Tesla has lost its spot as the world's largest electric vehicle maker to BYD, the Chinese automaker backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.
Over the first six months of this year, Tesla sold 564,000 vehicles compared to BYD's 641,000 EVs. Tesla's fall from the top spot is tightly related to pandemic lockdowns in Shanghai, where enforcement of China's "zero COVID" policy led to the city completely shutting down for two months earlier this year. Tesla vehicle deliveries dropped 18% from the first quarter of the year because of production issues in China, marking the company's first quarterly decrease since the beginning of 2020. BYD's facilities, on the other hand, haven't been affected as badly by COVID-related lockdowns.
Tesla suggested its sales could bounce back in the latter half of 2022, although it's unclear if the EV maker could catch up with BYD. The company said June was the highest EV production month in Tesla's history.
But even though Tesla is producing more vehicles, a looming recession could hurt demand. The company has already cut 10% of its salaried workforce, and Elon Musk has said he views a recession as "inevitable." Musk also said Tesla's Berlin and Austin gigafactories are "gigantic money furnaces," and the company recently raised prices on nearly all of its models.