BYD, which has been supported by the American investment billionaire Warren Buffett since 2008, has defeated Tesla's production for the second straight year. BYD announced that it made 3.02 new EVs in 2023. Meanwhile, Tesla recently announced that it was only able to manufacture 1.84 million new EVs.
Nevertheless, BYD's sales numbers include 1.6 million battery-only cars and 1.4 million hybrids, which means Tesla is still the leader in the manufacture of electric battery-only cars.
But in the final quarter of 2023, BYD did outsell Tesla in battery-electric cars, selling 526,000 units to Tesla's 484,000. This is the first time the Chinese manufacturer outsold Tesla in this category.
Both achievements are attributed to the fact that BYD's vehicles are sold at a much lower market price than their Tesla counterparts. BYD is also notable for its capability to produce EV batteries in-house. This is partly why Tesla also heavily relies on Chinese factories to produce its vehicles. (Related: Tesla recalls more than 2 million cars to fix a defective driving system following DEADLY CRASHES.)
"While it's the world's leading supplier of rechargeable batteries, Tesla relies on several suppliers and has flagged shortages of lithium as demand ratchets up as a supply chain obstacle in the years to come," said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at the investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown.
"BYD is already making moves to secure the precious metal by buying a stake in a Chinese lithium producer," added Streeter. "It's had its eye on purchasing mines in Africa and is scouting assets in South America, where the metal is mined."
BYD's achievement comes as more Chinese electric carmakers focus on becoming key players in the international EV market, specifically by expanding into Europe.
According to reports, BYD already sells five versions of its EVs in Europe and has plans to launch at least three more this year. BYD's cars can be purchased in one of the company's 230 retailer stores across 19 countries in the continent, including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
The company has also recently declared its plan to build a new production center in Hungary – just months after it first broke ground on its sales operations in the country in October 2023.
"While the China market is one of the pioneers entering into the era of EVs, we believe moving overseas [by building factories in the overseas market rather than just shipping vehicles manufactured in China] is the only way for China's leading carmakers to achieve success in the global market in the long run," said Joel Ying, an auto analyst for Nomura China.
"Given [BYD] already has a bus factory in Hungary, we believe the decision to build the first European Union (EU) PV [photovoltaic] factory in Hungary will help BYD to minimize the potential risks in the overseas market," continued Ying's report.
BYD similarly stated that it was considering multiple countries in the EU as candidates to build its first European factory, noting that the United Kingdom was immediately disqualified due to the perceived effects of Brexit. BYD added that production at the new passenger car facility in Hungary will be highly automated, and the company will take advantage of its expertise in integrated vertical supply chains to meet the bloc's steep environmental targets. The plan is for this new factory to be built adjacent to a battery manufacturing facility BYD will also be building in Hungary.
With its expansion into Europe, BYD hopes to annually sell 800,000 cars in Europe by 2030. During the first 10 months of 2023, Chinese carmakers exported 280,000 vehicles to the EU.
BYD's goals in the continent could be hampered, as the European Commission – the EU's main executive body – is currently conducting an anti-subsidy investigation into BYD and its importing of Chinese electric vehicles into the bloc. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted that Chinese electric vehicles were now "overflowing" worldwide markets. In the bloc, prices of BYD units were artificially being kept low thanks to national and EU subsidies.
The conclusion of the investigation could lead the EU to enforce new customs charges on the Chinese vehicles, which could then result in BYD's cars becoming more expensive and less attractive for buyers.
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Watch this video from "The JD Rucker Show" as JD Rucker discusses how BlackRock – which owns nearly two percent of BYD – is helping China own the American EV market.