New headlights at the front and rear, higher-quality materials in the interior and the long-overdue air-conditioned seats – that’s pretty much it with the revision of the Tesla Model 3. The Model Y will soon be equipped with similar additions as the world’s most popular electric vehicle. But that is unlikely to be enough to get the main market, China, back under control. Here, the electric pioneer Tesla currently only sees the taillights of its main competitor, Build Your Dreams. Last year, BYD sold 1.86 million electrified vehicles, an increase of over 200 percent. This year things are going even better.

According to analysts at Finbold, BYD sold a total of 1,191,405 electric vehicles in the first six months of 2023, a monthly average of almost 200,000 vehicles. The direct competitor only managed 888,879 electric sales in the same period, which corresponds to a backlog of more than 302,000 vehicles. This means that between January and June 2023, Tesla sold 25 percent less per month than the electric giant from China. It should be noted, however, that Tesla only offers pure electric vehicles and BYD also has some models with plug-in drives in its range that contribute to sales.

The distance to the other places is gigantic. BMW, in third place, sold almost 221,000 electrified vehicles in the first six months of 2023. In the other places behind: GAC Aion (212,000 cars), Volkswagen (almost 210,000 vehicles), SGMQ (192,000 vehicles), Mercedes (165,000 vehicles) and Li Auto (140,000 vehicles). It is quite surprising that among the eight manufacturers with the most electric vehicles on the Chinese market there are only brands from China, Germany and the USA – Korea, France or Japan play no role and every second of the electric brands is a Chinese home player.

The analysts at Finbold expect that Build Yours Dreams will attack the American electric leader Tesla in more and more markets in the future. BYD is constantly expanding its global presence and has set its sights not least on Europe. “I want to be in the top five in Europe,” emphasizes Brian Yang, BYD’s deputy European boss, “the window to be successful is still open for two years.” BYD will bring six new electric models to Europe by the beginning of next year including the Han, a sedan in the E segment, and the crossover Brother Tang, a revised version of which was at the IAA in Munich. The electric crossover Atto 3 is intended to appeal to price-sensitive customers and then there are Seagull and Dolphin – all of which are already successful in China. It is offered in China for a price equivalent to less than 11,000 euros. “We want to be represented in every segment,” explains Brian Yang.

Last year, net profit was $2.4 billion, while $2.9 billion went to research. “In addition to very competitive products, the manufacturer BYD obviously has an efficient cost structure and strong vertical integration – i.e. its own cell production. BYD is also prepared for the coming years in Europe. The planned factory in Europe is seen as the next step in the expansion,” explains Peter Fintl, automotive expert at the management consultancy Capgemini. Germany is at the core of European planning. According to BYD, you need at least 100 dealers to be successful in Germany; Currently there are only 13. Asians are surprised at how slowly the wheels of bureaucracy grind in this country. If you renovate an existing car dealership in China, it takes three months and the sales location is ready for use. For new buildings it is six months. In Germany, renovation takes nine to twelve months and new construction takes two years, according to BYD.