China’s BYD has become the best-selling car brand in China, outstripping Volkswagen for the first time in the first quarter of 2023, according to Bloomberg data. In the first three months of the year, BYD sold over 440,000 vehicles in its home market, while Volkswagen sold 427,247 units, with only 6% of them being EVs. Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume acknowledged that BYD is a strong competitor, but noted that it was more important for his company to be the best international group in China.

BYD sold 1.86 million electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2022, more than Tesla’s 1.3 million units, and accounted for 40% of new-energy vehicle sales in China in Q1 2022. In the same quarter this year, the company sold around 550,000 vehicles globally and aims to sell between 3 and 3.7 million vehicles this year, with newly launched models, such as the Seagull, expected to contribute to this push. The company is focusing on Europe, Latin America, and Asian markets for overseas expansion.

BYD’s affordable hatchback, the Seagull, has already received over 10,000 orders in the first 24 hours of its pre-sale, and the company dropped the price by $730 this week to attract more buyers. BYD’s meteoric rise has been supported by Warren Buffet, and the company’s shares are up 16% in Hong Kong this year, giving it a market value of around $95 billion.