BYD, China’s largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, reported a significant decline in sales for the first quarter of 2024, marking a 43% decrease compared to the fourth quarter of 2023, Reuters reported.

This downturn in sales has led BYD to relinquish the title of the world’s biggest EV seller to Tesla, a position it had claimed last year.

In a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, BYD disclosed that it sold 300,114 EVs in the first quarter of the year. This figure represents a notable drop from the record quarterly high of 526,409 units sold in the previous three-month period when BYD surpassed Tesla. Despite this decline, BYD’s first-quarter sales still showed a 13.4% increase from the same period last year.

The quarterly decline for BYD means that Tesla has reclaimed the sales title, based on first-quarter deliveries of 386,810 vehicles. This marks a 20.2% decrease from the previous quarter and an 8.5% decline from a year ago for Tesla.

Tesla’s resurgence comes amidst softer overall demand and a slowdown in the Chinese EV market, where local competitors, led by BYD, engaged in a price war to attract buyers.

Data from the China Passenger Car Association, cited by Reuters, revealed that Tesla sold 89,064 China-made vehicles in March, showing a marginal increase of 0.2% from the previous year.

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However, Tesla’s ability to reclaim the sales crown underscores its global influence, especially as both companies anticipate a deceleration in Chinese EV sales growth this year. Additionally, it highlights that BYD’s brief dominance stemmed from its domestic price adjustments.

In total, BYD sold 626,263 units of all vehicle types in the first quarter, representing a 13.4% increase from the previous year but a significant drop of 33.7% from the record quarterly high of 944,779 in the fourth quarter. March saw BYD’s sales reach 302,459 vehicles, marking a 46% surge from the previous year and the second-highest monthly sales figure. BYD’s highest-ever monthly sales record was achieved in December, totalling 341,043 units.

March also witnessed impressive growth in sales of BYD’s purely electric models, which reached 139,902 units, a 36.3% increase year-on-year. Sales of plug-in hybrids also saw a significant rise, up 56.4% to 161,729 units.

Since February, BYD has responded to the price competition initiated by Tesla in China by reducing prices on the latest versions of its vehicle lineup by 5%-20% compared to earlier iterations.