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April 27, 2023

BYD Overtakes Volkswagen As Best-Selling Car Brand In China

For the first time ever, Volkswagen has been dethroned as China’s best-selling car brand. The best-selling car brand in the biggest automotive market in the world now belongs to home-grown BYD.

Volkswagen, which was been the best-selling car brand in China since 2008, was outsold by BYD for the first three months of 2023. With the Chinese market marching towards EVs and other electrified offerings, Volkswagen moved 427,247 units with just 6 percent of them EVs. This is compared to BYD’s 552,076—a 90 percent jump from the same period in 2022.

Pure EV sales for BYD in Q1 reached 264,647 units, up 87 percent year-on-year, representing 48 percent of the total sales. Meanwhile, PHEV sales for the same period reached 283,270 units, up 90 percent compared to last year, accounting for 52 percent of the total sales.

Outside China, BYD sold almost 550,000 cars globally in January to March with 38,723 of them EVs in Q1—up 14 times year-on-year.

The trend reflects the declining influence of legacy foreign brands as Chinese EV makers muscle in with increasingly sophisticated—and affordable—models.

BYD sold 1.86 million vehicles in 2022, more than it did in the previous four years combined. And it accounted for two in every five New Energy (EVs, hybrid) car sales in China in the first quarter.

The automaker has been intensifying its push overseas, prioritizing Europe, Latin America and markets around Asia.

BYD has said it aims to sell at least 3 million vehicles this year, possibly as many as 3.7 million.

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