China’s BYD Sold 1.6 Million Cars Last Year, More than Tesla

Chinese company BYD has reported record-breaking sales, bringing it closer to surpassing Tesla as the world’s leading EV manufacturer. The latest quarterly report from BYD reveals that it sold a 526,000 battery-only vehicles in the last quarter of 2023, contributing to its annual sales exceeding 3 million new energy vehicles (NEVs).

BYD Sold 1.6 Million Cars Last Year, More than Tesla

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The performance in the last quarter was showed a 70% surge in sales during December. The Shenzen-based company reported overall sales of more than 3 million new energy vehicles (NEVs) in 2023, both battery-only vehicles and hybrids.

Nearly 1.6 million of these sales were attributed to battery-only vehicles. Industry analysts estimate Tesla’s sales for the last quarter of 2023 at around 483,000 electric vehicles, with an annual total of approximately 1.82 million.

While Tesla’s figures are yet to be officially released. Founded in 1995 by Wang Chuanfu, BYD initially gained recognition as a manufacturer of rechargeable batteries.

Over the years, the company diversified its portfolio by acquiring the struggling state-owned car manufacturer Qinchuan Automobile Company in 2002.

Bolstered by the backing of veteran US investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway since 2008, BYD has experienced growth.

The company’s success is attributed, in part, to its vertical integration and focus on in-house production of components, particularly batteries.

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Analysts posit that the ability to manufacture batteries internally has contributed to cost savings. BYD’s original business in batteries, widely used in smartphones and other electronics, served as a foundation for its success into the electric vehicle sector.

As the company inches closer to Tesla’s leading position, Elon Musk’s company is under pressure to maintain its crown as the top seller of purely electric vehicles.

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk had earlier expressed optimism about the company to achieve 2 million deliveries in 2023.

However, concerns over higher borrowing costs affecting demand for Tesla’s cars have been voiced by Musk.

Traditional automakers, slow to adapt to the transition to cleaner vehicles, find themselves at a disadvantage compared to innovative and nimble players like BYD and Tesla.

Consumers perceive a gap between industry leaders focusing on electric vehicles and traditional original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Volkswagen, Mercedes, or Renault.

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The Chinese government’s strong support for the EV industry, coupled with ambitious targets, has accelerated the country’s transition to electric mobility.

In 2022, China surpassed its target of having at least 20% of new cars sold annually to be new energy vehicles (NEVs), which include battery EVs, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

In the first 11 months of 2023, more than 8.3 million new energy vehicles were sold in China, constituting over 30% of total car sales.

The growth is a testament to China’s market scale, government support, and the competitive edge gained through first-mover advantages.

While the company has gained traction in its home market, the company is also making strides in international markets.

Overseas sales in 2023 exceeded 242,000 new energy passenger vehicles, signaling a success into regions beyond China.

The recent announcement of BYD’s plans to build a new production center in Hungary further underlines the company’s commitment to global expansion.

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