During the third quarter of 2023, Tesla nearly lost its long-standing status as the top electric vehicle (EV) company in the world.

Tesla maintained its position as the top-selling EV brand for the quarter, with 435,059 units sold. However, due to some factory upgrades, the year-over-year sales growth rate was limited to 27%.

Meanwhile, BYD’s year-over-year sales surged by 67%, placing the company just a hair behind Tesla. The Chinese company reported 431,603 EV sales, compared to 435,059 for Tesla. BYD achieved an impressive 99.2% of Tesla’s sales (excluding commercial BEVs and plug-in hybrids).

This indicates that Tesla’s dominance in the EV market may be at risk.

2023 year-to-date sales data

BYD has also grown much more quickly than Tesla when looking at the year-to-date data. However, BYD’s total 2023 sales are unlikely to surpass Tesla’s. This is because Tesla had a much stronger start to the year.

During the first three quarters of 2023, Tesla sold 1,324,074 units, experiencing a 46% year-over-year increase. BYD came in second with 1,048,413 units, reflecting an 80% increase.

BYD’s year-to-date sales represent 79.2% of Tesla’s sales. The difference between BYD and Tesla is 275,661 units. According to InsideEVs, this gap is 16% smaller than the gap between the automakers during the equivalent period last year.


Elon Musk has made some big gambles regarding Tesla lately, and it looks like they’re not paying off.

Musk’s hopes on maintaining Tesla’s EV dominance rest on the futuristic Cybertruck. The vehicle’s first deliveries will occur on November 30.

Musk first announced the Cybertruck in 2019, and he has hyped the vehicle often. In July, he told investors that demand for the Cybertruck is “so far off the hook, you can’t even see the hook.”

However, recent Q3 data reveals that Tesla’s operating expenses rose 43% year-over-year. This spike was largely due to the Cybertruck’s high production costs. Higher operating costs reduced Tesla’s profits.

Musk worsened investor fears during the Q3 earnings call by telling investors that Tesla “dug our own grave with the Cybertruck.” He also admitted that Tesla would not be able to mass-produce the vehicle until 2025.

With the Cybertruck’s challenges and BYD’s superior sales growth rate, it looks almost certain that BYD will soon overtake Tesla to become the world’s top EV seller.

Image Source: BYD, https://shorturl.at/bEV19