BYD, a Chinese company, surpasses Tesla to claim the title of the world’s top-selling electric car manufacturer.

Tesla and BYD Break Sales Records in 2023

By Alex Misoyannis

China’s automobile giant BYD dethroned Tesla to become the number one seller of electric cars in the world in the final three months of 2023 as it continued its rapid global expansion.

Tesla maintained its lead in electric car sales throughout calendar year 2023, reporting approximately 1.81 million deliveries as compared to its target of 1.8 million. On the other hand, BYD sold 1,574,822 electric passenger vehicles.

However, in the fourth quarter of 2023, BYD held the number one position for the first time with 526,409 sales, surpassing the “more than 484,000” deliveries reported by Tesla. The victory marks the first time Tesla has lost the global electric car sales crown since it took the top spot from Nissan around 2015 or 2016.

Including sales of BYD’s plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) that can run on gasoline or electric power, the company reported 942,651 sales in the fourth quarter of 2023 or 3.01 million in total for the year.

BYD’s electric passenger vehicle sales rose 73 percent last year, or 62 percent if hybrids are included, compared to Tesla, which reported a 38 percent growth in electric car sales.

In 2018, BYD reported 97,871 electric passenger vehicle sales compared to Tesla’s 244,920 electric car sales.

The annual sales gap between the two automakers reached 615,000 vehicles in 2021 as BYD and Tesla reported 320,875 and 935,950 electric passenger vehicle deliveries, respectively.

BYD became China’s best-selling automaker last year, overtaking Volkswagen’s long-held position. BYD is also believed to have broken into the top 10 best-selling automakers globally by 2023, though many other global auto giants have yet to release their sales results.

BYD dealers in China are reported to receive up to 666 yuan ($A140) for each vehicle they deliver, even if showrooms miss their own sales targets.

The automaker introduced an updated Tesla Model 3 sedan in late 2023 in Australia, Europe, China, and other markets, but it has not yet gone on sale in North America, Tesla’s home.

In export markets, BYD reported selling 97,245 vehicles from October to December 2023, compared to just 38,732 from January to March 2023.

Drive will report on Australian data from Tesla and BYD after the auto industry’s monthly ‘VFACTS’ sales figures are released.

In the first 11 months of 2023, Tesla reported 43,924 deliveries in Australia, compared to 10,975 for BYD, which has had no more than one model in its local range as of October.

The final rankings for 2023 have yet to be established, but it appears BYD may officially become the number one selling electric vehicle manufacturer in the world. Stay tuned for more updates as sales figures are released.