There’s a newcomer on the block. Meet BYD, coming from China. Despite being relatively new in the UK market, BYD are very aggressive with their growth, with many predicting them to take over Tesla in Sales over the coming years as the leading EV provider at a global scale. Let’s examine this Chinese behemoth.

Who are BYD?

With the EV market constantly growing, and major established car manufacturers developing more and more electric vehicles, you’d be forgiven for thinking that BYD are just another name on the list; they’re far from it. BYD are looking to set themselves apart from many other EV manufacturers, with the biggest difference being the high focus on process improvement and research. BYD took a unique approach to build constantly improving manufacturing lines. In their early days, they used a reverse engineering method, where they would take apart existing cars on the market and rebuild them in an improved fashion. Not only do they copy it, but create their own manufacturing lines in order to efficiently build new cars at scale. This of course would potentially create certain legal issues in European and US markets, but it’s not something we haven’t seen Chinese automakers do before. 

What makes BYD different?

Amongst motorists, it’s fair to say that as far as EVs are concerned, Tesla are the most well known for their ventures outside of just making automobiles, and developing chargers, infrastructure and energy storage too. Whilst that isn’t the approach of BYD, they are however known for their other speedy development efforts. For example, during COVID, BYD decided not to produce masks like many other businesses did, but to actually produce the machines that manufacture the masks themselves. This approach allowed them to create a frontrunner in efficient hybrid cars, based on a leniency in China’s regulation. It’s this technological and forward-thinking approach that now allow BYD to compete with Tesla in terms of manufacturing efficiency, a feat which is impressive by itself, let alone from a relative newcomer. 

What can we expect from BYD in the future?

Like many other Chinese companies, seeing success in the domestic markets does not immediately translate to success in the European market, and other international markets. The Chinese Market is very much its own entity, which would make sense given its drastically different consumer patterns and availability, largely driven by Chinese government policy. With that being said, it’s not at all unusual to see successful Chinese companies eventually find their way overseas, often with the help of the Chinese government in order to increase overseas market shares. This is one of the reasons why Chinese brands can quite quickly become well-established once they do venture to foreign shores, and given the current success and trajectory of BYD, it’s likely the electric vehicle market will be no different. Whilst it might be some time before you’re driving past your local BYD dealership or manufacturing facility, you can expect Chinese manufacturers to slowly permeate their way into foreign markets. Given the current EV production infrastructure in China, combined with generous government subsidies and streamlined mass production capabilities of Chinese battery companies and all things EV, this is only to be expected.

What other Chinese EV brands are there, and what are their market shares?

If you haven’t already guessed by now, the top EV brand in China is BYD, with a staggering 28.5% of all EV deliveries in January 2024 coming from the automotive giant. In second place, we have Geely, who are experiencing growth under their sub-brand Galaxy. Geely account for 6.2% of all EV deliveries in China in January. In third place, hot on the heels of Geely are none other than Tesla, at 6%. Benefitting from a well-established global presence, it’s not surprising that Tesla makes an appearance in this list. However, the fact that they are delivering less than 25% of what Chinese rivals BYD are in the same period, just goes to show how strong BYD are. In fourth place come Wuling, accounting for 5.9% of deliveries. In 5th place we find Li Auto, who accounted for 4/7% of EV deliveries in January 2024.