During the first quarter of 2024, Tesla once again sold the highest number of all-electric cars—noticeably more than BYD, which for the very first time won this all-electric category in Q4 2024.

As with every quarter, in this post, we will look at the global sales results for battery-electric cars (EVs) by three automotive groups—Tesla, BYD, and Volkswagen Group.

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Growth was weak or absent in Q1 2024

Global electric car sales increased, but the largest players in the EV segment struggled to achieve any significant growth. Actually, Tesla and Volkswagen Group noted a year-over-year decline, while BYD's growth was relatively weak.

Last quarter, Tesla delivered 386,810 all-electric cars, 9% less than a year ago. Despite this decline, no other automotive group sold more EVs.

BYD (including subbrands) noted a slight growth of 13% year-over-year to 300,114 EVs in Q1. This resulted in a reduction in the gap to Tesla by almost half, compared to Q1 2023.

We expect further growth from BYD, while in the case of Tesla, we don't know what to expect in Q2. In effect, the two groups might be pretty close to each other.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group is also struggling with passenger all-electric car sales. Its Q1 result of 136,136 units was about 3% lower than a year ago. The volume represents just over a third of Tesla's EV sales. There is a chance that, without decent growth, the German manufacturer will be passed by SAIC and Geely-Volvo. The two Chinese groups were already ahead of Volkswagen Group after February's all-electric car registrations.

All-electric car sales in Q1'2024 (YOY change):

Tesla vs. BYD vs. Volkswagen Group BEV Car Sales - Q1 2024

For reference, in 2023, Tesla sold more than 1.80 million all-electric cars, while BYD exceeded 1.57 million. The Volkswagen Group was at about half of BYD's volume, with almost 0.77 million units sold.

All-electric car sales in Q1-Q4'2023 (YOY change):

  • Tesla: 1,808,581 (up 38%)
  • BYD: 1,574,822 (up 73%) or 87.1% of Tesla's result
    Difference to Tesla: 233,759 (down 42%)
  • Volkswagen Group: 769,029 (up 35%) or 42.5% of Tesla's result
    Difference to Tesla: 1,039,552 (up 40%)

It seems that this year will be challenging for the EV industry. The growth rate might be significantly lower than in the past and price wars affect margins. We will potentially see BYD outpacing Tesla, but nothing is certain.

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  • Tesla sales (vehicle deliveries)
  • BYD sales (including Denza) do not include commercial vehicles (trucks/buses)
  • Volkswagen Group includes Volkswagen (cars), Audi, Skoda, Porsche, Seat/Cupra and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (vans), but for the sake of comparison we excluded MAN, Scania and Navistar.
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