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

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In 2022, three car manufacturers have managed to put it on the electric car sales podium. These are Tesla, BYD and Volkswagen. But be careful, because a battle is being fought on the podium, and a fourth actor is also beginning to do well.

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

If you follow the news of electric cars on Frandroid closely, 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, although the ranks were already beginning to move.

For the fourth quarter of 2022, it’s the same story: Tesla is still 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) is still third, but well behind the top two. The German group begins to be surpassed 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 following table, Tesla sold 405,000 electric cars (Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X) between October and December 2022. More than 1.3 million were sold throughout the year. units 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 greatly slowed down the pace of its Gigafactory in Shanghai. With fourth-quarter sales figures, Tesla could sell more than 1.5 million electric cars by 2023. If all Tesla factories are running at full steam, around 2 million electric cars could be sold this year. Even 2.5 million with the adjustments that Tesla wants to make in its Gigafactory in Berlin.

Sales tesla BYD Volkswagen
First quarter 2022 305 407 143 223 99 100
Second quarter 2022 254 695 180 296 118,000
Third quarter 2022 343,000 258 618 149 300
Fourth Quarter 2022 405,000 329,000 205 800
Full 2022 1 308 102 911 137 572 100

Is this enough to widen the gap 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 which we owe, specifically, 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 launched in Europe in the coming months, such as the BYD Seal and the BYD Dolphin (Atto 2).

Still, BYD is strong, very strong, in 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 for the entire year. So yes, it is much less than Tesla. But beware, two details must be taken into account.

BYD booth has Auto World 2022
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 rate increase is therefore huge, with more than doubling, in quarterly sales, in less than a year!

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

And precisely, the analysis firm global data estimates 1.6 million Tesla sales in 2023 vs. 1.58 million BYD in its recent market analysis. But beware, we imagine that the trends cabinet did not take into account Tesla’s recent price drop, which will probably change everything, flooding the market.

Volkswagen, lagging behind

In third place is the German group Volkswagen, which sells the Volkswagen brand in addition to Audi, Cupra, Porsche, Seat and Skoda. In the last quarter of 2022, 205,800 electric cars were sold. During 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 beginning of 2022 and the end of the year.

Unfortunately for Volkswagen, these efforts should not be enough by 2023. Since in fourth position we find another Chinese group: SAIC, the parent company of MG. Precise sales numbers for this group are hard to come by, but early estimates point to just under 500,000 electric cars sold over the past year. And this good figure has been possible thanks to an 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 crucial year for the Chinese?

By 2023, SAIC should be much stronger, as the group has brought plenty of electric cars to market 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 and the Buick Electra E5. This is also the case for the Rising Auto brand with the R7 SUV that “recharges” in less than 5 minutes, but also IM with the LS7 in particular.

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

Wuling Hongguang Mini EV Cabrio
Wuling Hongguang Mini EV Cabrio

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

Therefore, the year 2023 will be very interesting to follow on the side of the electric car. Will Tesla manage to maintain its leadership position, despite the increasingly strong presence of BYD? When will Volkswagen be overtaken by the SAIC group? See you next March for a first look at the sales figures for the year 2023, on the occasion of the first quarter.

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