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Tesla has lost its position as the world’s most popular maker of electric vehicles to Chinese rival BYD despite quarterly sales that beat analysts’ estimates.
The US company, run by Elon Musk, delivered 484,000 cars in the fourth quarter, Tesla said on Tuesday, more than the 473,000 anticipated by analysts polled by LSEG.
BYD on Monday reported record sales of battery-only vehicles of 526,000 for the fourth quarter, helped by a strong end to the year for the Chinese electric vehicle market.
The Shenzhen-based company was founded by Wang Chuanfu, a former university professor, in the mid-1990s. After focusing on manufacturing rechargeable batteries, including for early cell phones, the company expanded into the car industry in the early 2000s.
The Chinese group’s early success prompted Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway to invest in the company in 2008. Despite relying on existing industry technology for many years, BYD is now considered a leader, with a focus on stripping out costs from the production process.
This is a developing story