Chinese automaker BYD goes after Tesla’s throne with more than 300,000 electric cars sold in a month

The manufacturer has posted six months of new sales records and is becoming a serious competitor for Elon Musk’s company

A BYD Seagull at the Auto Shanghai show.ALY SONG (REUTERS)
Manu Granda

Last October, the Chinese automaker BYD achieved an unprecedented feat: for the first time it managed to sell more than 300,000 plug-in vehicles in one month worldwide. The final figure, which includes pure EVs and plug-in hybrids, was 301,833 units, which is 38.4% more than during the same month in 2022, according to company data. In the first 10 months of the year, BYD sold 2.37 million plug-in passenger cars, which represents 41% of all the cars of this type — 5.7 million units — that it has sold throughout its history (it was founded in 1995, although it was much later that it began manufacturing electric vehicles).

This figure, the automaker noted, comes on top of six months of new records in terms of monthly sales. The good results and the increase in the brand’s global market share have been fundamental for BYD to become the world number one in sales of plug-in cars and the fifth best-selling car brand in the world, with a presence in 59 countries including China, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan and Korea, the company said in a statement in which it did not specify the proportion of electric and plug-in hybrids in its sales.

While Tesla remains the world leader in electric vehicles (its Model Y may even end 2023 as the best-selling model in Europe), BYD is emerging as a rival to be reckoned with in the race to be the world’s largest seller of electric cars. Elon Musk’s company, which has launched an aggressive price reduction to gain market share, increased its registrations by 27% in the third quarter of the year to 435,059 units. In the first three quarters of 2023, the automaker sold 1.32 million cars, surpassing the 1.31 million vehicles it marketed in all of 2022.

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