Tesla regains BEV global leader crown from BYD amid tough quarter


Tesla has officially regained the BEV global volume leader crown from BYD in the first quarter despite a tough one.

Could it point to issues in the Chinese EV market?

Tesla has always been a pure electric, battery-electric (BEV), vehicle manufacturer, while most other automakers, including BYD, have dabbled with hybrids, plug-in or others.

BYD’s own vehicle offering has changed a lot over the years and focused more on plug-in hybrids for most of its existence. However, the Chinese manufacturer invested heavily in BEVs in recent years and quickly grew volumes to impressive levels.

In Q4 2023, BYD’s BEV volumes surpassed Tesla’s for the first time despite the latter having a record quarter.

Today, Tesla released its Q1 2024 delivery and production numbers, and despite the worst results it had in years, it was still enough to beat BYD.

Not only did Tesla sell more BEVs than BYD, but it did so by a wide margin. Tesla delivered just over 386,000 BEVs in Q1, while BYD sold just over 300,000 units.

However, when you add PHEVs to BYD’s numbers, its total number balloons up to 626,263 electric vehicles.

Also, while BYD’s BEV sales are down quarter-to-quarter from the one it took Tesla’s BEV crown, they are up 13% year-over-year – unlike Tesla’s, which are down 8%.

Electrek’s Take

The performances of both Tesla and BYD are highly dependent on the Chinese auto market, but it’s also obviously more the case for BYD.

I think both performances in Q1 have been affected by the evolving Chinese EV market, including changing incentives and more competition.

While I like to see this BEV global volume crown changing hands, I would like to change hands for new record deliveries rather than major declines in deliveries.

Now, the interesting question is whether or not Tesla can keep delivering higher BEV volumes than BYD through out the rest of the year. It’s difficult to say. It will have to address this demand issue and find a way to work through its growing inventory.

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