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Tesla lowers price of China Model 3 to undercut BMW and Mercedes in strategic play

Tesla Made-in-China Model 3 (Credit: Tesla China)

Tesla reduced the price of its Rear-Wheel Drive Made-in-China (MIC) Model 3 to RMB 299,050 or $42,919 after government subsidies. The price of the mass-produced electric sedan was initially pegged at $50,000, but in a surprise update on Friday, the Elon Musk-led electric carmaker lowered its price beneath a major psychological barrier of RMB 300,000, just days before the significant January 7 date. The price of the Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Model 3 Long Range and Performance variant remains the same at 439,900 yuan ($63,086) and 509,900 yuan ($73,124), respectively.

The 16 percent price reduction on locally-produced Model 3 is made possible by new energy subsidies recently announced by the Chinese government. Tesla offers as much as RMB 24,750 savings for private purchases and RMB 17,325 for those operating new energy passenger cars. The Tesla China website now displays the adjusted prices of the locally-made Model 3s.

Tesla’s price reduction puts Model 3 in a category that’s strategically aimed at the entry-level luxury sedan category, with concentrations on Mercedes C Class and BMW 3 Series.

The latest development follows the announcement of the electric carmaker that the second round of Made-in-China Model 3 deliveries will happen on Jan. 7 at the Gigafactory Shanghai facility where the first 15 units of the mass-produced electric sedan were symbolically handed over to employees of Tesla.

The company also revealed during the Gigafactory 3 Delivery Ceremony that 30 percent of the parts used to build the Model 3 in China is locally-sourced, but with plans to completely localize its supply chain and open the possibility to more price adjustments in the future.

The cheaper entry-level Model 3 can help Tesla lure more customers away from local electric car makers and global brands in the largest EV market in the world. Tesla believes China could become the biggest market for its Model 3 and it might well be a key market that can help it achieve sustained profitability.

Recently, Tesla also announced that the Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai has achieved its Model 3 production goal and has been rolling out 280 cars per 10-hour shift or roughly 1,500 units a week. It plans to ramp up production and will likely hit 3,000 Model 3 a week when more production workers join the frontline.

The China arm of the Palo Alto, California-based company has been doing a hiring spree to add more people to help in different production line positions such as quality control, welding, painting, powertrain, and assembly, among others.

The first deliveries of the Made-in-China Model 3 happened exactly 357 days after the Gigafactory facility broke ground, an amazing feat for the first car plant in China wholly owned by a foreign carmaker.

Tesla lowers price of China Model 3 to undercut BMW and Mercedes in strategic play
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