DISGRUNTLED Tesla Inc owners swarmed showrooms in China over the weekend to complain about missing out on another round of price cuts as the company tries to boost sales in the world’s biggest electric-vehicle (EV) market.
Posts on Chinese social media showed Tesla owners at different stores and distribution centers voicing their frustration about the cuts, which followed discounts made in October. Bloomberg News wasn’t able to independently verify the footage. Tesla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
At a Tesla Experience Centre in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, owners ransacked facilities and put up a handwritten list of four demands signed with their names and fingerprints, including a request for warranty extensions of two to four years and rebates for using Tesla Superchargers. Another video showed drivers singing the national anthem in a Tesla store, while one from Changsha in Hunan Province featured people chanting “return our money!”
China is a key market for Tesla, and the company enjoyed several perks including tax breaks over the years as it expanded in the country, building its first overseas factory in Shanghai. But it has faced the wrath of Chinese consumers before, including at the Shanghai Auto Show in 2021 when an owner climbed on top of one of its cars to protest about an alleged braking issue.
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After shipping a record of more than 100,000 China-made EVs in November, Tesla’s deliveries dropped sharply in December to below 56,000 amid lacklustre demand and as local production was temporarily suspended for equipment upgrades.
Tesla’s latest price cuts knock about 10% off the base price of Model Ys in China and 14% off Model 3s. The moves, which make the locally-built models significantly cheaper than the base price of similar Teslas in places such as the US, reflect the intense competition in China’s EV market, from Chinese companies like BYD Co to others including Volkswagen AG.
Tesla shares fell more than 8% last week, following a 65% dive in 2022. – BLOOMBERG