Tesla Surpasses BYD as World’s Best-Selling NEV Brand

For the first time since 2016, Tesla has surpassed the Chinese automaker BYD as the world’s new energy vehicle sales champion, with 367,500 vehicles sold.

The drop to second place was revealed after BYD announced Tuesday that its total vehicle sales in December reached 43,179 units, with a total of 13,099 new energy vehicles sold. In 2019, BYD’s total sales amounted to 461,400 units, a decrease of 11.39% year-on-year, of which the total sales of new energy vehicles reached 229,500 units, a decrease of 7.39% year-on-year.

Global EV Sales
Global EV Sales (Source: EV-VOLUMES)

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The Chinese new energy vehicle market has been on a downward slope since the third quarter of 2019. Mirroring the market trend, BYD’s full-year sales in 2019 were lower than expected with only 70.98% of the 2019 target met.

BYD predicted in its third quarter financial report that due to the impact of the macroeconomic situation and the sharp decline in government subsidies, automotive market demand was expected to remain weak in the fourth quarter.

Made-in-China Tesla Model 3
Made-in-China Tesla Model 3 (Source: Tesla)

CITIC Construction Investment predicts that in 2020 the annual sales of Tesla’s China-made Model 3 will likely exceed 100,000 units, while the annual global sales volume may reach between 350,000 and 400,000 units. The price for the made-in-China Model 3 has been reduced to 300,000 yuan ($43,208.99), which will put more pressure on BYD, whose main advantage is the affordability of its cars.

To fend off competition and negative market conditions, BYD has committed to expanding into the ride-hailing market, and strengthened cooperation with market leader Didi. Additionally, in November 2019, the Chinese company announced a joint venture with Toyota, to be formally established in 2020.