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Volkswagen Could Sell More Electric Vehicles Than Tesla By 2024

Volkswagen ID.4 / Tesla Model 3
Photo: D.Boshouwers / Tesla
Daniel Rufiange
Through its own success, Tesla has set in motion the forces that will see it eventually surpassed

When a manufacturer dominates a given segment, rivals make it their mission to attack it head on, and sometimes those rivals are bigger and better-financed. After all, this is a market economy, and well, survival of the fittest and all that.

Especially in the automotive field.

In the EV sector, the company that has led the way and holds a massive head start is, of course, is Tesla. Like Tesla or not, you have to admit that without its contribution, other manufacturers would likely not be where they are in this field.

Tesla’s lead is starting to shorten though, in fact it has been for some time. Auto giants, Volkswagen leading the way, have the California-based EV maker in their sights. VW has been saying for years that it aims to, one day, sell more electric cars than Tesla.

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Volkswagen ID.Buzz
Volkswagen ID.Buzz
Photo: Volkswagen

It will be Tesla and VW, and then everyone else
That could happen in 2024, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence. It concludes that, over the next few years, these two automakers will duke it out for the lead in global electric vehicle sales, leaving the rest of the auto industry behind.

In this two-way battle, Volkswagen has an ace up its very big sleeve. With ten different brands under its control, from Volkswagen to Bentley, the firm can sell a wide variety of electric models around the world. These range from Audi products to Volkswagen's ID.3 and ID.4, to Porsche, for example, which already offers the Taycan and will soon launch an electric Macan.

Tesla's limited range of models makes it particularly vulnerable to Volkswagen's wide range of offerings and price points.

The analysis concludes as well that two markets, China and Europe, will be particularly important in deciding who leads. Regulations in both those markets strongly favour electric vehicles, and by 2025, EVs are expected to account for 25 percent of all vehicle sales in China and 20 percent in Europe.

Volkswagen, which is based in Germany and has many factories in Europe, is already ahead of Tesla in electric model sales on its home continent.

In China, for now, Volkswagen lags far behind Tesla. The German automaker had 3.5 percent of the market in 2021, while Tesla was at 13 percent, tied with China's BYD and behind Wuling, another local manufacturer that sells 16 percent of all electric vehicles in the country.

BEVs currently account for only 11 percent of all vehicle sales in China, but regulations place a heavy financial burden on manufacturers that don't sell electric products, while rewarding those that do, so that percentage is expected to rise quickly.

Tesla Model Y
Tesla Model Y
Photo: Tesla

However, Tesla's lineup in China consists of just two domestically produced models, the Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV, making it vulnerable to increasingly attractive products from other domestic manufacturers - as well as those marketed by Volkswagen, the analysis said. What’s more, Tesla has committed its Shanghai factory to producing for export rather than for the domestic Chinese market.

Bloomberg Intelligence previously predicted that Volkswagen would overtake Tesla in 2023 globally, but with Tesla's moves to open new factories in Texas and Germany that timeline has been pushed back.

The eventual launch of the Cybertruck could push that timeline back further (provided reservations and pre-orders convert to actual sales). Bloomberg Intelligence analysts are starting to doubt the model will have an impact, though; Tesla has pushed back the launch date of its Cybertruck several times.

It's not all bad news for Tesla, though, even if the company has Volkswagen coming up fast in its rearview mirror. Bloomberg explains that both firms will have a significant lead on the competition in 2024, no matter who actually gets their nose in front. In fact, it's Chinese firm BYD that would rank third, far behind the other two.

In the longer term, once other manufacturers are really up and running with their EV offerings, the pressure will be even greater on Tesla. Not that Elon Musk’s company should be counted out, because if it has displayed one quality above all others since its inception, it’s resilience.

Stay tuned.

From a CNN report posted on its website.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists