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Here are the 3 manufacturers that sold the most electric cars in the world in 2022


In 2022, three car manufacturers have managed to climb onto the podium in electric car sales. These are Tesla, BYD and Volkswagen. But be careful, because a battle is raging on the podium, and a fourth actor is also starting to do well.

The BYD Han and Atto 3 in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

If you diligently follow the news of electric cars on Frandroid, you must already know the three car manufacturers that are selling the most electric cars at the moment. We took stock during the third quarter of 2022 as well as during the second quarter of the same year. The classification was then identical, even if the lines were already starting to move.

For the fourth quarter of 2022, it’s the same story: Tesla remains the great leader in the electric car. But be careful, because as we will see, the Chinese giant BYD is coming at full speed and could well overtake Elon Musk’s firm in the long term. Volkswagen (the group, not just the manufacturer) remains third, but far behind the first two. The German group is beginning to be overtaken by another Chinese group: SAIC (MG). The year 2023 could be decisive.

Tesla, leader of the electric car

In detail, and as can be seen in the table below, Tesla sold 405,000 electric cars (Model 3, Model Y, Model S and Model X) between October and December 2022. Over the entire year, more than 1.3 million units were sold to brand customers. That’s a lot and it’s a record for Tesla, but also for the electric car industry.

Tesla Gigafactory Berlin
Tesla Gigafactory Berlin

We see that sales increased between the beginning of the year and the end of 2022. The second quarter was marked by COVID, which slowed down the pace of its Gigafactory in Shanghai a lot. With the fourth quarter sales figures, Tesla could sell more than 1.5 million electric cars in the year 2023. If all Tesla factories are running at full speed, around 2 million electric cars can be sold. sold this year. Even 2.5 million with the adjustments that Tesla wants to make in its Gigafactory in Berlin.

SalesYou’re hereBYDvolkswagen
First quarter 2022305 407143 22399 100
Second quarter 2022254,695180 296118,000
Third quarter 2022343,000258,618149,300
Fourth quarter 2022405,000329,000205,800
Total 20221,308,102911 137572 100

Is this enough to widen the distance with BYD? Not necessarily.

BYD, the world’s number 2 electric car

If you don’t know BYD, remember this name. It is a Chinese manufacturer that has existed since 1995 to whom we owe, in particular, the 100% electric London red bus. BYD arrives in Europe, with three electric cars: the BYD Han, Tang and Atto 3. It is possible that other electric cars will be marketed in Europe in the coming months, with for example the BYD Seal and the BYD Dolphin (Atto 2).

Still, BYD is strong, very strong, on the electric car. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the Chinese manufacturer sold more than 329,000 electric cars, for a total of more than 900,000 over the whole year. So yes, it’s a lot less than Tesla. But be careful, two details must be taken into account.

BYD stand at the 2022 Paris Motor Show
BYD stand at the 2022 Paris Motor Show // Source: Marie Lizak for Frandroid

The first is that BYD sold only 143,000 electric cars in the first quarter of 2022. The increase in the rate is therefore enormous, with more than double, in quarterly sales, in less than a year!

The second detail is the fact that BYD also produces and sells… plug-in hybrid cars. And not just a little. In 2022, nearly 828,000 PHEV cars were sold by the Chinese manufacturer. If hybrids and electrics are taken into account, BYD therefore has a production capacity of nearly 1.8 million units per year. What seriously worry Tesla.

And precisely, the analysis firm GlobalData estimates 1.6 million sales for Tesla in 2023 versus 1.58 million for BYD in its recent market analysis. But beware, we imagine that the trend cabinet did not take into account the recent price drop at Tesla, which will probably change everything, flooding the market.

Volkswagen, lagging behind

In third place is the German Volkswagen group, which sells the Volkswagen brand as well as Audi, Cupra, Porsche, Seat and Skoda. In the last quarter of 2022, 205,800 electric cars were sold. Over the year, there were 572,100 units. This is almost half that of BYD, but as with the Chinese giant, the German group doubled its sales between the start of 2022 and the end of the year.

Unfortunately for Volkswagen, these efforts should not be enough for 2023. Since in fourth position, we find another Chinese group: SAIC, the parent company of MG. Precise sales figures are difficult to obtain for this group, but initial estimates point to just under 500,000 electric cars sold over the past year.

And this good figure was made possible by one electric car in particular, the famous Wuling Hong Guang MINIEV which is the best-selling electric car in China in 2022. With more than 400,000 copies sold thanks to the joint venture with General Motors (SAIC-GM-Wuling).

2023, the pivotal year for the Chinese?

For 2023, SAIC should be much stronger, since the group has marketed many electric cars in recent months. We can mention the MG4 (with a sales target of 100,000 cars in 2023), but also the Cadillac Lyriq with GM as well as the Buick Electra E5. This is also the case of the Rising Auto brand with the R7 SUV which “recharges” in less than 5 minutes, but also IM with the LS7 in particular.

Predictions for 2023 put SAIC at over a million electric cars sold, compared to just over 840,000 for the Volkswagen Group. Figures to be taken with enormous tweezers, but which nevertheless reflect a trend.

Wuling Hongguang Mini EV Convertible
Wuling Hongguang Mini EV Convertible

Chinese manufacturers have launched the invasion of Europe, while conversely, European manufacturers are struggling to sell their cars in China. So much so that some even leave the territory, like Jeep, an integral part of Stellantis.

The year 2023 will therefore be very interesting to follow on the side of the electric car. Will Tesla succeed in maintaining its leading position, despite the increasingly strong presence of BYD? When will Volkswagen be overtaken by the SAIC group? See you next March for a first glimpse of the sales figures for the year 2023, on the occasion of the first quarter.

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