BYD to lose BEV sales lead over Tesla

Jet Sanchez
  • Sign in required

    Please sign in to your account to add a vehicle to favourite

  • Share this article

BYD Song L

BYD Song L

After a challenging February, BYD, the leading Chinese manufacturer of plug-in 'new energy vehicles', has made a significant comeback, reporting its second-highest monthly sales figure. 

In March, BYD sold a total of 301,631 units, marking a sharp contrast to February's sales, which saw a 36 per cent decline to 121,748 units. 

This downturn was the first annual quarterly decrease since mid-2020, attributed largely to the timing of the Chinese New Year holiday, sparking concerns over potential waning demand for BYD's models.

March sales breakdown

BYD Song L New Zealand

March's sales composition showcased a strong performance across BYD's product lineup. 

The company sold 139,902 battery electric vehicles (BEVs), representing a 36 per cent increase, and 161,729 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), a 56 per cent rise from March 2023. 

Additionally, BYD sold 828 commercial EVs and achieved a new milestone by exporting 38,434 units in March alone.

Going up against Tesla

BYD Seal U New Zealand
BYD Seal U

In the fourth quarter of 2023, BYD momentarily eclipsed Tesla, becoming the top-selling BEV brand worldwide. 

However, this lead proved short-lived as preliminary figures for the first quarter of 2024 indicate that BYD sold 300,114 BEVs and 324,284 PHEVs, totalling 624,398 units. 

Despite this impressive performance, Tesla is anticipated to have surpassed BYD in terms of pure EV sales, with estimates suggesting around 450,000 BEVs sold in the same period.

Top-selling models

BYD Dolphin Mini New Zealand
BYD Seagull/Dolphin Mini

The firm's flagship models contributed significantly to March's sales success. The Song SUV led the way with 78,490 units sold, followed by the Qin sedan, with 40,569 units. Both models are available in China in PHEV and BEV variants.

The economical Seagull (or Dolphin Mini) also made its mark as BYD's third most popular model, with 34,830 units sold, highlighting the brand's appeal across different market segments.

Despite the temporary setback in February, BYD's robust sales in March underline the brand's resilience and growing appeal in an increasingly competitive EV market - even if it's losing its BEV sales crown to Tesla for now.

Keep up to date with DRIVEN Car Guide

Sign up for the latest news, reviews, our favourite cars and more.

By signing up for this newsletter, you agree to NZME's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.