China’s BYD was written off by Elon Musk. Now it’s beating Tesla

by | Jul 28, 2022 | World

Beijing, China – The Chinese company that this month dethroned Tesla as the world’s top seller of electric cars is no household name.BYD, founded in 1995 by entrepreneur Wang Chuanfu, has little brand recognition outside China despite selling some 641,000 pure electric and hybrid vehicles in the first half of 2022 – nearly 80,000 more than its Texas-based rival.
But for Tony Fu, the owner of a BYD Tang PHEV hybrid since 2015, the Shenzhen-based company’s roaring success is no surprise.
“Its prices are much better than Tesla’s,” Fu, who lives in Shanghai, told Al Jazeera.
“And it has more models. Now domestic [Chinese] brands offer more choice – so no wonder the sales of BYD are better than Tesla’s.”
Tony Fu has driven a BYD hybrid car since 2015 [Courtesy of Tony Fu]
BYD’s spectacular rise comes despite years of naysaying about the quality and safety of China’s electric vehicles, underscored by staggeringly high recall rates across the industry that have at times exceeded 10 percent.
Among the most prominent critics was Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk.
“Have you seen their car?” Musk said in a Bloomberg interview in 2011. “I don’t think they make a good product.”
A little over a decade later, Warren Buffett-backed BYD is not only outselling Tesla, but also travelling on a more promising trajectory.
The Chinese firm reported sales growth of 315 percent in the first six months of the year, compared with 46 percent growth for the former number o …

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