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  • Voltaire Staff

Chinese carmaker overtakes Tesla with most EVs sold

A little-known Chinese car company is on track to surpass Tesla Inc as the leading global player in fully electric vehicle (EV) sales.

Founded in 1995 by Wang Chuanfu, BYD, or Build Your Dreams, started as a rechargeable battery company in Shenzhen, China and gained early recognition as a supplier of lithium-ion batteries to tech giants like Motorola and Nokia in the early 2000s.

In 2003, the company expanded into the automotive sector by acquiring a struggling state-owned automaker.

BYD's foray into the electric vehicle market took a significant step with the introduction of its first plug-in hybrid, the F3DM, in 2008.

Government support for plug-in car purchases in China, coupled with BYD's unique position as a battery manufacturer, propelled the company's success.

As reported by, BYD's total sales reached 824,001 vehicles in Q3.

November saw BYD achieving record overseas sales of 30,629 vehicles, with a year-to-date total of 2,683,374 NEVs.

On the other hand, Tesla reported a decline in deliveries to 435,059 vehicles in Q3, missing consensus expectations and falling from the previous quarter's record of 466,140.

Its car production also decreased to 430,488, which the firm attributed to factory upgrades and inventory reduction efforts.

Despite the setback, Tesla anticipates a sales rebound in Q4, aiming for 1.8 million deliveries in 2023.

Meanwhile, BYD, which is emerging to be Tesla's competitor, sold 431,603 all-electric EVs in Q3, nearly matching Tesla's total.

According to a CNBC report, Tesla implemented a 6 per cent price reduction for its Model 3 and an 11 per cent cut for the Model Y compared to the previous December.

In contrast, BYD's premium electric sedan, the Han, only experienced a 5 per cent price decrease during the same period.

BYD in a yearlong sales promotion slashed its prices from 10 per cent to 17 per cent on certain mass-market models. Nio, a high-end electric car startup, also joined the price-cut trend this year.

BYD's strategy of offering more affordable EV models has contributed to its imminent leadership in global sales.

Despite its domestic success, BYD faces challenges in replicating this triumph abroad, particularly in markets like Europe and the US.

However, Warren Buffett's early investment in BYD, with Berkshire Hathaway's stake growing from $230 million to around $8 billion, proves the company's strategic positioning and financial success.

"BYD was a miracle," Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger told the podcast Acquired in an October episode.

He called Wang a genius, and an exceptional engineer, who prevented the company from going broke through relentless 70-hour work weeks.

"The guy at BYD is better at actually making things than Elon is," he claimed.

When Bloomberg News asked Wang in March whether BYD harboured ambitions to reach the scale of Toyota, which is poised to be the world's leading overall carmaker for a fourth consecutive year in 2023, he responded that the evolution of the EV industry would prompt a restructuring of the entire automotive sector.


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