In a surprising turn of events, Chinese company BYD has outpaced Elon Musk’s Tesla in the electric vehicle (EV) market for the last quarter of 2023.
BYD announced on Monday that it achieved a milestone by selling a record-breaking 526,000 battery-only vehicles during this period, marking the first time it has surpassed Tesla’s quarterly sales.
This development comes as Tesla faces a slowdown in demand, attributed to increasing borrowing costs.
Despite BYD’s victory in the final quarter, Tesla still retained its lead for the entire year of 2023. Tesla reported delivering a remarkable 484,500 electric vehicles in the last quarter and a staggering 1.8 million for the entire year.
Although these figures exceeded analyst expectations and showcased a 20% sales increase compared to the same period in 2022, they fell short of Elon Musk’s ambitious goal of achieving two million deliveries in 2023.
In attempts to stimulate demand, Tesla resorted to multiple price cuts throughout the year. The competition between BYD and Tesla highlights the intense rivalry in the EV market. BYD’s accomplishment signals a shift in the dynamics of the industry, emphasizing the challenges that even giants like Tesla face.
Susannah Streeter, Head of Money and Markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, noted that BYD’s acceleration underscores the competitiveness of the EV market and the difficulty Tesla might encounter in reclaiming the top spot.
For the entire year, BYD reported selling over 3 million new energy vehicles (NEVs), encompassing both battery-only vehicles and hybrids.
Of this total, nearly 1.6 million were battery-only vehicles, showcasing BYD’s strong foothold in the market. BYD’s CEO, Wang Chuanfu, co-founded the company in 1995, initially gaining recognition as a manufacturer of rechargeable batteries.
Since then, BYD has expanded its portfolio, even purchasing a struggling state-owned car manufacturer, Qinchuan Automobile Company, in 2002.
One key factor contributing to BYD’s success is its in-house battery production, a strategy that sets it apart from competitors relying on third-party manufacturers.
The company’s proficiency in battery technology allows for flexibility in pricing, evident in the sharp price cuts that fueled a 70% increase in sales in December 2023 alone.