Tesla hopes to re-ignite China sales with new pricing for locally-built Model 3s

Registrations of Tesla vehicles have declined for two consecutive months in China

Cars and a motorcycle drive past a Tesla dealership in Shanghai, China on April 6th.Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Cars and a motorcycle drive past a Tesla dealership in Shanghai, China on April 6th.Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

 

Tesla set a price for its longer-range variant of its locally-built Model 3 saloons in China just 13 per cent higher than its entry-level model, a sign that the carmaker is setting competitive prices in order to attract even more consumers in the world’s largest electric vehicle market.

The four-door vehicle sells for 366,550 yuan (€48,000) before rebates, according to Tesla’s website, and is designed to have a range of about 668 kilometres (415 miles) on one charge. That compares with about 450 kilometres for the current basic version that starts at 323,800 yuan.

After subsidies from the Chinese government and qualifying for exemption from purchase tax, the price of the upgraded Model 3 variant starts at 339,050 yuan. By comparison, the imported equivalent was priced at 439,900 yuan. The longer-range Model 3s are set to be delivered from June.

The longer-range electric model could help Tesla fend off competition from other global automakers, including Volkswagen and BMW and local rivals struggling to sell cars during the coronavirus pandemic. Registrations of Tesla vehicles have declined for two consecutive months in China, showing the US carmaker isn’t immune to the broader auto-industry slump.

Tesla also plans to start delivering another variant, a locally-built performance Model 3, in the first quarter of 2021. That will be more expensive, starting with a pre-subsidy price of 419,800 yuan. Final prices will be decided in accordance with state policy upon its official launch, and the product is awaiting state approvals.

Thanks to aid from local authorities, Tesla’s factory in China has recovered from a virus-related shutdown faster than many industry rivals. The California-based company’s shipments in China jumped last month to 10,160 units, according to the China Passenger Car Association, though it’s unclear how many of those vehicles were sold to customers as the figure broadly reflects the number of cars leaving the factory.

“With the local production of longer-range and performance versions, Tesla has completed local production of all its variants of Model 3 in China,” the company said in a statement, “Tesla is going to push deeper into the Chinese market with a greater variety of products and services.” - Bloomberg