BYD Breaks Records, Chases Tesla

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BYD, backed by Warren Buffett, sold over three million cars in 2023, surging 62% and challenging Tesla’s global dominance in electric vehicles

Elowen Everhart

Chinese automaker BYD achieved a groundbreaking milestone in 2023 by selling over three million cars, signaling a remarkable surge of 62% compared to the previous year. This surge brings BYD one step closer to surpassing Tesla as the global leader in electric vehicles (EVs). The company’s success is evident in the sale of 1.57 million battery electric vehicles (BEVs), marking a 73% increase, and 1.44 million hybrids, a 52% rise from the previous year. Tesla, on the other hand, is expected to announce its full-year sales figures shortly, with analysts anticipating the fulfillment of its 1.8 million BEV delivery target.
In the race for global BEV dominance, BYD, backed by Warren Buffett, has been steadily narrowing the gap with Tesla. Recent data suggests that in the fourth quarter of 2023, BYD may have already outpaced Elon Musk’s company, selling 526,409 BEVs. This rapid growth mirrors China’s ascendance in the EV industry, fueled by strong government support. China has achieved its 2022 goal of having 20% of new cars as new energy vehicles (NEVs), and data from the China Association of Auto Manufacturers reveals that, by November 2023, more than 30% of total car sales were NEVs.
China’s leadership in the EV sector is attributed to its market scale, supply chain dominance, and governmental backing. The government’s NEV penetration target of 50% by 2035 is anticipated to be reached by 2025 or 2026. However, the intense competition and a price war in 2023, triggered by slowing economic growth, impacted the profit margins of various car makers, including Tesla. To counter the domestic market slowdown, Chinese car manufacturers, like BYD, are expanding internationally, with BYD recently announcing plans for its first passenger car plant in Europe, located in Hungary.

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