Opinion: ‘BYD is rubbing salt into Tesla’s wounds’


aria-label="BYD Dolphin road test"

Mike Rutherford thinks BYD’s superb start to 2024 is part of the reason Tesla’s market valuation has plummeted.

Motoring-related money matters have gone from mad to madder to maniacal in January: some of the numbers that follow will make your eyes water.

First, the revelation that Tesla lost $94 billion in market valuation during the first couple of weeks of the month. Or, as Bloomberg brutally but succinctly stated, the manufacturer suffers “a $94 billion reality check as electric car winter sets in.”

For this, disruptor-in-chief BYD must accept much of the blame. After a near-blanket shutdown in car industry announcements over the Christmas/New Year break, BYD worked overtime and ensured that by 2 January it was known that the Chinese firm will build its first European car plant in Hungary. A day later it confirmed that it had overtaken Tesla as the world’s No.1 electric car manufacturer. No big deal!

Then came news of its plans to effectively and cleverly bypass the growing costs and other problems in the commercial shipping industry by launching the first of seven 200m-long, dual-fuel ships, each capable of carrying 7000-plus cars. Oh, and to rub more salt into Tesla’s wounds, BYD said it’s investing a further $11 billion on smarter in-car tech. So many significant announcements from one car company in just a few days is unprecedented.

Aside from his corporate financial issues and BYD being all over him like a nasty rash, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also endured personal financial pain because “he’s seen his net worth shrink by $23 billion so far this year,” according to one respected financial institution. That’s a loss to him as an individual of over one billion per day. Yikes. How’s the poor bloke going to put food on the table?

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