• BYD’s fourth-quarter sales surpass what Tesla is expected to report.
  • China’s BYD has been nipping at Elon Musk’s heels all year.
  • Tesla is losing its chokehold on the EV market as more competitors enter.

China’s BYD just set a high bar for Tesla to clear in order to defend its title as the world’s top seller of electric cars.

The Chinese automaker reported fourth-quarter EV sales of 526,409 cars. That far surpasses what Tesla is expected to deliver in Q4 — around 476,000 cars — according to a December 14 note from Deutsche Bank.

This would be the first time BYD surpassed Tesla in quarterly deliveries, after nipping at Elon Musk’s heels for the latter half of 2023.

A win for BYD would signal the next stage in the long-awaited Chinese takeover of the electric vehicle segment. Companies like BYD have made huge strides in quality and affordability that could aid them in entering the US market. Meanwhile, US-based brands are losing popularity among buyers in China.

BYD sells the vast majority of its vehicles in China.

Tesla has been losing its chokehold on the electric-vehicle market for much of the past year as more rivals enter the space and customers have more options. This has led to a series of price cuts in the US and China that cut into Tesla’s profits.

Tesla is set to report fourth-quarter deliveries on Tuesday morning. Despite a turbulent year for the electric vehicle maker, Tesla is expected to come close to Musk’s goal of 1.8 million vehicle deliveries for the year, according to Deutsche Bank.

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