BYD, backed by Warren Buffet, has dethroned Tesla as the world’s top electric vehicle (EV) maker in a groundbreaking shift during the last quarter. The Chinese automaker achieved remarkable sales, delivering 526,409 all-electric cars, surpassing Tesla’s 484,507 units. Both companies exceeded their annual estimates, with BYD reaching 3 million and Tesla 1.8 million sold cars in 2023.
Record-Breaking Quarter for BYD In the record-setting fourth quarter, BYD sold 942,651 cars, with 55% being fully electric (BEV) and 45% plugin hybrids (PHEVs). Notably, BYD discontinued the production of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in April 2022. The company’s focus on EVs resulted in a 62% increase in electric vehicle sales in 2023, totaling 3,023,679 units.
Distinct Business Philosophies: BYD vs. Tesla While often compared to Tesla, BYD and Tesla differ significantly in product and business philosophy. Unlike Tesla’s online direct sales model, BYD relies on an extensive dealer network for international expansion and in its home market.
BYD’s Unique Approach and Vertical Integration BYD, originally a battery company, has a unique approach as an extremely vertically integrated company. Founder and CEO Wang Chuanfu emphasizes in-house operations, owning lithium mines, manufacturing cells and batteries, and managing car-making plants, shipping carriers, and insurance companies.
Focus on Cost Efficiency and In-House Operations Similar to Elon Musk, Wang Chuanfu is a radical cost cutter, keeping car prices low. Unlike Tesla’s high-tech interiors, BYD cars feature a more traditional setup with physical buttons, prioritizing offering a lot of car for a reasonable price.
BYD’s Strategic Moves in 2024 In 2024, BYD plans to explore new territories by launching two new EV brands – YangWang and Fang Cheng Bao. These brands adopt a direct sales model and invest in self-developed ADAS and autonomous driving systems. The company aims to continue its success with a new model offensive, introducing the Sea Lion series and luxury EVs under YangWang and Fang Cheng Bao.
Looking Ahead: BYD vs. Tesla in 2024 BYD’s upcoming Sea Lion series and Tesla’s Model Y updates set the stage for an exciting competition in the EV market. As BYD expands its reach, Tesla prepares for mass production in Giga Shanghai. The evolving dynamics, including a potential price war in China, will determine the winners in this fast-paced industry. Keep a close eye on BYD and Tesla’s strategies as they shape the future of electric vehicles.