A senior executive at BYD Co. stoked the Chinese automaker’s rivalry with Tesla Inc., warning Elon Musk that he’ll face challenges in intelligent driving systems.
BYD is “very strong now,” Zhao Changjiang, the head of sales for the firm’s Denza joint venture with Mercedes-Benz AG, wrote on Chinese social media platform Weibo on Wednesday, saying he was responding to a comment made online earlier this month.
While he didn’t name Tesla or Musk specifically, Zhao appeared to make reference to a post made by Musk on his X platform in early January.
In his response to a discussion comparing Tesla and BYD, Musk said his company was an artificial intelligence firm, not an automaker.
Tesla is an AI/robotics company that appears to many to be a car company
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 3, 2024
Zhao also warned Tesla may lose market share.
“You’ll face serious challenges in advanced driver-assistance systemsand car models in 2024, such as Denza’s N7 changing the landscape of the auto market and triumph over the ‘Y’ model!” Zhao said, referring to Tesla’s sports utility vehicle crossover, the Model Y.
BYD’s rapid ascent has seen it threaten Tesla’s long-held title as the world’s biggest EV maker.
The Shenzhen-based company outsold Musk’s firm for the first time ever in the fourth quarter, though hasn’t yet managed to repeat the feat across a full year.
Tesla, which is due to report results after the market close on Wednesday, is facing growing pressure from stalling global demand for EVs and needing to maintain margins.
It slashed prices in China as competition in the world’s biggest auto market continues to intensify, while doubts from investors saw more than $94 billion wiped from its market valuation in just the first two weeks of this year.