Tesla rival BYD has reported a more than fivefold jump in net income for the first quarter as the Warren Buffett-backed Chinese group shook off a rabid price war and slower sales growth that hit foreign and local rivals in China.
BYD said on Thursday net income rose 411 per cent to Rmb4.1bn ($593mn) in the first three months of the year as the Shenzhen-based group expanded its dominance in plug-in hybrid and battery-powered electric vehicles in China.
The result beat market expectations and follows a blockbuster 400 per cent jump in annual net profit in 2022. The company’s strong financial performance is the latest signal that the formidable Chinese conglomerate, which has built a vertically integrated EV supply chain from mines to chips, is challenging incumbents in the global car industry.
Foreign groups boasted about 70 per cent of China’s overall car market about 10 years ago, and the country remains one of the largest markets for international carmakers. But in electric vehicles, domestic carmakers are increasingly dominant.
BYD has a nearly 40 per cent share of China’s EV market, following sales growth of about 80 per cent from the first quarter of 2022, according to data from Shanghai consultancy Automobility.
The company boasts a 17 per cent share of the EV battery market in China and 62 per cent of the market for plug-in hybrids.
Elon Musk’s Tesla ranked second with around 11 per cent of the EV market following year-on-year sales growth of 27 per cent.
VW, including its Chinese joint ventures, sits in ninth place with just 2 per cent of the EV market after suffering a 5 per cent year-on-year sales decline.
BYD’s main listing on the Shenzhen stock exchange was steady on Friday morning, down 1 per cent compared with a gain of 0.7 per cent for the country’s CSI 300 index.
Additional reporting by William Langley in Hong Kong