Tesla will raise prices by about 20 per cent for models sold in China, after Beijing slapped a 25 per cent punitive tariff on American-made automobiles amid an escalating trade row between the world’s largest two economies.
The price adjustment came just six weeks after the US electric carmaker reduced prices following China’s decision to cut car import duties.
A mainland buyer will pay an additional 139,320 yuan (US$21,045) for a Model S 75D which currently sells for 849,900 yuan.
A Model X P100D sells at 1.57 million yuan, up about 256,600 yuan from late May.
Beijing raised the import duties on US-made cars from 15 per cent to 40 per cent on Friday.
Tesla, the biggest-selling electric carmaker in the US, adjusted its China price list on Friday right after the tariff announcement by Beijing.
A sales manager at a Tesla dealer on Nanjing Road, Shanghai, told the Post that the price hike was a result of the China-US trade war and the updated prices are expected to remain unchanged until the end of the year.
Few people showed up at the showroom on Monday afternoon.
Tesla declined to comment on the price changes.
Overall, the retail price of a Tesla are now up 20 per cent for a mainland buyer, compared to those unveiled in late May.
China’s Ministry of Finance announced in May that it would cut import tariffs on vehicles to 15 per cent from 25 per cent effective from July 1.
Tesla is widely viewed as the premium electric vehicle brand on the mainland, even as a clutch of Chinese companies are billing themselves as Tesla challengers.
Mainland electric carmaker Nio has priced its first mass production model starting from 448,000 yuan. Factoring in a governmental subsidy for locally produced electric vehicles, the final price could be less than half the price of a Tesla Model S sedan in Shanghai.
Tesla’s Model 3 has yet to be introduced on the mainland.
“The Chinese competitors are still playing a catch-up game” said Qian Kang, a Zhejiang entrepreneur dealing in car parts. “But a 20 per cent price increase can certainly deter some Chinese Tesla lovers from buying.”
A sales manager surnamed Xu at Nio said he has seen rising interest in the Chinese-made electric car.
Tesla sold 17,000 vehicles in mainland China last year, up 51.6 per cent from 2016, according to the China Automobile Dealers Association.
In May, Tesla set up a 100 million yuan subsidiary in Shanghai which will focus on research and development.
The Shanghai unit was seen as an initial step toward establishing a mainland plant.
Chief executive Elon Musk said the location of a Gigafactory on the mainland could be announced as early as the third quarter of this year.