BYD reaches 7mn NEV sales

3mn of these sales came in 2023 as firm accelerates expansion

BYD reaches 7mn NEV sales
BYD has started to expand into new regional markets

Chinese automaker BYD has now manufactured 7mn ‘new energy vehicles’ (NEVs). With 3mn of these made during 2023, the firm has taken less than five months to go from 6mn to 7mn.

NEV is the firm's umbrella term for all-electric BEVs and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The firm sold 1.57mn BEVs and 1.43mn PHEVs in 2023.

BYD’s reached 1mn NEV sales in May 2021 and sales have continued to increase sharply since then. It hailed 6mn of NEV sales only as recently as November. And the company became the highest seller of BEVs in the world in the fourth quarter of 2023, overtaking Elon Musk-led firm Tesla (see Fig.1).

Fig.1: BYD vs Tesla BEV sales by quarter

The growth over the last year has come as the firm has started to expand into new markets outside China. 

“BYD's new energy passenger vehicles have been introduced to 64 countries and regions globally, with strategic investments in manufacturing facilities in Thailand, Brazil, Uzbekistan, and Hungary,” BYD says. 

In the last month alone, it has celebrated its first deliveries in Hungary, while it held a launch event last week to mark its entry into the Greek market.

The firm saw overseas NEV passenger car sales of 240,000 units in 2023 — a 337pc year-on-year growth — making it by some distance the top Chinese exporter of NEVs in 2023.

Overseas NEV sales grew steadily throughout the year and reached 36,095 in December 2023, more than three times the level of 11,320 in December 2022. 

Fig.2: BYD sales dropped drastically in February

Domestic interruption

However, the firm saw BEV sales slow sharply in February this year (see Fig.2), down by 39pc on the previous month and returning to monthly sales levels not seen since 2022. BYD attributed the fall to lunar New Year holidays interrupting purchase patterns in China during the month.

Fig.3: February saw a sharp reversal in BYD's year-on-year monthly BEV sales growth trend

February represented the first year-on-year fall in BEV sales for a month since at least the start of 2021 (see Fig.3). And it meant that cumulative growth in BEV sales for 2024 fell back below 2023, in sharp contrast to preceding years of stellar annual growth (see Fig.4).

Fig.4: 2024 not yet matching the pace of annual growth seen in preceding years

The firm is continuing to bet on overseas expansion and is looking to further tailor its product range in new markets in coming years.

BYD recently announced it will invest $1.3bn in a passenger EV factory in Indonesia, which it aims to be the firm’s sixth outside China. It would follow plants due online this year in Thailand and Uzbekistan, as well as facilities planned for Hungary, Brazil and Mexico. 

The firm insists, though, it is not targeting the US market with the latter.

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BYD net profit for 2023 rose by 77pc year-on-year to RMB31.3bn ($4.4bn). Of its RM602.3bn revenues, up by 42pc year-on-year, the share derived from its automotive business increased from 76.6pc in 2022 to 80.3pc last year, while international sales made up 26.6pc of revenues compared to just 21.6pc in 2022.

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