China Tesla Buyers Protest After Sudden Price Cuts

Image credit: Tesla

Hundreds of recent Tesla buyers in China gather to protest at Tesla sites after missing out on fresh price reductions

Hundreds of angry recent Tesla buyers in China gathered at the electric carmaker’s showrooms and distribution centres over the weekend to protest abrupt price cuts that they missed out on.

The company cut its prices in the country on Friday, following an earlier round of price reductions in October.

Posts on Chinese social media showed crowds of vehicle owners at stores and distribution centres in Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenzhen and other cities.

Car owners ransacked a Tesla Experience Centre in Chengdu in the southwestern Sichuan province and posted a handwritten list of demands signed with names and fingerprints, according to videos circulating on social media.

Tesla's Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla

‘Return the money’

The requests included warranty extensions of two to four years and rebates for using the firm’s Supercharger charging stations.

In another video buyers sang the national anthem inside a Tesla store, while a video from Changsha in Hunan province showed people chanting, “Return the money, refund our cars.”

A video that appeared to be filmed in Beijing showed police arriving to disperse protesters in front of a Tesla store.

About 200 recent buyers of the Tesla Model Y and Model 3 gathered at a Tesla delivery centre in Shanghai to protest, according to a Reuters report.

The report cited a protester as saying police had facilitated a meeting between the car owners and  Tesla staff at which the buyers presented demands including an apology, compensation and other credits.

Slower demand

Tesla told Reuters on Saturday that it had no plan to compensate buyers who missed out on Friday’s price reductions, which have reduced its EV prices to between 13 and 24 percent below their September levels.

China, the world’s biggest car market, accounted for about one-third of Tesla’s global sales in 2021. The company’s Shanghai factory is its single most productive and profitable.

Tesla’s website on Monday showed longer waiting times for the Model Y car, indicating the price reductions may be stimulating demand after a slowdown in 2022 that contributed to Tesla falling short of analysts’ sales predictions for the year.

The cuts may also be designed to force competitors such as BYD to cut their prices in turn.