BYD on cusp of taking Tesla’s global EV sales crown
Chinese automaker BYD Co is poised to surpass Tesla Inc as the new worldwide leader in fully electric vehicle (EV) sales, Bloomberg news reported on Wednesday.
According to the international news agency, the development will likely occur in the current quarter and “will be both a symbolic turning point for the EV market and further confirmation of China’s growing clout in the global automotive industry”.
Pointing out that the auto industry is still dominated by more familiar names like Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co, Bloomberg stated that Chinese manufacturers, including BYD and SAIC Motor Corp, are making serious inroads.
“After leapfrogging the US, South Korea, and Germany over the past few years, China now rivals Japan for the global lead in passenger car exports. Some 1.3 million of the 3.6 million vehicles shipped from the mainland as of October this year were electric,” the Bloomberg article stated.
“The competitive landscape of the auto industry has changed,” the article quotes Bridget McCarthy, head of China operations for Shenzhen-based hedge fund Snow Bull Capital, which has invested in both BYD and Tesla. “It’s no longer about the size and legacy of auto companies; it’s about the speed at which they can innovate and iterate. BYD began preparing long ago to be able to do this faster than anyone thought possible, and now the rest of the industry has to race to catch up.”
The Bloomberg article stated that the passing of the EV sales crown also reflects the shift in competitive dynamics between Tesla’s Elon Musk, the world’s richest executive, and BYD’s billionaire founder Wang Chuanfu.
“Whereas Musk has been warning that not enough consumers can afford his EVs with such high interest rates, Wang is firmly on the offensive. His company offers half a dozen higher-volume models that cost much less than what Tesla charges for its cheapest Model 3 sedan in China,” the Bloomberg report states.
It noted that when a Tesla owners’ club shared a clip in May of Musk snickering at BYD’s cars during a 2011 appearance on Bloomberg Television, Musk wrote back that BYD’s vehicles are “highly competitive these days”.
“The likely change in the global EV pecking order marks the realisation of a goal that Wang, 57, set back when China was just starting to foster its now world-beating electric car industry. While BYD continues to pull away from Tesla and all other auto brands at home, replicating its runaway success abroad is proving tricky,” Bloomberg reported.
“Wang has racked up the air miles in 2023, criss-crossing the globe between auto shows, new market launches and meetings with heads of states. He’s touched down in countries including Japan, Germany, Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico, and Chile – a travel schedule befitting the leader of a company that’s set up shop in some 60 countries and territories in just the last two years,” the Bloomberg report said.
Analysts, the news agency also said, expect BYD to launch its third-generation EVs next year, offering more technology such as automated-driving capabilities.