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Tesla shares dip after being overtaken by BYD as world’s largest EV maker

Elon Musk’s Tesla shares dipped as it was dethroned by the Chinese automaker BYD in electric vehicle (EV) sales in the fourth quarter of 2023.

While Tesla remains the global EV leader on an annual basis, BYD is emerging as a strong competitor in the race to become the world’s largest seller of electric vehicles.

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Beyond surpassing Tesla in all-electric sales, BYD achieved sales of over 400,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the fourth quarter, contributing to a total of more than three million passenger vehicles sold last year.

Now, “the next twelve months look like they could be challenging for the company that had been streets ahead in the EV race up until now,” said Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell.

Tesla’s shares were down by almost 1% in the US premarket, while BYD’s were up by almost 0.50% at the time of writing on Wednesday.

BYD’s achievement comes on the back of six consecutive months of setting new records in monthly sales.

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The positive results and the rise in the brand’s global market share have propelled BYD to become the world’s top seller of plug-in cars and the fifth best-selling car brand globally.

The Shenzhen-based automaker operates in 59 countries, including major markets such as China, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Korea.

However, it does not currently sell in the US due to the high import tariffs.

Furthermore, in September 2023, the European Commission initiated a probe to consider the imposition of punitive tariffs with the aim of safeguarding European Union producers from the influx of inexpensive Chinese EV imports. 

“While price is something that is being probed by EU regulators and could create a bit of a speed bump down the road, momentum is currently on BYD’s side. Though Tesla managed to hang onto the EV crown in 2023, it’s coming under increasing pressure from legacy carmakers and Chinese models alike,” Hewson added.

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