Tesla’s sales in China slumped in April by 64%, with the electric car maker reportedly selling 10,160 electric cars in March and selling just 3,635 in April, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). Production-wise, Tesla reportedly manufactured over 11,000 Model over the past month.
The company’s April sales, while notably lower compared to March, may be partly due to potential car buyers holding off on their purchase until May, when the price of the Standard Range Plus Model 3 was lowered to qualify for government subsidies. Prior to the price adjustment, the locally-produced Model 3 started at a price above the government subsidy’s threshold.
Tesla reduced the price of the China-made Model 3 on May 1 to 291,800 yuan before options. The adjustment equates to about a 10% discount compared to the vehicle’s prior value. With subsidies applied, the locally-made Model 3’s price now stands at 271,550 yuan.
The Chinese Government announced that electric vehicle subsidies would be extended for two years in April. However, vehicles that were over the subsidy’s 300,000 yuan price limit did not qualify for the incentive. None of Tesla’s cars that are currently available in China were under the threshold until the California-based electric car company announced a discount to the Model 3 Standard Range+ during its Q1 2020 Earnings call in late April.
“We are making rapid progress on lowering the production cost in China, and we’re actually excited to announce on this call that we will be reducing the price of the Standard Range Model 3 basically tomorrow China time,” CEO Elon Musk said during the call.
Tesla ranked as the most popular electric vehicle brand in China in 2019, leading both BYD and BAIC, according to China Daily. The company began delivering its China-made Model 3 to citizens in the country in January of this year. China is home to Tesla’s first international production facility, known as Gigafactory Shanghai, which is expected to reach a run-rate of 200,000 vehicles annually, the company said in its Q1 2020 Update Letter.
That number should increase in the future as Tesla is currently in the process of expanding Giga Shanghai. Construction crews are in the process of building the production facility’s Phase 2, which will house production lines for the Tesla Model Y. This car, Elon Musk believes, will be the company’s most successful vehicle to date.
The CPCA also reported that the Chinese electric car market grew by 9.8% from March to April. The growth is a good indicator that Tesla will continue to experience some momentum in China, the world’s largest automotive sector. Ultimately, Tesla’s sales in May would likely be an indicator to see just how well the Model 3 is really received by China’s local market.