458,500 vehicles in the quarter to March 31, per analysts polled by Visible Alpha. Tesla is set to report first-quarter sales on Wednesday.


READ: BYD overtakes Tesla as world’s top EV maker

Tesla’s Q1 estimate is down more than 5 percent from the previous three months amid softer overall demand and a slowdown in the Chinese market where local rivals led by BYD upped the ante in a price war for buyers.

Tesla taking back the sales crown illustrates its global clout will not be easily challenged, especially as both companies expect a slowdown in Chinese EV sales growth this year. It also demonstrates that BYD’s short-lived dominance followed from its domestic price cuts.

Price war continues

BYD sold 626,263 units of all vehicle types in the first quarter, up 13.4 percent from a year earlier, but down 33.7 percent from a record quarterly high of 944,779 in the fourth quarter, the stock exchange filing showed.

READ: Tesla official talks up Southeast Asia expansion as China’s BYD pulls ahead

March sales were 302,459 vehicles, a 46-percent jump from a year earlier and its second-highest monthly sales tally. BYD reported an all-time monthly high of 341,043 units in December.


Sales of its purely electric models hit 139,902 in March, a 36.3-percent increase year-on-year, while sales of plug-in hybrids rose 56.4 percent to 161,729 units.

The China Passenger Car Association is expected to report Tesla’s March delivery figures in China later on Tuesday.

BYD has responded since February to the price war Tesla started early last year in China by cutting prices on the latest versions of its line up by 5 percent -20 percent from earlier iterations.

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Last week, BYD set a 3.6-million-unit sales target for 2024, a 20-percent  increase from its record-breaking sales last year, Reuters reported citing sources.

TAGS: China's BYD, electric vehicles, Tesla

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