BYD May Yield Top EV Seller Title To Tesla After Q1 Sales Drop

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According to a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Monday evening, BYD sold 300,114 electric vehicles (EVs) in the first quarter of this year. This represents a 43% decrease from the record quarterly high of 526,409 units sold in the preceding three-month period, when it exceeded Tesla’s sales. However, compared to the same period last year, first-quarter sales increased by 13.4%.

BYD, China’s largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, experienced a 43% decline in sales in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the final quarter of 2023, potentially signalling a shift in the title of the world’s top EV seller back to Tesla, which BYD had surpassed last year.

In a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, BYD reported selling 300,114 EVs in the first quarter of this year, a significant drop from the record quarterly high of 526,409 units sold in the preceding three-month period. However, first-quarter sales still marked a 13.4% increase from the same period a year ago. This decrease in sales might allow Tesla to reclaim the top sales position, as analysts surveyed by Visible Alpha anticipate Tesla’s record sales of 458,500 vehicles for the quarter ending March 31. Tesla is expected to announce its first-quarter sales on Wednesday.

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Tesla’s estimated sales for the first quarter are down more than 5% from the previous quarter amidst softer overall demand and a slowdown in the Chinese market, where local competitors, led by BYD, intensified a price war for buyers. The potential for Tesla to regain the sales crown underscores its enduring global influence, particularly as both companies anticipate a slowdown in the growth of Chinese EV sales this year. It also highlights that BYD’s brief period of dominance was a result of its domestic price reductions.

BYD’s total vehicle sales for the first quarter reached 626,263 units, a 13.4% increase from the same period last year but a 33.7% decrease from the record quarterly high of 944,779 units in the fourth quarter, as per the stock exchange filing. In March, BYD reported vehicle sales of 302,459 units, a 46% increase from the previous year and its second-highest monthly sales figure. The company achieved an all-time monthly high of 341,043 units in December.

Sales of purely electric models reached 139,902 units in March, marking a 36.3% year-on-year increase, while sales of plug-in hybrids surged by 56.4% to 161,729 units. The China Passenger Car Association is anticipated to release Tesla’s March delivery figures in China later on Tuesday. In response to the price war initiated by Tesla early last year, BYD has reduced prices on the latest versions of its lineup by 5%-20% from earlier models since February.

Last week, BYD set a sales target of 3.6 million units for 2024, aiming for a 20% increase from its record-breaking sales in the previous year.

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