Chinese Company BYD Surpasses Tesla as World’s Largest Electric Car Company
Chinese company BYD has surpassed Tesla to become the world’s largest electric car company in the fourth quarter of 2023. BYD sold a record number of cars last year, including 525,409 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the final three months of 2023. Tesla delivered 484,507 cars in the same quarter, also a record.
Despite being overtaken in the fourth quarter, Tesla still outpaced BYD for the entire year, selling 1.8 million electric cars compared to BYD’s 1.57 million electric vehicles. However, the gap between Tesla and BYD narrowed significantly, from 400,000 units in 2022 to around 230,000 units in 2023.
BYD’s rapid growth is a reflection of China’s growing electric vehicle industry, supported by government incentives and subsidies. China aims to have at least 20% of annual new car sales as new energy vehicles (NEVs) by 2025, with NEVs becoming the mainstream by 2035. In the first 11 months of 2023, over 8.3 million units of new energy vehicles were sold in China, accounting for more than 30% of total car sales.
Analysts credit China’s market scale, cheap labor, and supply chain dominance for its leading role in the global electric vehicle industry. However, intensifying competition and a price war have impacted the profit margins of many carmakers in China.
To offset the slowdown in the domestic market, Chinese carmakers, including BYD, are expanding internationally, with a focus on Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. BYD plans to double the number of dealer partners in Europe in 2023 and aims for overseas sales of 250,000, up from about 56,000 in 2022. In line with this expansion, BYD recently announced plans to build an EV factory in Hungary, its first passenger car plant in Europe, in addition to its existing bus factory in the country.
BYD’s success and expansion highlight China’s growing dominance in the electric vehicle industry and its ambitions to lead the global transition to electric transportation. As market competition intensifies and profit margins narrow, Chinese carmakers are looking to tap into international markets to sustain their growth.
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