During the recently-held first quarter earnings call, Elon Musk stated that Tesla China would be lowering the price of the Model 3 Standard Range Plus to qualify for government subsidies, which are designed to encourage consumers to purchase electric vehicles. True to Musk’s words, Tesla China did adjust the price of its locally-made electric car, making the Model 3 Standard Range Plus an even more compelling vehicle.
The government requires vehicles to be priced below 300,000 yuan to qualify for the incentive. Following the recent price adjustment, the China-made Model 3 now starts with a base price of 291,800 yuan ($41,318) before options. This translates to a 10% discount over the vehicle’s prior price, according to the electric car maker in a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo. With the subsidies in place, the locally-made Model 3’s price now comes down to 271,550 yuan ($38,451).
The Tesla Model 3 is arguably one of China’s most compelling locally-made electric vehicles. Built in the Shanghai-based Gigafactory 3, the Model 3 could be priced as aggressively as possible by Tesla. This certainly seems to be the case, as hinted at by the company’s quick response to the 300,000 yuan threshold in the recently-announced government incentives. Tesla appears to have more tricks up its sleeve in China as well, as hinted at by CFO Zachary Kirkhorn in the recently held Q1 2020 earnings call.
According to Kirkhorn, the manufacturing costs of the Model 3 in Gigafactory Shanghai is trending lower, which bodes well for the company’s operations in the country. Among the reasons behind Tesla’s decision to establish an electric car factory in China is reduced production and shipping costs. And if the CFO’s comments are any indication, it appears that the electric car maker’s plans are playing out as intended. And there’s more that can still be done to optimize Gigafactory Shanghai.
“On the manufacturing cost portion of the question, the cost of vehicles produced in Shanghai in Q1 is already lower than the cost to produce the Model 3 in Fremont, and there’s still significant opportunity left to take costs out. So fixed cost absorption from higher production volumes, which are occurring in Q2 and will occur through the rest of the year was not fully localized on the supply chain yet.
“And so while a lot of the supply chain is localized, it’s not complete, and there’s additional opportunities there. And so we’ll continue to bring the price down and expand margin — costs down and expand margin even with this reduction in price that Elon mentioned on the standard range version of the vehicle,” the executive said.
Tesla’s locally made Model 3 has actually seen some success in China. In March alone, Model 3 demand saw a 450% increase in the country, and that’s just a few weeks into China’s relative return to normalcy following the coronavirus outbreak. Images of long lines of Model 3 owners in local DMVs have also populated social media in recent weeks. With government incentives now boosting sales of the Model 3 Standard Range, the electric car maker may very well see even more demand for its mass-market sedan.