BYD’s Top Electric Vehicle Sales Title Could be Regained by Tesla Following Q1 Decline in Sales

BYD’s Top Electric Vehicle Sales Title Could be Regained by Tesla Following Q1 Decline in Sales

BEIJING (Reuters) – BYD, China’s largest electric vehicle (EV) maker, said its sales in the first quarter of 2024 fell 43% from the fourth quarter of 2023, which could mean it regains the title from the world’s largest seller of electric vehicles to Tesla after winning that last year.

BYD sold 300,114 electric vehicles in the first quarter of this year, it said Monday evening in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, down 43% from the quarterly record of 526,409 units sold during the previous three months, where it had overtaken Tesla. . First quarter sales increased 13.4% from last year.

But the quarterly decline could mean Tesla will regain the sales title, based on forecasts for record sales of 458,500 vehicles in the quarter ended March 31, according to analysts polled by Visible Alpha. Tesla is expected to report its first quarter sales on Wednesday.

Tesla’s estimate for the first quarter is down more than 5% from the previous three months, amid weaker overall demand and a slowdown in the Chinese market where local competitors led by BYD have upped the ante in a price war for buyers.

Tesla’s recapture of the sales crown shows that its global influence will not be easily challenged, especially as both companies expect electric vehicle sales growth in China to slow this year. This also demonstrates that BYD’s short-lived dominance stems from its price cuts in the domestic market.

BYD sold 626,263 units of all vehicle types in the first quarter, up 13.4 percent from a year earlier, but down 33.7 percent from a quarterly record of 944,779 in the fourth quarter, according to the stock market file.

March sales totaled 302,459 vehicles, an increase of 46% from the previous year and the second highest monthly sales figure. BYD recorded a record monthly high of 341,043 units in December.

Sales of its purely electric models reached 139,902 in March, an increase of 36.3% year-on-year, while sales of plug-in hybrids rose 56.4% to 161,729 units.

The China Passenger Car Association is expected to release Tesla’s China delivery figures for March on Tuesday.

BYD has responded since February to the price war launched by Tesla early last year in China by reducing the prices of the latest versions of its range by 5 to 20% compared to previous iterations.

Last week, BYD set a sales target of 3.6 million units for 2024, an increase of 20% from its record sales last year, Reuters reported citing sources.

(Reporting by Qiaoyi Li and Brenda Goh; editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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