Warren Buffett-backed EV maker BYD surprises with stellar first quarter sales as Tesla continues to slide

A Chinese car manufacturer BYD is gaining momentum in the increasingly competitive global EV market, where the dominance of the former Tesla wanes.

Automaker Warren-Buffett on Monday announced a 13% year-over-year increase in “new energy” vehicles, which include electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. In total, the company sold 626,263 vehicles in the first quarter, of which about 300,114 were pure EVs.

Although the first two months of the year were down, purchases rose 46% in March, the company said.

BYD’s strong early performance contrasts with expectations for Elon Musk’s EV maker Tesla, whose stock has fallen by approx. 30% year on year.

A number of analysts have revised their expectations for first-generation vehicle deliveries (the corresponding figure for sales), after reporting a slowdown in production at Tesla’s Shanghai factory.

Wedbush Securities cut their estimate to 425,968 from an estimate of 475,000. If Wedbush’s forecast is correct, Tesla’s vehicle sales will grow less than 1% annually, but it would still be higher than BYD’s EV sales in the same period. Tesla is expected to report its first car on Tuesday.

Despite years of strong growth, Tesla has faced increasing competition from Chinese automakers, including BYD. The automaker late last year surpassed Tesla for the first time as the world’s top EV seller in a quarter.

The global EV race is heating up, especially as cheap cars from China are heading overseas, much to the chagrin White governments and car installers like Nissan and Honda and Tesla. Apart from BYD, Chinese carmakers such as Li Auto, That’s itand Xpeng reported on sales rebounds in March after a slow start to the year.

Tesla’s critics and bulls are starting to shout about the company’s performance, including Wedbush’s Dan Ives, who said in an interview with CNBC last week that the company is in “what red situation.” Ives reiterated his bullish stance on the stock with a price target of $300. The stock was trading at around $175 on Tuesday.

To boost sales, Tesla recently dropped its hat digital marketing. Musk also promised his many customers a free trial its $12,000 a year “Full Self-Driving” mode to help increase subscribers.
However, Musk has warned investors that Tesla may face a risk “very low” sales growth this year.

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