Currently reading: Tesla reclaims EV sales crown from BYD despite huge shortfall
Tesla delivered around 63,000 fewer cars than expected last quarter, but still outpaced Chinese rival BYD

Tesla reclaimed its position as the world's best-selling electric car manufacturer last quarter, overtaking Chinese rival BYD despite its number of deliveries falling well short of expectations.

From 1 January to 31 March, the American firm said it produced around 433,000 vehicles and delivered 386,810 - down nearly 40,000 on the same period last year, and some 63,000 units short of what had been expected.

Shares plunged 7% on the announcement of the shortfall, which Tesla attributes to the introduction of the updated Model 3 at its Fremont plant in Texas, shipping diversions caused by the Red Sea conflict and a production stoppage following a power outage at its Berlin factory, which has been claimed as an act of arson by environmental activists. 

A global softening in electric car demand will also have been a factor in Tesla's downturn, despite its efforts to spark uptake by slashing its prices in various markets over the past few months.

Nonetheless, the final tally is enough for Tesla to nudge back past BYD in the global EV sales charts. 

The Chinese manufacturer overtook Tesla in the final quarter of 2023, delivering 526,409 EVs worldwide, compared with Tesla's 484,507. That stripped the Texas firm of its EV sales crown for the first time in years. 

But BYD delivered just 300,114 electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2024 - a huge 43% drop on the previous three-month period, which was by far a record for the relatively young manufacturer. 

The Model 3 and Model Y accounted for the vast majority (just under 370,000 units) of Tesla's global deliveries last quarter, with the Model S, Model X and Cybertruck making up the remaining 17,000. 

Tesla boss Elon Musk recently suggested that his company is "between two major growth waves", suggesting a dip in sales volumes and profits in 2024 as the firm ramps up to introduce its long-awaited 'Model 2' entry EV next year.

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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