Chinese company BYD has taken a significant step towards surpassing Elon Musk’s Tesla as the world’s leading electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer. The company announced on Monday that it achieved a record-breaking sales figure of 526,000 battery-only vehicles in the final quarter of 2023, with a notable 70% increase in sales during December.
Tesla, based in the United States, is set to disclose its latest quarterly production and delivery numbers before the opening of Wall Street on Tuesday. For the entire year, BYD, headquartered in Shenzhen, reported selling over 3 million “new energy vehicles” (NEVs), encompassing both battery-only vehicles and hybrids. Of this total, nearly 1.6 million were battery-only vehicles.
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Industry analysts had predicted Tesla’s sales at approximately 483,000 electric vehicles in the last quarter of 2023 and 1.82 million for the entire year. In January of the same year, Elon Musk had expressed confidence in achieving 2 million deliveries in 2023. However, he later cautioned that increased borrowing costs were affecting demand for Tesla’s cars.
BYD’s CEO, Wang Chuanfu, co-founded the company in Shenzhen in 1995. Originally recognized for manufacturing rechargeable batteries, BYD entered the stock market in 2002 and expanded its portfolio by acquiring the struggling state-owned car manufacturer, Qinchuan Automobile Company. Since 2008, BYD has had Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as a shareholder.
Analysts attribute BYD’s growth to its core business – batteries. Manufacturing batteries in-house, especially one of the costliest components in an EV, has allowed BYD to save substantial costs compared to competitors relying on third-party battery manufacturers.