Tesla rolls out new base Model S and X for US$10,000 less

Tesla Inc. added new lower-range iterations of the Model S sedan and Model X sport utility vehicle to its lineup that cost $10,000 less than their previous base prices.

The Standard Range Model S starts at $78,490 and offers an estimated 320 miles (515 kilometers) of range, while the Standard Range Model X is priced from $88,490 and goes 269 miles on a charge, Tesla’s website shows.

As both the oldest and most expensive vehicles in Tesla’s lineup, the Model S and X aren’t nearly as important to the company as the Model 3 sedan or Model Y SUV. But while the Model S and X account for a fraction of sales — roughly 3.4% of first-half deliveries — the prices they’ve commanded until recently helped buoy the company’s profit margins.

The starting price of the Model S has now dropped 25%, or $26,500, since the beginning of the year, while the Model X has come down 27%, or $32,500.

Tesla shares fell 1.5% as of 4:06 a.m. Tuesday in New York, before the start of regular trading. The stock has almost doubled this year.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said last month that Tesla would have to keep lowering prices if interest rates continued to rise, and has warned he’s willing to sacrifice profitability to keep growing sales. The company’s automotive gross margin fell to a four-year low in the second quarter.

The introduction of cheaper versions of the Model S and X is the second move Tesla has made in as many days to lower prices. On Monday, the company discounted the middle and high-end iterations of the Model Y in China by 14,000 yuan ($1,900), fueling concerns of a renewed price war in the world’s most hotly contested EV market. –BLOOMBERG