Tesla set to begin deliveries of China-made Model Y

BEIJING — Tesla Inc. will start deliveries of the China-made Model Y this month to customers in the country, and it set the vehicle at a price below some rivals to maintain a competitive edge.

The Model Y starts from 339,900 yuan ($52,074), while the Model Y Performance variant will be priced from 369,900 yuan, Tesla China said in a statement Friday. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the Model Y has the potential to outsell all other vehicles it makes.

Tesla also launched a modified Model 3 sedan which remained at a post-subsidy price of 249,900 yuan for the basic version. The Model 3 qualifies for China’s national subsidy for electric vehicles, while the Model Y doesn’t.

China is Tesla’s largest market after the U.S., with sales in Asia’s biggest economy topping 120,000 in 2020, according to the latest local registration data. Tesla is still ramping up production in Shanghai, prompting analysts to forecast that China will account for a bigger slice of its sales and earnings going forward.

The Model Y, a crossover that has a driving range of up to 594 kilometers (369 miles), is expected to help the electric carmaker expand its product lineup and target a bigger customer base.

Tesla regularly topped monthly premium EV sales tallies in 2020, helped by the sedans coming out from its multi billion dollar plant that was launched with much fanfare in Shanghai the year before. Still, last year was also marked by rivals catching up, and 2021 is expected to hand the company stiffer competition.

A trio of local champions Nio Inc., Xpeng Inc. and Li Auto Inc. has emerged. They are enjoying backing from government entities or internet giants, and the three startups are quickly winning fans, with sales of their electric SUVs, sedans and crossovers rising in 2020 and their shares surging. Nio’s electric SUV for example, sells at 368,000 yuan or more.

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