China joins fast lane as BYD chases Tesla’s crown
Chinese car manufacturer BYD sold more electric vehicles than Elon Musk’s Tesla in the last three months of 2023 and is expected to challenge the US firm for top spot this year.
BYD has closed what had been a significant gap until now after it sold a record 526,000 battery-only vehicles, outpacing the market leader in the final quarter of 2023.
Tesla today said it sold 1.8 million for the year as a whole, better than analysts had expected, as sales rose 20% from the same period in 2022 and picked up pace from earlier in 2023.
But a year ago Mr Musk said Tesla had the potential to achieve two million deliveries and it resorted to cutting prices to lure buyers.
BYD’s growth is an indication of how the industry is pivoting in favour of China which is ramping up exports to the west.
For the year as a whole, Shenzen-based BYD sold more than 3 million so-called-new energy vehicles (NEVs), which includes battery-only vehicles and hybrids. Almost 1.6 million of its total sales were battery-only vehicles, said the firm whose shareholders include veteran US investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell, said that for Tesla “the next twelve months look like they could be challenging for the company that had been streets ahead in the EV race up until now.”
She added: “Whilst price is something that is being probed by EU regulators and could create a bit of a speed bump down the road, momentum is currently on BYD’s side.
“Though Tesla managed to hang onto the EV crown in 2023, it’s coming under increasing pressure from legacy carmakers and Chinese models alike.”
Ford retains top spot
Ford motor group has shrugged off the demise of the popular Fiesta model to retake the top spot in Britain’s car sales league table with its successor.
The Ford Puma, which is also 15% more expensive than its forerunner, is on course to reclaim Ford’s long-held title as the seller of Britain’s favourite car.
The Puma is on target to hit 50,000 sales for the year when final registrations up to 31 December 31 are announced at the end of this week.
It will put it well ahead of the Sunderland-built Nissan Qashqai, the bestseller in 2022, and the Vauxhall Corsa, the Fiesta’s long-time rival.