China’s BYD set to overtake Tesla as world’s most popular EV maker

China’s BYD bills itself as the biggest car brand you’ve never heard of. It might need a different tagline soon.

The automaker is poised to surpass Tesla to become the new worldwide leader in fully electric vehicle sales. When it does — likely in the current quarter — it will be both a symbolic turning point for the EV market and further confirmation of China’s growing clout in the global automotive industry.

In a sector still dominated by more familiar names such as Toyota Motor, Volkswagen and General Motors, Chinese manufacturers including BYD and SAIC Motor are making serious inroads. After leapfrogging the United States, South Korea and Germany over the past few years, China now rivals Japan for the global lead in passenger car exports. Some 1.3 million of the 3.6 million vehicles shipped from the mainland as of October this year were electric.

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