China: Tesla owners protest the surprise price cut they missed


Hundreds of Tesla owners gathered at the automaker’s showrooms and distribution centers in China over the weekend, demanding discounts and credits after a sudden price cut they said. which means they paid too much for the electric cars they bought before.

On Saturday, about 200 Tesla Model Y and Model 3 buyers recently gathered at a Tesla delivery center in Shanghai to protest the US automaker’s decision to cut prices for the second time in three months. on Friday.

Many said they believed the prices Tesla charged for their cars late last year would not be cut as abruptly or as deeply as the automaker just announced in a move aimed at boosting sales. goods and production support at the factory in Shanghai. The scheduled expiration of government subsidies at the end of 2022 also prompts many to complete their purchases.

Videos posted on social media show crowds at Tesla stores and delivery centers in other Chinese cities from Chengdu to Shenzhen, showing a consumer backlash widening.

After Friday’s surprise price drop, Tesla’s electric vehicle prices in China are now between 13% and 24% below September levels.

Analysts say Tesla’s move will likely boost its sales, which fell in December, and force other electric vehicle makers to cut prices at a time of faltering demand. in the world’s largest battery-powered car market.

While established automakers often cut prices to manage inventory and keep factories running when demand wanes, Tesla operates without a dealer and transparent pricing is part of it. brand image of the company.

“It may be a normal business practice but this is not how a responsible business should behave,” protested a Tesla owner at the company’s delivery center on the outskirts of Minhang. Shanghai on Saturday, the person surnamed Zhang said.

He and other Tesla owners, who said they received the goods in the final months of 2022, said they were disappointed with Friday’s sudden price drop and Tesla’s failure to explain to nearby buyers. this.

Zhang said police facilitated a meeting between Tesla employees and the assembled owners, at which the owners made a list of demands, including an apology and compensation. general or other credits. He added that Tesla employees agreed to respond on Tuesday.

About a dozen police officers could be seen at the Shanghai rally, and most videos of other protests also show a large police presence at Tesla locations.

Protests are not uncommon in China, where for years people have protested in large numbers over issues such as financial or property fraud, but authorities have been wary. higher after widespread protests in China’s top cities and universities late in the year. November against COVID-19 restrictions.


Other videos that appear to be of Tesla owners protesting were also posted to Chinese social media platforms on Saturday.

A video that Reuters has verified, filmed at a Tesla store in the southwestern city of Chengdu, shows a crowd chanting: “Give us money back, give us back our car.”

Another video, apparently shot in Beijing, shows police cars arriving to disperse crowds outside a Tesla store.

Reuters was unable to verify the content of either video.

Tesla has no plans to compensate buyers who received goods prior to the most recent sale, a spokesperson for Tesla China told Reuters on Saturday.

He did not respond when asked to comment on the protests.

China accounts for about a third of Tesla’s global sales in 2021, and the Shanghai factory, which employs about 20,000 workers, is the only one with the highest productivity and profitability.

Analysts have been positive about Tesla’s ability to lower prices to boost sales growth with a year to go since the announcement of its next new vehicle, the Cybertruck.

“Nowhere else in the world does Tesla face the kind of competition they have here [in China]”, said Bill Russo, head of consulting firm Automobility Ltd. in Shanghai.

“They’re in a much larger electric vehicle market with companies able to price more aggressively than they could, until now.”

In 2021, Tesla faced a public relations storm after an unhappy customer climbed into a car at the Shanghai auto show to protest the company’s handling of her complaints. about her car’s brakes.

Tesla responded by apologizing to Chinese consumers for not addressing complaints in a timely manner.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh, Zhang Yan and Casey Hall; Editing by Kevin Krolicki and Tomasz Janowski)

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