It may have only been one month, not a year or even multiple years, but according to AutoNews Europe, BYD outsold Volkswagen in November of this year. That makes it the automaker with the highest sales in the entire country, (although Volkswagen did technically beat BYD if you include sales from Audi). And while that may not be the end of the world for Volkswagen or other automakers who sell their cars in China, it’s definitely a sign that the road ahead won’t be as easy as it has been in the past.
BYD reportedly increased November sales by 83 percent year over year, selling 152,863 vehicles between November 1 and November 27. For comparison, Volkswagen sold 143,602 vehicles in the same time period, with Audi adding another 36,847 to the count depending on whether or not you think those sales should be included in VW’s total.
Additionally, both Volkswagen and Toyota’s November sales were down slightly compared to last year. Neither dropped more than half a percentage point, but across the board, car sales in China were down seven percent year-over-year. Aside from BYD, one notable exception to the overall downturn was Tesla, which nearly doubled sales after lowering prices and increasing incentives.
Automakers have reportedly been anticipating slower sales in China due to the waning effectiveness of incentives and the country’s aggressive anti-COVID policies. But BYD’s sales success also shows that Chinese brands are finally at a point where they’re able to compete with and even beat legacy automakers. In China, that likely means it will continue to be difficult for established brands to increase sales.
But outside of China, it’s also yet another sign that increased competition is coming. Chinese automakers have invested heavily in electric vehicles, and it’s only a matter of time before even the U.S. starts to see Chinese EVs show up on dealer lots. How legacy brands will handle that new competition remains to be seen, but it’ll definitely be interesting to watch it all play out.