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Tesla Doubles China Sales But BYD Set to Top Retail Chart

EV and hybrid carmaker BYD, which only began making vehicles in 2003, is on target to top the monthly sales chart in China for the first time

China has slammed the EU's move to investigate subsidies given to Chinese carmakers.
High interest rates are hurting the shift to electric vehicles, carmakers such as Elon Musk are saying. File photo: Reuters.


Chinese automaker BYD tops the car sales chart in China for November so far, outperforming the likes of German global giant Volkswagen.

Tesla’s retail sales in China also nearly doubled in November from a year earlier, after the US carmaker cut prices and offered incentives on its Model 3 and Model Y, data from China Merchants Bank International (CMBI) showed.

BYD, though, was the top-selling car brand in the first four weeks of the month, with its retail sales totalling 152,863 vehicles from November 1-27, logging a nearly 83% increase in average daily sales compared to the same period a year earlier.


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BYD’s tally was higher than Volkswagen’s retail sales of 143,602, and Toyota’s 115,272, which were 0.3% and 0.5% lower, respectively, on the year.

However, the Volkswagen group still outsold BYD, when the 36,847 units sold under the Audi brand are included.

If the retail sales trend holds for the full month, it would be the first time that BYD, which only began making cars in 2003, has topped the sales charts in China, and the first time a company with a line-up of plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles (EVs) has led the charts.

Carmakers have been bracing for a wider downturn in China’s market on the view that the effect of incentives is waning, and that the country’s zero-Covid policies have kept consumers away from showrooms and weighed on sentiment as the economy slows.


Established Carmakers Losing Sales

Overall retail sales of cars produced in China fell 7% year-on-year in terms of average daily sales in the first four weeks of November, compared to the 2% decline in the first three weeks of October, the CMBI data showed.

Established global carmakers, other than Tesla, have been losing sales and market share in China to their domestic rivals, who are winning consumers over with a wider range of affordable EVs and features like in-car entertainment and autonomous drive.

Stellantis said in October that its Jeep joint venture in China would file for bankruptcy – the first joint-venture failure by a foreign brand in the EV era.

Other established brands, including Volkswagen, General Motors, Ford and Hyundai, have seen plant usage in China fall by between 30 percentage points and over 50 percentage points in the past five years.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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