Tesla Inc said that it would sell its China-made Model Y car at 339,900 yuan (US$52,028), setting a price below some of its rivals for a similar vehicle to maintain a competitive edge.
The Model Y Performance car would start at 369,900 yuan, Tesla China said in a statement yesterday.
The Model Y, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk said has the potential to outsell all other vehicles it makes, is a sports utility vehicle (SUV) crossover that has a driving range of up to 594km, the company Web site said.
Tesla also launched a modified Model 3 sedan that has remained at a post-subsidy price of 249,900 yuan for the basic version.
The Model 3 qualifies for China’s national subsidy for electric vehicles, while the Model Y does not.
China is Tesla’s largest market after the US, with sales in Asia’s biggest economy topping 120,000 units last year, Chinese registration data showed.
Tesla is still ramping up production in Shanghai, prompting analysts to forecast that China is likely to account for a bigger slice of its sales and earnings.
The Model Y is expected to help the electric automaker expand its product lineup and target a bigger customer base.
Last year, Tesla regularly topped monthly premium electric vehicle sales tallies, helped by the sedans coming out from its multibillion-dollar plant that was launched with much fanfare in Shanghai the year before.
Still, last year was also marked by rivals catching up, and the competition it faces this year.
A trio of local champions NIO Inc (蔚來), Xpeng Motors (小鵬汽車) and Li Auto Inc (理想汽車) has emerged. They are enjoying backing from government entities or Internet giants, and the three start-ups are quickly winning fans, with sales of their electric SUVs, sedans and crossovers rising last year and their shares surging.
For example, Nio’s electric SUV sells for 368,000 yuan or more.
Last year, individual investors, sometimes referred to as retail investors on Wall Street, hopped onto the market rally in the US via commission-free online trading platforms such as Robinhood.com.
Along the way, they helped power shares in companies such as Tesla to new heights.
The electric automaker jumped 743.4 percent last year for the biggest gain in the S&P 500.
Additional reporting by AP
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