Tesla, BYD Post Record Sales on Demand for Electric Vehicles

Tesla Inc. and BYD Co. set fresh sales records in the second quarter, widening their lead as the world’s top-selling clean automakers.

(Bloomberg) — Tesla Inc. and BYD Co. set fresh sales records in the second quarter, widening their lead as the world’s top-selling clean automakers.

Elon Musk-led Tesla delivered a record 466,140 cars worldwide in results posted Sunday, outpacing Wall Street estimates. BYD, China’s biggest-selling car brand, posted its best-ever quarterly sales results of 700,244 new-energy vehicles — half fully-electric sales, and the other plug-in hybrids. 

BYD’s shares jumped as high as 3.2% Monday morning in Hong Kong. Tesla battery suppliers Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. and LG Energy Solution Ltd. rose as much as 2.3% and 3.1% Monday respectively before paring gains.

Tesla’s Results

Tesla’s results demonstrated that Chief Executive Officer Musk’s vow to chase volume by cutting prices has had its intended effect. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the company to ship 448,350 cars in the quarter.

“It’s a big beat,” said Ben Kallo of Robert W. Baird in a phone interview Sunday morning. “People were still bracing for another round of price cuts, and this big delivery number makes that less of a risk.”

The deliveries are the most ever in a quarter for Austin-based Tesla, and a 83% increase from a year ago. The company also managed to trim the gap between production and deliveries — a figure closely watched by analysts — to 13,560 units in the second quarter. In the first quarter, it produced nearly 18,000 more cars than it delivered to customers. 

“Everyone was worried about inventory build, and it looks like they’ve normalized,” said Kallo. “The delta between production and deliveries is shrinking, which is what Tesla said they would do.”

Tesla, which sells its cars directly to consumers, has a lot of levers to move vehicles. Besides cutting prices across the lineup earlier this year, the company introduced perks, such as three months of free fast-charging in the US for cars delivered before June 30, to entice buyers. Analysts have predicted price cuts will continue into next year.

Read More: Tesla Closes In on Another Deliveries Record After Price Cuts

Tesla doesn’t break out its quarterly delivery numbers by individual vehicle type or region. The Models 3 and Y accounted for 96% of sales. Tesla also makes the Model S and X. 

Tesla is easily still the largest EV maker in the US, but it’s facing fresh competition around the world. It’s most recent vehicle — the Model Y — debuted in 2020. 

In China — its No. 2 market — the company has fallen well behind BYD, which has a much fresher lineup and increasingly global ambitions. Tesla announced last week that it was cutting prices of its premium car models in China by more than 4.5%, following a decision to hand out cash subsidies to some buyers of its Model 3 vehicles last month.

Read more: Watch Asia EV Stocks After Tesla Tops Estimates on Deliveries

Tesla will report second-quarter earnings on July 19.

BYD Record

A closely-watched measure of who’s leading in sales of purely electric vehicles shows Tesla extended its lead over BYD, even as the Chinese maker continues to grow globally through its affordable offerings. 

Still, Shenzhen-based BYD’s quarterly sales — extrapolated from monthly data — grew 98% from a year earlier. The surge marks a turnaround from a weak first three months of the year. Its previous best quarter was the last three months of 2022, and the company sold a record 251,685 new energy vehicles in June. 

Smaller Chinese upstart Li Auto Inc. posted a new monthly high of 32,575 deliveries, while Xpeng Inc. and Nio Inc. saw modest increases. Guangzhou Automotive Group Co.’s EV brand Aion stood out with another strong month of sales, with 45,013 deliveries.

June sales “are showing new energy vehicle demand remains pretty strong” despite China’s economic drag, said Bloomberg Intelligence autos and EV batteries analyst Joanna Chen. 

–With assistance from Charlotte Yang.

(Adds share price reaction in third paragraph)

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.