Tesla Hikes Prices In China Amidst Stiff Domestic EV Competition


Tesla raises prices in China as it sees sales decline in country, with domestic EV makers posting strong gains

Tesla has brought in the latest in a series of price hikes for its electric vehicles (EVs) in China, bringing to an end a price war it started earlier this year, even as its sales slide in the country.

Meanwhile the three top rival domestic EV makers posted strong monthly gains with Li Auto beating Tesla’s delivery figures.

Tesla’s Shanghai plant, which began delivering vehicles in January 2020, helped make the firm the top-selling premium EV maker in China, which accounts for about one-fifth of its worldwide sales by monetary value.

While the Shanghai plant is its biggest production base worldwide, the US remains Tesla’s biggest single market with about 47 percent of its sales, according to a filing.

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

Price fluctuations

Last month Tesla posted third-quarter figures that fell short of analysts’ estimates, with owner Elon Musk saying high interest rates were making it difficult for people to afford to buy EVs.

In a number of Western countries, such as the US, the UK and Germany, EV makers including Tesla have been selling vehicles at a discount in recent months in order to counteract slowing demand.

But in China Tesla has hiked prices three times in as many weeks, with the latest increase, announced on Thursday on Weibo, including a 0.6 percent rise for the Shanghai-made Model 3 basic edition and a .95 percent rise for the Model Y entry level version.

Tesla’s head of communications and government affairs in China, Grace Tao, said Tesla regularly adjusts the prices of its locally made vehicles based on production costs.

Tesla’s Shanghai factory delivered 28,626 units to mainland China customers in October, down 34.2 percent from the month before, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), following a 32,8 percent month-on-month decline in September.

Image credit: Li Auto
Image credit: Li Auto

China EV sales

China’s top three premium EV makers, Li Auto, Xpeng and Nio, all reported rising deliveries to mainland China, with Li Auto in the lead with 40,422 vehicles, up 21.1 percent from September.

Xpeng delivered 20,002 cars in October, up 30.7 percent month-on-month, and Nio delivered 16,074 units, up 2.8 percent.

The three companies earlier reported strong September sales.

Tesla delivered 378,800 vehicles in China from January to October, up 62.2 percent year-on-year, according to the CPCA, which said it expects China to see 50 percent year-on-year sales growth this year for a total of 8.5 million units to the mainland.

Xpeng's X9. Image credit: Xpeng
Xpeng’s X9. Image credit: Xpeng