(Bloomberg) -- March is shaping up as a strong month for China’s electric vehicle makers with several reporting double digit sales gains after a slow start to the year due to seasonal holidays.

BYD Co. saw sales jump 46% year-on-year to 301,631 passenger vehicles. Pure battery electric cars accounted for 139,902 of those, bringing BYD’s EV sales for the first quarter to 300,114.

The three US-listed Chinese automakers — Li Auto Inc., Nio Inc. and Xpeng Inc. — also reported a surge in deliveries that ranged between 14% and 39% in March.

Tesla Inc., by comparison, is estimated by analysts to deliver 449,080 vehicles in the first quarter, globally. 

While that would be down more than 7% from the company’s record showing in the fourth quarter, which tends to be the best time of year for sales, it would place Elon Musk’s carmaker ahead of BYD once again after the Chinese auto manufacturer inched in front of Tesla to become the world’s largest EV producer late last year.

While Tesla doesn’t break out its sales geographically, shipments from its factory in Shanghai, where it makes the Model 3 and Model Y, are recorded separately by China’s Passenger Car Association. 

The PCA said Tuesday that Tesla delivered an estimated 89,064 vehicles in China in March, up from 60,365 in February, which was the lowest since December 2022, and a slight increase from 88,869 in March 2023.

Tesla has also reduced production at its plant in China, people familiar with the matter said last month. Tesla earlier this week increased the price of its most popular Model Y sport utility vehicle. That saw a slew of competitors offer sweeteners such as subsidies and coupons to lure would-be car buyers in response.

The robust performance of Chinese brands came after a quiet start to 2024, a traditionally slow period due to the Lunar New Year. Customers have been lured by BYD intensifying an EV price war by discounting many of its models and the highly anticipated launch of the SU7, the first EV from smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp.

Preliminary data for March from PCA showed that shipments of EVs and plug-in hybrids to dealers in China probably rose 33% year-on-year to around 820,000 units as customers took advantage of the price cuts. That compares to new-energy vehicle wholesales of 447,000 in February.

The wider passenger car market, including gasoline vehicles, is forecast to have increased 3.7% last month versus March 2023 to 1.65 million units, PCA said earlier. 

--With assistance from Yasufumi Saito.

(Updates with latest PCA preliminary March figures from 7th paragraph.)

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