COMPETING AT DIFFERENT PRICE RANGES

The two companies are currently competing at different price ranges. The starting price of Tesla’s cheapest model at around US$31,900 in China is more than triple the sticker price of BYD’s lowest-priced model. That is the Seagull, an all-electric hatchback starting at US$9,900, which surpassed 280,000 units in sales last year, accounting for nearly a fifth of all BYD battery EVs sold last year.

Tesla’s higher prices help it take the lead in another metric with operating margins of more than 9 per cent, compared with 5 per cent for BYD. And in 2023, Tesla made some US$82.4 billion in automotive revenues in while BYD reported US$66.5 billion.

A better takeaway from the latest sales figures is that price is becoming an increasingly important driver of growth for EV makers.

BYD deliveries reached a new record in the second quarter, shortly after it slashed prices of nearly all its models in late March. And a closer look at Tesla’s sales shows that even as the total figure fell, deliveries of its two cheapest models – the Model 3 sedan and the Model Y – were 7 per cent higher than market expectations.

Meanwhile, deliveries of its higher-priced models, the Model S, Model X and its Cybertruck, missed market expectations by nearly 30 per cent, according to Bank of America.

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