Elon Musk calls out Tesla’s biggest electric vehicle competition

Elon Musk calls out Tesla’s biggest electric vehicle competition

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

After missing production expectations, Tesla’s dominance in the EV market is facing a new challenge.

In the lead-up to its third-quarter earnings report, Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report reported production and delivery numbers last week, falling short of Wall Street expectations. The electric vehicle leader reported 435,000 deliveries, compared to Street expectations of 455,000, producing slightly more than 430,000 vehicles for the quarter.

The nearly 7% quarterly decline, Tesla said in a statement, resulted from expected factory downtime due to necessary factory upgrades; the company is still targeting a volume of 1.8 million vehicles for the year.

And as Tesla fell slightly, Chinese automaker BYD (BYDDY) surged, delivering a total of 431,603 fully-electric EVs in the third quarter, just a few thousand units away from snatching Tesla’s EV crown.

BYD, famously backed by Warren Buffett, has been amping up its overseas operations for years. The car-and-battery giant sold more than 1.85 million plug-in electric cars globally in 2022. Nearly 950,000 of these were fully electric EVs, not far behind Tesla’s 1.3 million 2022 deliveries.

A decade ago, Musk laughed out loud when asked if he views BYD as a legitimate competitor to Tesla’s operation. In the 10 years since, Musk has changed his tune from one of derision to one of respect, saying in May: “That was many years ago. Their cars are highly competitive these days.”

Though the Tesla Model Y remained the best-selling EV between January and August with 772,364 sales, the BYD Song took second place, according to a new CleanTechnica report. Five of the 10 best-selling EV models during that time period belonged to BYD.

Legacy automakers were unable to crack the top 10. And the Detroit Three — General Motors (GM) – Get Free Report, Ford (F) – Get Free Report and Stellantis (STLA) – Get Free Report — were conspicuously absent on the top 20.

“Chinese automakers are the most competitive in our experience,” Musk tweeted in response to the report.

Shares of Tesla, up more than 110% for the year, fell nearly 2% in pre-market trading.

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