Tesla badge on car outside Tesla building. AP Photo:David Zalubowski, via PATesla badge on car outside Tesla building. AP Photo:David Zalubowski, via PA

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Tesla reclaims title of world’s best-selling carmaker despite heavy sales drop in Q1

  • Tesla said it delivered 386,810 cars in Q1 – a near 9% drop on Q1 2023
  • Performance was due to a number of problems and fell short of expectations
  • Despite this, Tesla reclaimed top spot in EV sales charts from BYD

Time 7:48 am, April 3, 2024

Tesla has regained its title as the world’s best-selling electric carmaker despite sales in the first quarter of 2024 falling sharply.

The American firm said on Tuesday it delivered 386,810 vehicles worldwide from January through to March – a near 9% drop on the 423,000 it sold in the same period in 2023.

Sales also fell short of analysts’ expectations – FactSet, for example, was looking for 457,000 vehicles deliveries from Tesla. That is a shortfall of more than 15%.


Shares dropped 7% with the announcement, with Tesla blaming the decline on the introduction of the updated Model 3 at its Fremont, California, factory, plant shutdowns due to shipping diversions in the Red Sea, and an arson attack that knocked out power to its German factory.

In its letter to investors in January, Tesla predicted “notably lower” sales growth this year. The letter said Tesla is between two big growth waves, one from global expansion of the Models 3 and Y, and a second coming from the Model 2, a new, smaller and less expensive vehicle with an unknown release date.

Tesla dramatically lowered US prices by up to 20,000 dollars for some models last year. In March it temporarily knocked 1,000 dollars off the Model Y, its top-selling vehicle. Those price cuts narrowed the company’s profit margins and spooked investors.


Investors have shaved about 34% off the value of the company so far this year, dumping shares after growing cautious of the tremendous growth story that Tesla has been telling.

Despite the sales slump and negative reaction from analysts and investors, Tesla’s performance in Q1 was strong enough for it to reclaim its top spot in the EV sales charts.

BYD overtook Tesla in the final quarter of 2023 and stripped the American firm of its crown for the first time in years.

However, the Chinese carmaker only delivered 300,114 electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2024 – a 43% drop on the last quarter of 2023, and down on the 386,810 vehicles Tesla delivered, pushing it into second place in the charts.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.



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