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Chinese Tesla owners protest another round of price cuts

Models 3 and Y are up to 24% cheaper than last year, and buyers said to want compensation

Tesla owners in China took to the streets in protest this weekend over another round of price cuts they claim means they overpaid for their model Y and 3 vehicles. 

Early reports indicate the change is part of an effort to increase demand at Tesla's Shanghai factory, its largest production hub, in the face of low Chinese delivery numbers in December, despite a previous round of price cuts in October 2022.

With sales low despite discounts, it's beginning to look like Tesla demand in China is lower than anticipated. The move comes days after China ended a more than 10-year-old electric vehicle subsidy, which means companies like Tesla would need to cut prices to remain competitive.

According to Reuters, which reviewed the new pricing scheme, this second round of price cuts means Tesla vehicles in China are now priced between 13 and 24 percent less than they were prior to the first cut.

The move is the first major decision Tesla has made since placing its China lead, Tom Zhu, second in command of the company with additional duties that include overseeing sales operations in North America and Europe, and Tesla's US-based factories. 

What about us? ask aggrieved Tesla buyers

Chinese social media was abuzz with news of the second round of Tesla discounts, with several groups of people announcing their intent to protest at Tesla distribution centers and showrooms over the weekend, which it appears they did, albeit to little success.

Videos on the platforms appeared to show around 200 people who had bought Tesla Model Y and 3 vehicles apparently crowded into a Shanghai Tesla delivery center over the weekend, demanding apologies, compensation or other forms of credit. 

Crowds at other locations were caught on video calling for refunds and confronting police, but those in Shanghai were reportedly able to meet with Tesla staff and hand over a list of demands. 

Reuters quoted a Tesla China spokesperson it spoke to on Saturday as saying the company had no plans to compensate buyers who took delivery before the most recent price cut, but no mention was made of those who bought a Tesla in the last quarter of 2022, between the cuts. 

Begun, the EV price wars have

Despite an increase in deliveries and production, Tesla still made it to the 2022 finish line beaten and bruised, with stock prices having dropped and delivery goals missed. Some Tesla investors have been critical of CEO Elon Musk's lack of attention paid to the car company since acquiring Twitter, calling for Musk to step down, likely in favor of a Zhu-run Tesla given current circumstances.

That could mean more price cuts, which might not be a bad thing, unless you're a Tesla owner upset that prices do, in fact, change over time (though if you bought your Tesla in Bitcoin you've no room to complain).

A recent Deloitte study found that demand for electric vehicles was at an all-time high, but potential buyers aren't sure they want to pay current EV prices. The same study found that EV buyers were less interested in protecting the environment and more concerned with saving money with their EV purchase – another sign that prices like Tesla's, with its cheapest vehicle (the Model 3) starting at nearly $47,000, aren't sustainable once early adopters buy in.

Tesla also recently cut prices for the Model 3 and Y in Japan by 10 percent, but hasn't indicated it has plans to cut prices in Europe, where sales jumped 93 percent year-over-year in December and the Model Y recently became the best-selling new car on the continent. ®

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